Stress. One of the most used words in a student’s vocabulary. I cannot even remember a time before I was stressed, to be honest, and that’s not exaggerating.
I normally work solidly without giving myself a chance to relax, and by the end of a term I would feel really low because I had gotten so stressed out. But I have come to learn a few ‘hacks’ that enable me to keep stress at bay.
One of the worst things you can do is not write down what work you have to do because otherwise, you will constantly worry that you’re forgetting something.
I have found the true value in making ‘To Do lists’ (and it’s a great excuse to use that notebook that’s been empty for ages.) I have got to the point where pretty much the first thing I do each day is to write my to-do list.
Break the list into manageable pieces, so instead of writing “write a 2,000-word essay.” Start with “plan my essay” or “write the introduction” and you will find that from that starting point, getting the rest done seems a lot easier.
Take time off
“All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.” More importantly, all work and no play makes Jack an overly stressed boy. Don’t be afraid to give yourself breaks from work and do something you want to do. It can also work well to motivate you to get work done if you know you’ll get a reward. Have a guilt-free Netflix evening (don’t forget the popcorn!) or head to Playzone’s student night. It’d surprise you how much running around a soft play centre can help as a stress buster. Even giving yourself time to a bubble bath can be helpful!
It’s okay to not be okay.
Sometimes it can feel that admitting you’re stressed and struggling is admitting failure, but it isn’t. Everyone experiences stress and the workload you get as a university student can sometimes just be so overwhelming. There’s no shame in admitting you need help. The Student Wellbeing Centre is there for a reason. While I personally haven’t used them, I have friends who have and found it incredibly useful.
I’m not saying that the gym should become your second home, but even just going for a walk into town or up Steep Hill can help you de-stress. You get some fresh air, exercise and it can help clear your head. By the time you get home you might be in a better frame of mind to do some work.
Go to the library.
If you feel like you’re drowning in work and you just cannot concentrate in your room, go to the library. I have found that it is one of the best places to go if you’re stressing and just need to get some work done. Bonus points, if you go to the library and get work done there it means that you can go home and relax.
Stress is inevitable, but you don’t have to let it beat you.