Stressed? Ten top tips to tackle term threes tensions
One exam down. Essays completely finished, submitted and handed in for my 100% coursework based Hispanic literature module and Italian literature module. Yes, this means I have officially completed over half of my course for this year…and all in the space of three days…
I am exhausted.
It’s safe to say that the dreaded exam period is a pretty stressful time, even for a first year. Coinciding essay deadlines, exams, revision, year abroad meetings, doctors and bank appointments…quite literally everything seemed to be happening last week!
Therefore, having come home for a bit of R&R before returning back to Warwick for my remaining three exams, I decided to dedicate this post to sharing some of my methods for dealing with stress during this oh so stressful period.
Stress is something that over the last few years (particularly during A-Levels) I have found increasingly difficult to deal with. However, now at university, I like to think that I am more in control. I mean, when it comes to this time of the year, I often feel at times that my mind is just going to explode and it is impossible to switch off. So much to do, so little time…it’s very easy to begin cracking up due to the sheer overload of information spinning around in your mind. Meaning (for me anyway) sleep can become nearly impossible. The last week in particular, even with the huge relief of having completely finished two of my modules, I have still found myself at times lying there, going over and over things in my mind, whilst starting to think in an amalgamation of different languages (oh the joys of being a language student)…I even started going through verbs in my head the other night…I mean why? Just why? I should probably mention that this is most definitely not helped by the fact that I am unfortunately a bad migraine sufferer, whose headaches are primarily tension induced. Therefore, not wanting to rely on pills to reduce anxiety and tension levels, I have looked to alternate methods of reducing my stress levels, and coping during this exam period.
And so, I have come up with a few nifty tips for anyone feeling a little stressed and sleep deprived…
Warning, may cause addiction due to their sheer brilliance
Ok, I know I have already talked about these life-saving beauties (see previous post), but they really are brilliant. Unfortunately when coming to university, you will soon realise that despite the professed ‘24/7 quiet time’ around halls during term 3, you are never going to be able to completely escape general noise, disturbances, the booming of loud music and that person who wakes you up at 5:00am having lost his keys…
2. Tick Tock
I mentioned in my last post how beneficial having a herbal tea can be when feeling stressed or just before you go to bed, however, if that doesn’t float your boat, try a naturally caffeine free tea. Caffeine is essentially a stimulant drug which should be avoided when trying to relax. I’m not going to lecture you too much, but it’s important to know that consequently, it can cause restlessness, insomnia, headaches. Don’t get me wrong, I love a mid-morning cappuccino to get me going, however if you’re looking to unwind, try Tick Tock Redbush tea, or Tetley do it as well!
Before going to bed, I always use this lavender hand moisturiser. As well as smelling amazing, lavender is incredibly calming. You could alternatively try lavender oil, little bundles of the flower itself or other lavender scented products. I can assure you that, just a few drops of lavender oil for example on your pillow will help you to relax and reduce your stress levels. It’s scientifically proven!
4. Rescue Remedy
Well, it’s exactly that. A blend of five different Bach flower remedies, it can be used to help us get through any stressful situations, from last-minute exam or interview nerves, to the aftermath of an accident or bad news.
5. Tiger Balm
This is something I have only recently discovered. It’s an herbal formulation for external pain relief which I started rubbing over my forehead and temples to help with my tension headaches. However, it essentially works by relaxing your muscles and so is a great stress relief.
6. Sticky notes
Lists are my life. Instead of lying in bed worrying about all the things you have to do to the next day and how you are going to manage it on the little sleep you will eventually get once you have stopped worrying about exactly this and switched off, just write it all down before going to bed. That way, it clears some room in your mind and will still all be there in the morning for you to deal with. Plus, there is absolutely nothing more satisfying than crossing things of your list…(yes I do sometimes add things that I have already completed just so I can cross it off and convince myself I am making progress…).
I don’t know why I included this really. I just thought it added something to the arty look I was going for in my photograph. But it is amazing. Actually we must not overlook the importance of preventing chapped and dry lips!
This is pretty obvious, but I cannot stress the importance of keeping hydrated by drinking lots of water. It’s something people often find themselves forgetting about when on the go all day. Avoid sugary drinks too as these will just make you feel sluggish. Plus they’re super unhealthy and full of sugar!
9. Eat well
Smoked Mackerel and salad (dinner the other night)
This is something I am planning to elaborate on more in another post as it really is so important. Plenty of fresh fruit and veg will assure a healthy mind and will just make your feel good in yourself. Avoid take-outs or calorie filled shop bought meals and sandwiches; you would be amazed how much rubbish they’re often filled with. Also, they’re so expensive!! Don’t skip meals and snack. If you structure your meals and get into a routine when revising, I can guarantee you will be a lot more productive, you’re energy levels will remain steady, and you will be able to function and work a lot better. I promise.
Yes, I hate to break it do you but just a bit of exercise every day can make the world of difference. Cooped up in your room or in the library all day during the exam period will leave you feeling mentally drained, and even though exercise is the last thing in the world you probably feel like doing, just half an hour a day will make you feel refreshed, energised and give you an adrenalin boost. Regular exercise has been proven to reduce stress, ward off anxiety and feelings of depression, boost self-esteem and improve sleep. Don’t say you don’t have time, make time!
So there we go. A few tips of mine to help you all get through this stressful term whether at school, university or work. Just keep that vision of summer in your mind and it will all be worth it!
Oh and of course, remember to still have some relaxation and enjoyment time. That goes without saying. All work and no play is never much fun…