What you can do

Pause

Take time throughout the day to take a break or a pause. Stop what you are doing, look out of the window, take a deep breath, 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, give yourself time afterwards to calm down.

Visualisation

Sometimes focusing on a relaxing scene 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 screen and hear the sea. Picturing this ‘nice place’ can take yourself away from the current stressful situation.

Take up a hobby

Taking up a hobby can help ‘switch your brain 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 return to the essay, you can cope better after having taken a break from it.

Vigorous 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 a sport such as football, netball, cycling, skateboarding, surfing, riding or swimming.

Walking

Walking also releases endorphins and helps you to switch off from pressures as you take in the scenery and get some fresh air. It can be a more pleasant way to travel than on a crowded tram or train. The fresh air and light exercise also help you to relax and sleep better.

Yoga

Yoga, tai chi and pilates help focus your breathing and attention on your body. This can aid relaxation and is a great way to break up study.

A warm bath

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

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

Talking things over with a friend, or talking about something totally irrelevant, can aid relaxation.

Switch off your devices

Electronic devices can 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.

Try these options to take a break

Apps that help

  • To learn techniques to help you sleep better, focus more and get some relief from a busy mind, try Headspace or Smiling Mind.

  • Cold Turkey will temporarily block you off addictive social media sites, games and programs.