Managing Stress – How Do I Do It?! – OurWarwick

Managing Stress – How Do I Do It?!

PolandUnited Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (the)
You can ask me about anything, from Liberal Arts and…
Find out more about me Contact Jagoda

“Managing stress” should surely be an oxymoron, don’t you think? At times it can feel like we’re drowning in a sea of unmanageable tasks that have no end in sight. Maybe you could’ve done that formative piece of work to make the summative assessment easier, maybe you could’ve stayed longer in the library that one time you left at lunchtime, maybe you shouldn’t have gone out last night because now you can’t bring yourself to do work… These are all thoughts I’ve had over the course of my time at Warwick, and if you can relate to them then that goes to show you’re not alone. I used to think I was the only one who wasn’t up-to-date with readings or had started their assignment way too late, until I realised there was no way I could be. Everyone has their own struggles, but you might not always see them: the person in your class who always has pages upon pages of notes and turns in their essays a week in advance could also be pulling all-nighters every night to try and get things done, it doesn’t mean they’re any better, or worse, than you are. Everyone works at their own pace, and you can only do the best that you can do in that moment. So, without further ado, let’s do further – here are my top 5 tips for managing stress:

  1. Write a list – I tend to find that writing lists helps me unravel the tangled ball of wool that is my brain when I’m stressed. Buy a nice notebook (but be careful, it’s an addiction…) and make a list of the things you’re thinking about, whether it’s deadlines, class readings, your extra-curricular activities – LIST IT! Then, colour-code it. Red = urgent (this is a priority), orange/yellow = semi-urgent (this is important but doesn’t need to be done right now), green= not urgent (this needs to be done, but it isn’t due for a while so I’m putting it to the back-burner). Be really honest with yourself. This practice always makes me feel a lot better about my work, because I see that a lot of my stress has come from the thought of many tasks, when most of the time many of them aren’t due for a while!
  2. Meditation/Mindfulness – Recently, I’ve taken up the practice of meditating once a day. There are plenty of free apps available which can help with this, as well as some paid ones. Just taking a few minutes out of your day to breathe and reset makes a world of difference. I personally use an app called Waking Up by Sam Harris, there is a 7-day free trial after which you can choose to buy an annual or 6-month subscription. A free option is Headspace.
  3. Exercise – Whether you’re an avid gym-goer (like myself) or not, try and find some time to incorporate movement into your day. This can be playing a sport, going for a walk, doing a session in the gym… anything which gets you up! Taking a break from work to do something you enjoy can distract you, and exercise releases endorphins so more likely than not, you’ll come back to your work feeling better and refreshed! I go to the gym in the mornings, and also play netball. On the days where I’m not very active, I try to get up and walk around campus during the day for some fresh air. You can do this by yourself, or with friends!
  4. Music – Make yourself a calming playlist with songs that you personally find relaxing. If you’re someone who is able to work whilst listening to music (I vary), then use it for this too! Of course, there are plenty of “study chill” playlist on Spotify, but sometimes you need to find the songs that mean something to you, and only you know how they make you feel. So find your inner DJ and pull together those songs that make you take a deep breath and relax, there’s nothing worse than trying to work in a loud, distracting environment – send yourself away though your headphones.
  5. Don’t compare yourself – This means not comparing yourself to your friends, classmates, fellow students, but also not comparing yourself to past versions of yourself. I have a habit of doing this sometimes, thinking that “last term I was able to do this so well!” or “last year I got a really good mark and now this isn’t as good”. Better is the enemy of good, which is something I still have to remind myself of. We’re all guilty of comparing ourselves, the key is to not let it cloud your judgement. As I said in the beginning: you can only do as well as you can do in that moment. Even if you got 80% on your exam last time, but today you feel like you’ve never done any of the topics in your life, or you keep kicking yourself about how you could’ve studied harder, you can only do your best. We can’t hold ourselves to past standards that don’t apply in our current situations, so cut yourself some slack (but not too much, we still have a degree to finish!)

I hope these tips can be useful to some of you, whether you struggle to manage your stress or not. If anyone wants to talk about this further, my messages are always open 🙂

Here is a link to my Daily Planner, which has helped me so much this year to organise my weeks and days:

PolandUnited Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (the)
You can ask me about anything, from Liberal Arts and…
Find out more about me Contact Jagoda

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