Tash's Top Tips for dealing with stress

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It’s mental health awareness week and the theme is 'stress'. I think anyone who works up in the union can all agree that when it comes to stress, I’m the queen. I can go from being as cool as a cucumber to a raging bull in seconds, all thanks to something so minor causing me stress.

With most assignments handed in and exams completed, you’ll all be waiting eagerly for your results and this can cause more pressure on you than what it’s worth.

Here's 5 tips, from me to you, that always help me with my mental health and stress levels.


1. Cleaning/Feng Shui

Since March, I’ve been using my favourite type of wardrobe...my 'floordrobe'. One side for clean clothes, one side for dirty, with a walk way to my bed. Let’s just say my room was very secretive and you were lucky if you got invited to stand at the door, let alone come in I was that embarrassed.

With the end of my current contract fast approaching, I realised it’s time to sort myself out and start packing. This then led to a mass clean.

Getting all my clothes and belongings together, deciding what I was keeping, what I was giving to the Great Donate, and what I should quite frankly chuck straight in the bin helped my stress massively.

I have never felt better. Getting rid of the old, moving a few things around to create a new feeling and the clean, fresh feel lifted so much weight off my shoulders.

Knowing that I have a place to relax and not a place to hate when I come home makes me want to get all of my work done on time, just to be back in my happy place.

My suggestion is, if your room isn’t somewhere you want to be, or somewhere you don’t feel like you can relax, find what needs to change and change it. It will lift your mood knowing you’re happier with something in your life.


2. Get outside - The bright circle in the sky has returned!!

Yes, the sun is back in Stoke and even though I’m stuck in an office for the majority of the day, I couldn’t be happier to get my daily dose of vitamin D.

Whenever the sun is out, I spend more time outside than I do inside, I even try and find ways to take my work outside.

That extra bit of vitamin D that you’ve been missing the other 11 months of the year really helps lift your mood. Also, it’s a great way to get social.

You might not want to head down to the grass and have a chuck about with your friends like I do, however, if your thing is reading, going for a walk or even playing cards, get out of your house and enjoy the weather while you can.

There’s plenty of places close to the Stoke campus that I like to head down to. You have Hanley Park, the grass fields on the leek road campus and the nature reserve/walk.

Also if you’re willing to travel, the Keele campus is one of the biggest in the UK, with fields of space, but also 8 lakes to visit brining in many different aspects of wildlife and you also have Trentham Gardens, which you have to pay for but once again a lovely day out to visit somewhere new.


3. Music

No matter what genre of music, no matter whether you like it or not, music is a universal language. It can make you laugh, it can make you cry, it’s an absolute mood changer.

When I need to relax, I put on my favourite songs for the mood I’m in and lie in bed. If I’m stressed, especially feel good and acoustic/calming songs.

The different vibrations through the music, the beats, rhythms and melodies can play a massive part of how you’ll react to different sounds, find what helps you and stick to it.


4. Getting active

Playing sport is my go to get away from life. Whether it’s a session at the gym, netball training or doing some home yoga in my room (when it’s not a mess). I love it.

When you play sport or are active, positive endorphins are released through your body which instantly improves your mood.

Getting active doesn’t just relate to sport, it’s small things like going for a walk, playing just dance or wii sports (I’ve definitely worked up a sweat on these, even Mario Kart, but we won’t get into my Wii playing skills) and even going to gobble and having a dance.

All of these things are a great release and a great way to take your mind off your worries for a few hours.

My suggestion is, if you’re not massively into sports and the gym scares you (sometimes it’s not the most welcoming place), take a walk around the block, clear your head then you’ll be able to get back to what you need to do with a new perspective.


5. Get you cook on

Finally, and possibly my favourite secret hobby, cooking and baking.

I love to cook food from scratch and bake until I can’t bake anymore.

My dad makes amazing savoury food and my mum is the queen of cakes. I grew up learning what I could from the best and then as I became older, twisting recipes to suit my style and learning more from other sources.

It all leads back to one thing though, family. The one thing I love the most about going home is being able to sit down with my family and eat or spend time with my family cooking or baking.

Cooking is very therapeutic and you can actually let out a lot of anger (try punching a chicken breast, you’ll thank me later), but also doing things that you would do with friends or family can bring back some really happy memories

Also home cooked meals from scratch means you’re getting a good hearty nutritious meal that once again can really help your mood. All the saturated fats and bad things in junk food can make you feel good for about an hour, but when the sugar wears off, you’re back to square one.

My suggestion, work out what your favourite fast food or restaurant dish is, and spend an evening trying to make it from scratch (or as close as possible to from scratch).

Mine is a juicy burger and fries or mac and cheese.

To make my burger healthier, I use lean steak mince with as little percentage of fat as possible, add cheese in the middle of the patty so it’s got a gooey centre, leave out the bun, add a colourful salad on the side and have sweet potato wedges rather than frozen fries.

If anyone wants some recipes, I’m more than happy to hand some over, or maybe even create an SU officer cook book!!



Helen Wain
2:34pm on 30 May 18 Thanks for these top tips Tash. ???
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