What you can do

There are many positive ways to relax that can improve your mental health and wellbeing.

Pause

Take time throughout the day to take a break or a pause. Stop what you are doing, look out of the window, let your shoulders drop, stretch and allow your mind to calm down. Taking several pauses throughout the day can prevent stress from building up. If you encounter a stressful situation such as an upsetting phone call, a busy train ride home, writing an essay, give yourself time afterwards to calm down.

Deep breaths

Often people are told to take deep breaths after a stressful situation. Sometimes concentrating on breathing helps to relax the body. Close your eyes and take deep breaths in and out. Think of your favourite place, for example, your favourite holiday destination. Think of what you might be doing there. You might remember sunbathing on a beach. You can smell sun tan lotion and hear the sea. Picturing this ‘nice place’ can take yourself away from the current stressful situation.

Take up a hobby

People with stressful lives often find that taking up a hobby can help them to ‘switch their brains off’ from work pressures. For example, if you are knitting, you are concentrating on what your fingers are doing rather than the essay that is due next week. Often when you go back to whatever was stressing you out, you can cope better after having taken a break from it.

Aerobic exercise

High-impact exercise increases your heart rate and releases endorphins which make you feel good. You could try going to the gym or taking up sport such as football, netball, cycling, skateboarding, surfing, riding a horse or swimming. Just think about the type of things you are interested in and build your exercise around that.

Walking

Walking also releases endorphins and helps you to switch off from pressures as you take in the scenery around you and get into a steady rhythm. It can be a more pleasant way to travel than on a stuffy tram or train. Getting fresh air also helps you to relax and sleep better.

Yoga

Yoga, tai chi and pilates are designed around relaxation and breathing techniques, which can aid relaxation.

A warm bath

It sounds simple but a nice warm bath helps the muscles relax and encourages a general feeling of relaxation. Aromatherapy candles or bubble bath can help you to relax. Some find listening to chilled music while having a soak helps.

Watch a film or read a book

Escapism is a great way to switch off from reality for a while and help the mind to relax.

Meet a mate

Leaving a stressful situation that you are in and talking things over with a mate (or even chatting about something completely different from what caused the stress) can take your mind off things and aid relaxation.

Switch off your devices

Sometimes our electronic devices dominate much of our time. Consider giving yourself a break from your screen each day. Take time out and have a walk outside, sit quietly for a moment, stretch, read a book, have a conversation with someone or try out some mindfulness.

Apps that help

  • To learn techniques to help you sleep better, focus more and get some relief from a busy mind, try Headspace on the Go (iOS and Android) or Smiling Mind (iOS).
  • Cold Turkey (desktop) will temporarily block you off social media sites, addicting websites, games and even programs.

Other tips

  • The RMIT University Student Union (RUSU) provides all RMIT students with fun events, representation and support. RUSU has over 90 clubs and societies that you can join and is available to assist students with a range of support such as welfare, education issues, or using one of their safe spaces.
  • Find out what Chaplaincy offers in meditation and yoga this semester.
  • Check out what sports and fitness activities are available at RMIT.