March 22, 2014
5 ways to cope with stress
lately, I have been so damn stressed. the past 3 weeks have been filled with midterms, spring break (which was great, but still stressful. since we can only go home a couple times each year it feels like we have to cram a ton of family dinners, doctors appointments, haircuts, parties, and other events into the 7 days we get for break. 7 days where we're supposed to be relaxing. don't get me wrong - I love seeing family and friends and doing all of the fun stuff we are privileged enough to do. but it's hard. it's hard when you are so busy and stressed at school to come home to more busyness. that's all.), and then a jam-packed week of classes and assignments. all of this (in combination with my best friend really needing me for personal reasons + being on my period - HAH) has made my emotional level about an 11 on a scale of 1-10. and I'm tired. more than that, I'm drained. but we have 2 more months to this semester. 2 more months. (also, I should apologize - I haven't been blogging. and that bums me out even more. but hopefully y'all will understand. aaaand once things settle down a little bit more, I've got some really neat stuff coming for you. <3)
what I'm trying to say is, the month of march has taught me a lot about stress. and about what I, personally, need to do to keep moving in the midst of it.
#1. keep a planner
this tiny black book is the key to my academic life and much of my mental wellness. basically, on the first day of classes this semester I laid out all of my syllabuses and transferred every single due date/quiz/test/exam into this little planner on the correct date. then, I wrote a day ahead (or multiple days ahead, depending on how much work the assignment would require) exactly what I needed to do in order to be finished on time. and now I've made it a habit. I do this for everything. even social/personal stuff. it really, REALLY helps not only to know exactly when things are happening, but also exactly what needs to be done (and when) in order to feel prepared. I've found that this kind of highly detailed planning really helps to keep my anxiety levels manageable. (also, shoutout to Jess for gifting me this planner - it's so much prettier than the one I used to have).
#2. reach out
I don't have a picture for this one but it is so important. sometimes when you're insanely stressed you just have to take a break and distance yourself from your work. the other day I was feeling really defeated by some statistics homework, so I went over to Cam's dorm. we laid around and watched Zach Stone is Gonna Be Famous (because it's hilarious and stupid and we love Bo Burnham). while this was completely unproductive and didn't do anything for my stats homework, it did something for me. it mellowed me out, which is so so important. after that, I went back to my room and sobbed on skype with my mom for an hour (still over my stats homework - I'm really struggling in there y'all. that's mainly what has sparked all of this stress. I have a D at midterm and I really need a B.) because apparently I just really needed to vent that day. and it helped. it helped a lot. and I'd really recommend it - especially the crying part. release can feel so good.
#3 do everything in your power to get enough sleep
I've never been the kind of person who loses sleep when they're upset, so I guess this is pretty easy for me to say. I'm the type of person who totally shuts down (energy-wise) when they're upset. but it really does help me. I'm almost always low-energy, even when I'm not under pressure. but when I am stressing it just gets exponentially worse so it's really important that I get 8-11 hours of sleep each night. that probably sounds obscene to some people, but my body HAS to do this. and it's nice to have a break for a while where you can literally not think about your work at all.
#4 give a shit about your health
stress suppresses the immune system, so this one is extra important. getting sick will not help you meet your deadline. illness will laugh at your deadline, and it will totally suck. SO, in addition to getting loads of sleep: eat real food, drink a lot of water, limit alcohol, take whatever supplements you believe in (I really dig these two when it comes to lowering stress and keeping me focused), take whatever meds you're on, etc. just really try to be nice to your body. especially when it's already sad.
#5 clean like your life depends on it
obviously, like most humans, my room gets a little messy when my mind gets a little messy. I haven't done any laundry since coming back from break (and it's only been a week, but really. that's not like me. I'm a neat freak.) and I definitely notice that things like that only stress me out more. the other day someone (I forget who - oops) tweeted that their life is almost always as organized as their desk (or something along the lines of that) and I totally feel that. I feel that so hard. I notice it in other people too. our spaces are usually the first thing we let slip when we're under a lot of pressure, but it really does help me to keep my room neat and organized. looking at a mess only makes me feel worse. even if it's something as little as an unmade bed.
how do y'all handle stress? have you ever taken a class where you felt like you fought it the entire semester? that's my life right now.