One of the things I have learned in my short time back in school is how stressful college really can be. With taking a full course load, training for a half marathon, looking for internships, and living on my own for the first time the stress can really rack up. Now I know most of you work full time plus train for marathons or half ironmans. I am not complaining about anything, I am simply saying that I have a lot going on for me right now compared to in the past.
Last week I had my first and second exams, in Russian and Psychology of Culture. Plus I had a 2,000 word French paper due. This was my first week this semester where I had so many major assignments all due in the same week. I was very nervous for my exams, which lead to me being really stressed out. I decided in the midst of my stressful week to come up with a plan to deal with future stressful times in order to be as successful as possible.
1. Drink enough water
Water is like coffee for me. I drink it pretty much all the time and would say that I am kinda sorta addicted to it. I have noticed that when I forget to bring water with me for the day I just don't feel as good. I end up drinking soda, eating too much, etc. Water makes me feel so pure and energized. I also stay healthier when I am drinking enough water, and we all know being sick detrimental to staying stress free.
2. Don't skimp on sleep- for ANYTHING
It is so easy to stay up later than necessary to get that extra studying in or finish that paper due tomorrow morning but I can't actually accomplish anything productive when I am tired. Sleep is a really important thing for me: I need no less than 6 hours to function but preferably 8-10 hours. It is a much better plan for me to just go to sleep at a reasonable hour so I wake up feeling rejuvenated and ready to tackle the day.
3. Make a plan for studying
I am that obnoxious person who has to have everything planned out. I keep multiple calendars always know when everything is due. What I need to work on doing is scheduling when I want to study. I always end up watching tv or browsing the internet instead of studying, assuming that I can study later. Then I run out of time to study. If I pencil in specific times each day that I want to study specific subjects then there is no worry about when to do other things.
4. Sweat for 45+ minutes a day
Exercising is such a stress reliever for me. I oftentimes end up skipping out on exercising in order to get more time studying in. The problem is that I am less productive when I haven't gotten my daily sweat on. I need to take breaks while studying anyway, so why not get my sweat on during those breaks?! This will also help me stay on track with my training and prevent me from stressing about that as well.
5. Find a study place without distractions
I get distracted easily. Like really easily. So I know that if I need to get in some hardcore studying then I need to find a place without distractions. So far I have taken a liking to studying in the library (Cliche, I know) and on the lawn outside the library. I have yet to discover the best study places on campus so these have to do for now. I never bring my laptop with me unless I need it because I know I will end up on the internet rather than actually studying.
6. Keep everything color coded
My boyfriend says I am OCD. This point might confirm his assumptions. I know it is obnoxious, but it really works. I keep my pens, highlighters, and dry-erase markers all color coded so I know exactly what is going on. I am able to look at my calendar and not be overwhelmed by what I see because I know which color corresponds to which class. It really helps me stay on task & organized and prevents me from overlooking anything
This is one thing that I could really work on. We have been doing a few minutes of meditating during yoga and I have been loving it. I really want to take this tool and incorporate it into my daily life, and not just do it at the end of yoga. I really think meditating puts things in perspective and allows me to regain focus on what I need to do and how I am going to do it.
8. Spend 30 minutes a day reading for fun
A lot of college homework includes reading, which stops a lot of college students from reading simply for fun. I find reading to be a great way to be completely absorbed in something without turning to electronics. And reading just makes me feel smarter. Reading is something that I really enjoy, which is another reason why it helps me destress.
9. Drink hot tea
Hot tea has a way of making any situation much less stressful. I am not what it is about drinking tea but I always have some when I am having a stressful day.
10. Take a hot bath
A hot bath is another thing that always seems to help me with stressful situations. Must be something about warmth. My favorite is reading a nice book and drinking chamomile tea while taking a hot bath.
11. Find something you love & keep doing it
I have learned how important it is to make sure that there are many things in my life that I absolutely love. For me, reading, running, yoga, etc. are what keeps me sane. If I only worried about school and studying I would be a nutcase. I make sure to spend lots of time with my boyfriend because he really cheers me up like no other. He also has the ability to calm me down like no other. I try to make sure that I do one thing every day that is solely for my enjoyment and not some kind of assignment or requirement.
12. Reward yourself for a job well-done
Motivation works really well for me. I try to reward myself for accomplishing major tasks, such as kicking ass on that next exam. The rewards can be as simple as getting frozen yogurt for finally completing that Spanish paper or going shopping for nailing that Child Development midterm. Ultimately, I would like to reward myself for an awesome semester with a trip to New York City. But that will be decided at the end of the semester.
What do you guys do to destress?