by Stephen Buckley, Content Manager
If you’re anything like me, you’ve dealt with stress from time to time. Maybe the stress is academic-related, as having to stay on top of homework and tests for every class while maintaining good grades can be overwhelming. Maybe the stress is related to your social life, a hypothetical example being there is a special someone that you like but you have no clue if the feelings are reciprocated (nor are you sure how to ask them out). Whether your stress is academic related or stems from your personal life, I want to give you some tips on how to manage it. Because trust me, I’ve been there.
Tip #1: Plan out your time
If you have a lot of things to do in a short amount of time, creating a schedule and planning out your time will significantly reduce stress. When everything is planned out, you can focus on tasks one at a time, and only worry about the others when you get to them. Let’s say, however, that your stress isn’t related to having a lot of things to do. Maybe it’s a single event, like an upcoming test or an overall tricky situation. In a case like that, breaking down the steps you need to accomplish to face the situation and planning when you will do those steps will make you feel at least a little better going into it.
Tip #2: Take a break
If you’re stressed because you have a lot to do, this might seem counterintuitive. However, if you’re extremely stressed and exhausted, you will not do what you have to do efficiently. It is important to simply take a break from what you have to do or whatever is stressing you out. In the next two tips, I will give examples of breaks that will help you briefly get away and mentally reset.
Tip #3: Go on a walk
This is my personal favorite. Going on a walk and immersing yourself in your surroundings is a perfect way to relax and get your mind off things for a bit. I like to listen to lo-fi music when I go on walks, but walking in silence also has its perks. Walks can bring calmness, joy, and clarity. If you want to get a sense of what I’m talking about, watch this video by John Green: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WNbnomqi86o
Tip #4: Meditate
I couldn’t make this list without including meditation. Meditation comes in many different forms: yoga, breathing exercises, or simply take some time to contemplate. Whatever method you choose, there are a vast number of sources available on Google or YouTube.
Tip #5: Reach out to your friends
Always remember these words: you are not alone. During times of stress, friends can be the best support system you can have. If you’re in a tricky situation, you can tell your friends and ask for advice. If you’re just generally stressed, you can vent to your friends as they listen to and support you. You can also just have a good time with your friends, distracting yourself from your stressors for at least a little while. Whatever the case, be sure to connect with the people closest to you. Chances are, they have dealt with the same stress that you’re dealing with.
Tip #6: Only worry about what’s in your control
It’s important to remember that dealing with stress is not just about what you do, but also what you think about. It’s extremely important to only concern yourself with what is in your control. Whenever you are stressed about something, ask yourself this: “Can I do something about it?” If the answer is yes, then take time to determine what you will do and when you will do it (Tip #1). If the answer is no, then it is not worth worrying about. If you cannot do anything about it, neither can your stress. For example, let’s say that you have a huge exam tomorrow. You paid attention in every class, did every homework honestly, and studied for hours on end. Maybe you’re stressing over questions like “What if the questions are difficult?”. In this case, you should take a step back and realize that you did all that you can, and whatever happens, happens.
Tip #7: Remember that you will be okay
Whatever stressors you’re facing, you will be okay. Repeat these words to yourself: I will be okay. Don’t believe me? Think of every single stressful situation you have dealt with in the past. For every situation, you found a way to get out of it. Let’s say that you had an exam in the past. If you did well on it, then you succeeded! But maybe you didn’t do as well as you had hoped. Even in your worst-case scenario, you found a way to persevere afterward. You’re here now, and you’re okay now. So, why should your current situation be any different? The answer: it won’t. Reminding yourself of this is perhaps the most important thing to do during times of stress.
This list is by no means exhaustive, but it includes some of the ways I dealt with stress as a high school student and am dealing with it now as a college student. It’s quite difficult to escape stress, but by incorporating these tips into your life, you can minimize it and deal with it in a healthy way.