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A strong social network is essential!

 

 

 

 

 

Network support

 

 

Strong social networks make life easier and happier!

Often when you’re feeling overwhelmed by work, study, family commitments and life in general, you cut yourself off and hunker down, thinking that any social interactions take time away from what you should be getting on with. The truth is socialising is an invaluable tool for stress relief and is vital to your wellbeing.

 

Studies show people with strong social networks are generally happier with greater job performance and leadership skills.

When your schedule seems so tight, it feels impossible to spare half an hour to meet a friend for coffee, it’s probably even more important to take the time to reach out. 

Tips for creating a strong support network

  • Commit to at least one social engagement per week. It could be simply coffee with a friend or spending time with a special interest club.
  • Make use of technology. Face-to-face interactions are best but staying connected with your support network through emails, texts and social media, is a useful way of staying present in a relationship, especially if you are far away.
  • Follow your interests. Sign up for a class, join a club or volunteer your time. Even if you don’t make new friends instantly, connecting with like-minded people will inspire you.
  • Make use of our online study groups to connect and network with other students completing the same course as you.
  • Not everyone has one special friend they can confide in. Look at different relationships for different kinds of support. Perhaps you have a work colleague you can talk to about work problems or another school mum to chat to about your kids.
  • Don’t wait for others to reach out , it’s ok to ask for help, no matter how awkward it feels.
  • Be there for your family and friends even if just to say hello. If you are there for others, they’ll be more likely to be there for you.
  • If you’re suddenly faced with a particularly stressful situation, for example a chronically ill family member, seek out support groups. You’ll find relief in talking to and sharing with people going through similar circumstances as you.
  • If you lack a strong support network, there are many organisations you can turn to. Community centres, Citizen Advice Bureau, and refugee and immigrant groups may be able to help you identify and connect with specific support groups. The Australian Government website has some useful information for immigrants or simply google specific support groups.

Tips for creating a strong support network

  • Commit to at least one social engagement per week. It could be simply coffee with a friend or spending time with a special interest club.
  • Make use of technology. Face-to-face interactions are best but staying connected with your support network through emails, texts and social media, is a useful way of staying present in a relationship, especially if you are far away.
  • Follow your interests. Sign up for a class, join a club or volunteer your time. Even if you don’t make new friends instantly, connecting with like-minded people will inspire you.
  • Make use of our online study groups to connect and network with other students completing the same course as you.
  • Not everyone has one special friend they can confide in. Look at different relationships for different kinds of support. Perhaps you have a work colleague you can talk to about work problems or another school mum to chat to about your kids.
  • Don’t wait for others to reach out , it’s ok to ask for help, no matter how awkward it feels.
  • Be there for your family and friends even if just to say hello. If you are there for others, they’ll be more likely to be there for you.
  • If you’re suddenly faced with a particularly stressful situation, for example a chronically ill family member, seek out support groups. You’ll find relief in talking to and sharing with people going through similar circumstances as you.
  • If you lack a strong support network, there are many organisations you can turn to. Community centres, Citizen Advice Bureau, and refugee and immigrant groups may be able to help you identify and connect with specific support groups. The Australian Government website has some useful information for immigrants or simply google specific support groups.
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Reduce stress with meditation

 

 

 

 

Meditation is food for the soul

 

 

Manage stress and improve your concentration by practicing mindfulness.

Feeling overwhelmed, anxious or tired? Meditation can bring an instant calming perspective to your life in as little as two minutes. The benefits are numerous; it can reduce stress and anxiety, improve sleep, sharpen concentration and improve circulation.

The most basic meditation practice is mindfulness and it’s easy to learn. However, one size does not fit all and the key is finding the right fit for you. There are guided meditations online, useful meditation apps, and even brain-sensing headbands to help you stay focussed.

Get started with these simple mindfulness techniques

The 100 breaths technique: The easiest way to begin is by focusing on breathing, the cornerstone of all meditation. Take a long deep breath and feel your breath move from your lungs and out of your nostrils or mouth. Count your breaths. Try not to think about anything else but if your mind does start wandering, simply bring it back to your breaths. Brains are thought factories and it takes some practice to focus your attention.

Do a body scan: Take notice of how each body part feels, starting with your toes and working up to your head. Tense and relax each muscle as you go. If your mind races off, come back to your toes and start again.

Be an observer of yourself: When you’re feeling particularly volatile, imagine you’re watching yourself on a movie screen. Stepping out of the situation for a moment before reacting to it will give you an instant, calming perspective.

Chores with purpose: Focus on your senses when doing mundane tasks like washing the dishes. Feel the warmth of the water, listen to the sounds of the soapy bubbles popping, take in the fragrance of your detergent.

Mindful walking: This is a great tool if you are always on the go or if you are new to meditation and find yourself especially restless when you try to sit still. Simply walk at a slow or medium pace, focusing on your feet – pay attention to when your toe touches the ground, when your foot is flat on the ground, when your toe points back upward. Observe sensory details. If you mind wanders – and it will – bring it back to your feet.

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Manage stress the healthy way

Man walking on pathway

 



Manage stress the
healthy way

The fundamentals of stress management involve keeping a positive attitude, changing the situation when you can and changing your reaction when you can’t.

While you can’t stop your bills from coming or make more hours in the day, you can learn to manage stress by taking charge of your lifestyle, thoughts and emotions.

When you’re feeling anxious or stressed, use these tips to help you cope in a healthier way:

Learn relaxation techniques Try yoga, meditation, breathing exercises or tai chi.

Eat healthy Have regular meals with lots of fruits, vegetables, wholegrains and lean protein. Avoid too much sugar, alcohol and caffeine, which can aggravate anxiety.

Get enough sleep It’s easier to cope if you’re well rested.

Exercise regularly You’ll relieve stress and feel better.

Take time out Make time for your interests and hobbies and remember, laughter is the best medicine!

Manage your time wisely Make sure to delegate where you can, prioritise your tasks and avoid procrastination.

Accept help Talk things through with your friends and family and let them know how they could help.

Do your best Perfection isn’t possible, so be proud of giving it your best.

Know when to get help 

It is important to accept that you can’t control everything, and please, make sure to see your doctor if your stress is severe, or starts to affect your daily life.

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Sleep boosts your brain power!

Get a good nights sleep

 



Sleep boosts your brain power!


There’s nothing that’ll fog your brain, wipe out your motivation or crush your tolerance levels more than poor sleep! 

Most adults need 7-9 hours a night, but regardless of how much sleep you need, quality is far more important than quantity.

  • Have a relaxing bedtime routine and stick to it, even on weekends, to help regulate your body clock.
  • Avoid daytime power naps as they are hugely disruptive to quality night-time sleep.
  • The benefits of exercise cannot be overestimated. Even if you can’t fit vigorous exercise into your day, regular light exercise is better than no activity.
  • Darkness is a powerful cue to tell your body to rest, so eliminate as much artificial light as possible. Consider low-wattage incandescent bedside lamps. If you go to the bathroom in the night, use a nightlight instead of turning on strong, overhead lights.
  • Eat lightly before bed and avoid alcohol or stimulants like caffeine. Soothing drinks like camomile tea are useful for sending yourself off into a deep, restorative sleep.
  • Sometimes the people we live with can disrupt our sleep. Play white noise to reduce the difference between background sounds and a ‘peak’ sound like a door slamming or even the sound of the TV in a nearby room.
  • Certain smells encourage better sleep. Lavender, for example, has been shown to decrease heart rate and blood pressure, potentially putting you in a more relaxed state. A few lavender drops in a warm bath is an effective bedtime relaxer.

Blue light warning

Blue light given off by computer and phone screens (and interestingly energy-efficient bulbs) slows the release of the sleep-inducing hormone melatonin. Ideally avoid screen time an hour before bed. While this may not always be practical if you use your evenings for online study, ensuring you separate your study time and sleep with a short relaxing bedtime routine will help signal to your brain that it’s time to settle in for the night.