With now less than one month until GFW18, here at GFW HQ we know that deadline season is fast approaching, and that nerves are running high. In association with #MentalHealthAwarenessWeek, and following from our piece ‘Is there too much pressure on fashion design students?’ we want to share with students our top 5 ways to practice self care during such a demanding time.
Anxiety and stress are two common issues with students who feel the pressures at university, particularly during deadline season. Anxiety is a mental health illness, we understand that it is not easy to relieve but there are activities that can minimise stress and aid anxiety symptoms. These suggestions should not be used in lieu of seeking professional treatment for stress, anxiety and depression, and we recommend always speaking with your lecturers and care support teams at your university if you’re struggling.
Meditation and Time Out
Meditation has been proven to produce a calming solution to stress and anxiety. Meditation lowers the oxygen consumption rate resulting in increased blood flow, but slows down the heart, reducing blood lactate that lowers the levels of anxiety.
If meditation isn’t your thing, just taking some time out to relax and focus on yourself is really important. Relaxing the brain and allowing yourself a healthy amount of time to sleep. There is a free app called ‘headspace’ downloadable on all smartphone devices that can really help with relaxation and meditation, it only takes 5-7 minutes of your day and works perfectly to reduce heart rate and create a calm atmosphere.
A healthy and balanced diet
Although it may seem nearly impossible to keep off the high sugar drinks and the caffeine, it is so important to maintain a healthy diet throughout deadline season. A healthy diet not only effects your body physically but mentally too. Too much caffeine and sugar can prevent you from sleeping, and sleep deprivation can cause lots of other health related problems. Making sure your body is receiving all the nutrients it needs is essential, so instead of stocking up on redbull’s, make sure your fridge is full of vegetables, fruit and protein that will keep your body ticking over.
It may seem obvious, but sitting down staring at a computer screen for 12 hours a day is not healthy, not good for your eyes, brain or the rest of your body. Stress can be caused by a slow blood flow, so making sure exercise is completed everyday is essential. Allow yourself 30 minutes a day to stretch your legs and have an active break from uni work. Going for a long walk, to the gym or even going for a run will not only take your mind off of your deadlines temporarily but also activate blood flow, allowing your brain to rejuvenate.
Listen to podcasts/ watch documentaries
It is important to keep your brain active even when you want a break from your work, therefore a solution to this could be to listen to a podcast related to something that interests you or watch a documentary. Podcasts and documentaries and educational yet allow you to think about something other than your deadline, which distracts you yet could inspire you.
Your friends and family are the ones that are always there for the most, and they do not just disappear during exam and deadline season. Calling your friends or family, or meeting them for lunch not only distracts you from work but has also been proven to de-stress us. Opening up to the people who care about us the most is so important to relieve stress, do not keep all of your negative feelings built up, make sure someone knows how you feel, allow them people to make you feel better.
Most of us here at GFW HQ are graduates ourselves and understand what it is like during deadline season. We hope that these 5 solutions may aid you to practice self care during the next few weeks, and we cannot wait to see all of your hard work showcased at GFW18!