Beat that stress
Continue studying, look for a job or travel around the world? Find a place of your own or stay at ‘Hotel Mama’ a bit longer? Save money for a rainy day or spend or invest it? Settle down for life or party on as a carefree single?
These are just some of the choices that those born between 1980 and 2000 (the so-called ‘millennials’) face or will be facing in the near future. On top of that may come financial issues: paying back a student loan, covering your monthly bills or getting by on a low wage. It’s enough to get anyone stressed! Factor in the difficult economic times and the youth unemployment that goes with it, and you can see why researchers at the end of 2012 were already finding that millennials are subject to higher average levels of stress than other generations.
Despite all the doom and gloom, letting it get to you is not the way forward. You can’t control the situation in the labour market, the amount you need to borrow for your studies or housing prices. The best thing to do is not make too many decisions at the same time – take it easy! The following tips might help you beat the stress:
- Try and get to the bottom of your stress and see if there’s anything you can change. Those exams will have to be done in any case, but maybe it would help to produce a study schedule to avoid leaving things to the last minute? You might not want to quit your job, so perhaps you can learn to say ‘no’ more often, or tell that colleague that his/her behaviour is causing you stress?
- Exercise: regular physical activity keeps you in shape, is good for your heart and helps you sleep better — especially if combined with a healthy diet. And, most importantly, it makes you feel good. So get on that bike, put on those running shoes or go crazy on the dance floor!
- Relax: this one seems obvious, but it’s no less important. Yoga, deep breathing, a walk in the park or reading a book – they all contribute to lowering blood pressure and muscle tension. This helps to counteract the negative effects of stress. Self-medication through drugs, alcohol or smoking may seem attractive, but in the long run they’re not going to do much good.
- Talk to family & friends: if something specific is causing you stress, talking about it with someone you trust can be a great relief — and maybe they’ll have some useful advice for you. Also, they can help you see things from another perspective and to focus on the positives.
- Smile: watch your favourite comedy series, read a funny book or pick up the phone and call a friend who makes you laugh. Whatever puts a smile on your face, it generates hormones that increase your sense of well-being and reduce stress.