Lately, we’ve been focusing on “calm places”. By calm place, we mean the thing you turn to when you feel stress, anxiety or even sadness. It’s important to recognise the benefits of having a calm place. After all, each of us feels overwhelmed from time to time. It can be a big help if you have a go-to for dealing with difficult feelings when they do crop up.
What is a “calm place”?
Your calm place may be somewhere you go or something you do. Perhaps it’s something you use, read, watch or listen to. Everyone’s calm places will probably be slightly different. You could have been seeking comfort from it for years, or perhaps you discovered it recently. Maybe you share it with others; maybe it’s important to you to be alone to rest and restore. Whatever it is, it makes you feel calm. So in other words, it’s your calm place!
To encourage conversation around coping with stress and anxiety, we recently spoke to some of the Enlitened team about their calm places. We also asked students on The Student Room where they go or what they do when they want a quiet moment.
Poll: When things are hectic, how do you find calm?
University can be a particularly pressured period of life. There’s study, deadlines and assessments to balance, as well as many living away from home for the first time. Students have a lot on their plates. They are also often juggling social lives, hobbies and jobs… and that’s just the day-to-day! Of course, some will face additional challenges while studying too. These could include changing circumstances, life events and family issues. With all of this in mind, we ran a poll to understand how students on The Student Room handle stress and anxiety.
Interestingly, of the 48 students asked, none said they use a mindfulness or wellbeing app when they’re in need of respite. It seems these types of apps are used as a preventative measure, rather than a reactive one. They are perhaps used to try and build resilience, minimise the occurrence of difficult emotions and lessen the impact they have. From this poll, it’s clear that students don’t turn to apps for help when negative feelings do occur.
Going online was top of the list for how students find calm when things are hectic. 31% of students reported that turning to the internet is their go-to for coping with stress and anxiety. Although it’s unknown from the poll whether this is to look for relevant information and helpful resources, use social media or interact with others.
The next most common answer from students was to exercise, with just under 19% reporting that exercise helps them find calm. When describing their calm place, one student said: “Intense exercise works for me. It’s hard to think about anxiety when doing the 100m.” Another individual agreed, claiming: “I find it super helpful for releasing stress.” Exercising is also popular method of unwinding amongst the Enlitened team.
A less popular way of finding calm for students is speaking to friends and family, with only 4 people (8%) claiming this is something they do. Another less common activity is going outdoors. On the other hand, watching a movie and reading both received more support.
Student’s calm places
As well as running the poll, we asked students to describe their calm places. Here are their answers.
“At home, I generally go outside to any green places without people and put headphones on. I live near a big deer park with lots gardens in it, so it's always pleasant going there.”
“I go for a spiffing walk. I dance like nobody's watching. I go to the cinema. I bake.”
“When things are hectic there's not much to it for me except going through it, unless the exasperation is for reasons that have nothing to do with the future i.e. existential, someone dies etc. For the latter case - strap on some running shoes, bolt my way down to a nearby pond, and when it's nipple erection weather like now I just dive in and chill. Zone-in. Otherwise, music, lil meditation. Watching a movie's nice, but it's more like pushing your problems to the future for me, because they'll come back worse. Can't read when I'm stressed.”
“I don’t really get stressed but when I get bored/sad I just start doing uni work to distract myself 😂”
“At uni, my calming place was the beach (when it's not raining), or just my living room where my housemates would be and we would be talking about very unusual things.”
“I live about 5 minutes away from a huge park/garden that has a massive lake. If I'm ever feeling sad or anxious, I usually go sit at the bottom of the hill by the lake and watch the fish.”
“I like to chill in the bathroom. It's a strange one.”
“If I'm ever having a bad day, I usually plan a trip to the peak district. It's so beautiful and peaceful there.”
“I make a cup of tea and carry on, life doesn't stop.”
“I find tackling something head on with a soothing medicament aka TEA is much better than dwelling on things.”
Your calm place: To help with daily stress and anxiety
Do you have a calm place that comes to mind? It doesn’t have to be somewhere you go or something you do only when things are getting on top of you. It could be a part of your daily routine that makes you feel a sense of calm or that you’re grateful for. Why not take some time to have a think about what your calm place is? Our advice is to keep it in your toolkit for when you need to take some time for yourself.Have a read of the Enlitened team's calm places here.