I’m getting to that point in the semester where everything starts to feel like it’s really bearing down on me; extracurriculars, homework, studying, passions, and all the pressures that come with being a student have started to get overwhelming. A lot of the time, stress can be paralyzing. When there are so many things that you need to do, it feels a lot easier to just do… none of them. But you and I both know that that makes things feel about a hundred times worse. So how do you control feeling stressed, and how do you even begin to move past it?
Take Care of Your Body
Feeling overly tired, hungry, thirsty, or uncomfortable can really make stress feel a lot more intense than it has to be. Before you tackle the homework, practice session, or whatever it is that’s making you stressed, it’s important to first make sure that your body is hanging in there. If you’re feeling really sluggish, like you haven’t exercised enough, then go on a walk around your neighborhood, do some jumping jacks, or jump in the pool if you have one or live near one. If you feel tired, take a 15-20 minute nap (much longer than that, and you'll feel more tired than you started out). Eat a healthy snack, like nuts or fruit. Make sure to drink a lot of water, and if you do like coffee, then have a small cup. If wearing cute clothes and looking "put together" makes you feel more productive and calm, then do that! If wearing the type of clothes you'd wear out to school is too distracting/uncomfortable, then just put on some really comfy clothes. If you try to get work done when you’re constantly being distracted by the "outside world," you won’t get much work done.
Take Care of Your Mind
If you’ve already been studying or practicing a skill, or if you’ve just been at school all day, make sure to take care of your mind and soul as well! Take a break from the things that have been stressing you out. Do something that you love, whether that’s painting, playing an instrument, listening to music, or anything that you like to do that isn’t directly related to what is making you feel stressed out. And honestly, I find that when I indulge myself in doing something mindless like lying on my bed and scrolling through my phone, it does feel a bit easier to get back to work afterwards. Another tip is to spend a bit of time journaling; a lot of the time our thoughts, along with our responsibilities, are what make us feel stressed. Get some of those thoughts down on paper, and I promise you’ll feel at least a little lighter. Also, spend time with people! All humans (no matter how introverted) need some socializing, so you might find yourself feeling more relaxed and ready to take on your responsibilities if you spend a bit of time with your family, or call/text your friends for a while.
Write Lists and Prioritize
Now that you’ve got your body and your mind taken care of, it’s time to start tackling the things that are making you feel stressed in the first place. A lot of the time, something that contributes to our stress is having all of our tasks just floating around our mind. Then we aren’t just stressed about doing all these tasks, we’re also stressed about forgetting some of them! The biggest thing that helps me when I’m feeling stressed is to write lists. So, take out your planner or a piece of paper, grab a favorite pen or pencil, and write down everything that you need to do. Now that the tasks are on paper, they’re real, tangible things that you get to cross off when you finish them. It doesn’t seem quite so daunting now, does it? The next step would be to prioritize, and for that, I’m going to link you to Katharine’s post about prioritizing, which will help you figure out what you should spend more time on, and what isn’t as important as you may think.
Now you’ve taken care of your body and mind, and written down each and every task you need to complete, hopefully you’re feeling a little less stressed and a little more ready for the rest of the day. I’m sure all of us have felt stressed at some point, so feel free to leave comments about your experiences with it, and some of your own tips! Thank you to Wen for suggesting this topic, and as well as sharing your thoughts on stress, feel free to also leave ideas for future topics below!