Ways to Destress as a Student

Going off to university is an exciting time, but as with any other major life change, it certainly comes with its share of stressors. Most significantly, you’ll be living independently, which brings much more freedom and choice than you’re used to. You’re particularly likely to feel stressed when your energy levels drop and you face more demands than you can handle. Whenever you feel like you’re in this situation, here are a few things you can do to destress.

1. Sleep Enough Each Night

There are often times when you may feel tempted to stay up late, whether to squeeze in a few more hours of studying, hang out with friends, or even relax with social media or video games. However, if you need to wake up early for class or another commitment, this is never a good idea. Sleep deprivation will make you more stressed and put you at risk for serious health conditions.

Instead, try to stick to a bedtime — don’t sleep until the early afternoon to make up for a late night. It’s helpful for your body to have a schedule, and it’s best if this is aligned with the hours of daylight.

2. Exercise Regularly

Staying physically active is a great way to relax — plus, it will help you fall asleep faster. College is a great time to experiment with new activities you may enjoy, such as by joining sports teams, going to the gym, or taking advantage of free fitness classes. When you find a form of exercise you enjoy, you’ll look forward to working out.

3. Eat a Healthy Diet

You’ll also feel better physically and mentally if you’re eating well. Healthy foods will keep your energy levels steady throughout the day and prevent a sugar high that will only make you feel worse later. Besides, university is a great time to explore new flavours and to learn cooking skills that will benefit you for life.

4. Limit Your Caffeine Intake

One thing that should be in your diet only in moderation is caffeine. A coffee in the morning and perhaps another after lunch is reasonable. However, relying on caffeine to keep you alert into the night to meet the due date for a paper will make you much more susceptible to stress. For the same reason, you should avoid prescription medication to boost your energy.

5. Create a Reasonable Schedule

It’s easy to take on too much when you start university. You may want to work, join many clubs, and sign up for the maximum number of classes. While it’s fine to experiment with your limits, you also need to know when to drop something to prevent burnout. For instance, you may need to drop a class, volunteer less often with your extracurriculars, or search for a job with a more manageable schedule.

6. Make Time for Leisure

What you shouldn’t do is give up all your fun activities to make time for studies and work. It’s important to spend a few hours a week on your hobbies, whether on your own or as part of a group. A great thing about university is that you should find plenty of opportunities to explore new passions.

7. Learn Breathing Exercises

Whenever you’re feeling overwhelmed by stress, stop and breathe. There are various types of breathing exercises you can try, the most simple of which involves breathing slowly and deeply for at least a few seconds.

You’ll feel much less stressed if you’re living in a place you love to call home. Since living on campus means losing privacy and sharing your living spaces with a large number of other people, many students prefer to search for rooms for rent. St. Catharines students can find high-quality student housing at Foundry Lofts. You’ll have your own room in a suite that you’ll share with just three or four other people. Plus, you’ll have access to a range of great onsite amenities, including fitness facilities, a games room, and a study zone. Receive an in-person or virtual tour to see it for yourself.


How to Save Money on Holiday Gifts as a Student

However much you love the holidays, there’s one thing you definitely don’t look forward to: exceeding your budget on gifts. Avoid stress this year by following some basic money-saving tips.

1. Decide How Much You Can Afford

Look at your monthly budget and decide how much of it you can afford to allocate to gifts. It’s important to do this before you start buying anything — otherwise, you may end up spending almost your entire budget on a couple people and have nothing left for everyone else. Also determine who you want to give gifts to. If you want to purchase more expensive presents for some people than others, come up with a rough amount of how much you’ll spend on each individual.

2. Spread Out Your Holiday Shopping

Start buying gifts as early as possible. This will enable you to use a portion of a couple months’ budget rather than needing to find the whole amount you need at once. If you won’t be seeing some family members or friends until the beginning of next year, you can even wait to buy gifts until after the holidays.

3. Organize a Gift Exchange with Friends

An easy way to save money on buying gifts for friends is to arrange some kind of gift exchange. You could do a Secret Santa, where each person in the group is anonymously assigned someone else to buy a gift for, or a White Elephant, where you all bring one gift and everyone chooses one to take at random.

Either way, you’ll have the freedom to spend a decent amount on one gift instead of needing to buy a large number of small gifts. If most of your friends are college students as well, the likelihood is they are also strapped for cash and will appreciate this idea.

4. Make Your Gifts

You’ll spend even less if you make your gifts. Plus, an added benefit is that your presents will have more meaning to the recipients. If you know how to knit or crochet, you can make great gifts like scarves, hats, or socks. Alternatively, you could collect some photos from over the years to create a memory book or make cosmetics — bath bombs can be particularly impressive, but they’re cheap and easy to make.

5. Save Money on Holiday Activities

Gift giving is just one expense you face over the holidays; another major one is holiday activities with friends and family. However, there are plenty of things you can do that cost little or nothing. For instance, you could have a movie night at home, go for a drive around your neighbourhood to see the light displays, or have a potluck dinner with friends instead of going to a restaurant.

You’ll save money year round if you move into an off-campus apartment. The Niagara College student housing at Foundry Lofts is comfortable and convenient with a range of great amenities — from free yoga classes and a 45-seat movie theatre to a WiFi-equipped study lounge. Apply now to join the waitlist for next year.


5 Ways to Reconnect with Hometown Friends Over Winter Break

One of the best times of year to catch up with hometown friends is winter break. You’re all back home for an extended period, likely with plenty of free time in your schedules and no need to think about schoolwork again until next year. Plus, unlike spring break, the end of the school year is still a long way off and unlike summer, most of your friends won’t be going on vacation or be preoccupied looking for an internship.

To properly reconnect, there are a few different activities you should consider organizing. If you have plenty of time, you may even like to do them all. At the very least, they’ll keep you from feeling bored and strengthen the bonds you have with old friends.

1. Quick Coffee with the Group

Meet up with your entire group of friends over a morning coffee. This will allow those who have other commitments to leave early — and the rest of you can stick around for longer. Your friends should be able to fit a quick coffee into their schedule, even if some of them are busy with a job, gift shopping, or preparing for next semester.

2. Brunch and a Movie

Spend the whole day together — without pushing anyone to get up early — by arranging to meet for brunch. This will give you plenty of time to chat about university, jobs, roommate drama, and everything else. Complete the day by heading to a movie theatre to see a latest release that you’ve been unable to see yet due to being busy with finals.

3. Hit the Bars

If your friends have more time in the evenings, heading to a local bar or even organizing a proper night out could be ideal. Your friends need to let off steam just as much as you do — this could be the perfect choice to help you relax.

4. Go for Dinner

Organize a special end-of-year dinner at a fancy restaurant with all your closest friends from your hometown. Choose a restaurant that you’ve always loved or try out one you’ve never been to before. Either way, it’s a great opportunity to dress up and feel more like part of each other’s new, adult lives.

5. Have a Slumber Party

If you want to do the opposite and feel like kids again, hold a slumber party. It’s sure to make you think of the old times and how much fun you used to have at high school. Incorporate some of your favourite activities, whether that means having a movie night, baking and decorating cookies, or playing video games. What you choose to do doesn’t matter nearly so much as the fact that you’ll all be together again.

You’ll likely stay in touch with friends over the school year through social media and texting, but nothing compares to meeting in person. Instead of waiting for another break, why not invite friends over for the weekend while you’re at college? You’ll find apartments near Brock University with plenty of space to host guests at Foundry Lofts. Apply now to join our waitlist to hear when new spots open up.