Studying or working in Australia can be a fun-packed and fulfilling experience, but also a stressful one at times as the pressures of everyday life build up while you adjust to a new country. Here are our top 9 tips for combatting stress to help you through the hard times.

Any type of exercise is fantastic for counteracting stress and many people swear by hitting the pavement for a good run when life is getting on top of them. But our favourite way to de-stress would have to be yoga. Some of the best stress-relief poses are:

  • Child’s pose – Kneel on the floor with your legs together and sit back on your heels. Hinge forward until your chest rests on your thighs and your forehead is on the floor. Then curl your shoulders forward and let your hands rest, palms up, next to your feet.
  • Standing forward bend – Start in a standing position. Then exhale as you lean forward and bend your knees enough to bring your palms to the floor with your head pressed against your legs. Straighten your legs to deepen the stretch. To release, bend your knees and inhale while moving your arms out to the sides, then raise your torso back up to standing position finishing with your arms above your head.
  • Eagle pose – Start in a standing position. Bend your knees, balance on your right foot and cross the left thigh over the right, then hook the top of your left foot behind the right calf. Extend your arms straight in front of you then drop your left arm under the right. Bend your elbows, raise your forearms perpendicular to the floor, then wrap your arms and hands, pressing the palms together. Repeat on the opposite side.
  • Legs up the wall – Sit with your hips against a wall. Roll onto your back and climb your legs up the wall. Keep your bottom as close as possible to the wall.

Check out this cute  infographic from Health Perch for a visual guide to more great yoga poses for stress relief.

Meditating is a fantastic way to calm your mind and body and restore inner peace, but it can be tricky for beginners who aren’t sure where to start. Guided meditation, where an instructor talks you through the process, can be the perfect way to learn.

Find a class near you on the Australian School of Meditation and Yoga website or check out YouTube for a wealth of guided meditation audio files and videos. Once you are more experienced, you will be able to meditate on your own wherever you are, even if you only have a few minutes.

A healthy, balanced diet will keep you fighting fit and ready to tackle the stresses of life head-on. But if you need a boost, B vitamins may be the answer. They’re well-known for improving the body’s ability to combat stress and anxiety.

Chronic stress can deplete your stores of B vitamins and a deficiency could make it even more difficult to cope with stressful situations, causing a vicious circle.

There are many vitamins that make up the B group; 2 of the most important are B6 and B12. Some of the best food sources of these include:

  • B6 – beef, turkey, liver, tuna, chickpeas, leafy green vegetables, nuts, bananas
  • B12 – meat, poultry, fish, shellfish, eggs, dairy

You might also want to consider a B supplement if your diet is insufficient. Speak to your GP or pharmacist about which one could be suitable for you.

green tea

The humble cup of tea is a tried and tested quick fix when you need some zen time, whichever type of tea you choose. Herbal tea in particular can really help calm you down.

Chamomile tea is especially relaxing and can help reduce stress, anxiety and sleeplessness or insomnia. Peppermint tea is another favourite for managing stress as it is also very calming thanks to the natural muscle relaxant menthol it contains.

We all know eight hours of sleep a night is ideal to feel your best, but it can be hard to achieve when life gets busy. One of the biggest culprits is spending time on your laptop or smartphone right before bed.

What you promise yourself will be a ‘quick check of your social media accounts’ can easily turn into endless Instagram scrolling, meme bingeing or watching yet another funny cat video on YouTube 3 hours later!

To make matters worse, research shows looking at a screen before bed can prevent you getting a good night’s rest and contribute to feeling groggy in the morning, thanks to the ‘blue light’ these devices emit coupled with mental stimulation when you should be winding down for sleep.

Writing a journal may not be for everyone, but if you are the type of person who finds it therapeutic to get your thoughts and feelings down on paper, then make the time for a diary entry every day.

Even if it is just a few lines to jot down how your day is going and how you’re coping, you will be able to look back on past entries and see that the tough times do pass.

Since we are talking about writing things down… Sometimes the biggest stressor is having dozens of important tasks floating around in your head with no clear path to completing them.

The solution? Write them all down, prioritise them and schedule them. You will be amazed how much better you feel when all those jobs are out of your head and down on paper.

Talking to a friend, colleague or even a professional counsellor about what is stressing you out and brainstorming ways to overcome those challenges can make a big difference. Even chatting about unrelated things and having a good laugh can be incredible stress relief.

Most importantly, do not be afraid to ask for help when you need it. Find a registered counsellor via the Australian Counselling Association or a psychologist via the Australian Psychological Society. 

Often the best medicine for stress is taking time out to distance yourself from the daily grind and doing something you enjoy. Whether that’s getting active by going for a walk or playing sport, meeting friends for coffee or a meal, or even a spot of retail therapy, do whatever makes you smile!