Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Struggles with Stress

"Worry is like a rocking chair, it gives you something to do but doesn't get you anywhere."
Thank you, Pinterest, for that quote. That was actually one of the first quotes that I ever pinned and I still remember thinking about how accurate it was and how much it pertained to my life. I am such a worrywart. I stress out easily and then lose sleep and nothing good comes of it because I am too tired and stressed to produce at my full capacity. I am trying to really work towards embracing stress management tactics because I know that I am as guilty of this rocking chair life as anyone else.
Worrying is pointless, stress can be crippling, and life still goes on. Somehow out of all the messes that I have gotten myself into one way or another, a quote that a wise man once recited to me rings through:
"Some of the worst things in my life never even happened"
-Mark Twain
This is a quote I tell myself daily now. We are capable of spending so much time worrying that we forget about the here and now. I am not saying that stress will ever disappear, and sometimes a crunch deadline is just the motivation I need, but I am saying that we can manage it. For example, I am pulling late nights in the library this week preparing for next week's exams so that I can enjoy my brothers' visit to UVA this weekend. I am managing my stress, sure it will still come around, but there is no sense in hoping on my rocking chair of worry for what the week will bring
1) Plan Ahead: Take your syllabus or important work email and put all the deadlines in your agenda, google calendar, etc. Make sure that you know what's coming up so that you're prepared for the weeks ahead and that you don't get caught off-guard and have to scramble to get all the work done.
2) Make a List: No this isn't the same as number 1. Making a list means that you should make a to-do list of everything you need to do to prepare for an exam, work presentation, etc. If you have a checklist, you can benchmark your progress and feel more productive as you ensure you get everything done and having a plan means that, while it may be overwhelming at first, it is doable.
3) Relax: Do not spend so many hours in the library that you go cross-eyed if you can help it. Read a book, watch Netflix, or just do something that will let you decompress from the stress and pressure of work or school. 
4) Release Endorphins: Let's take a page from Elle Woods on this one. Exercise is such a great tension relief and it is also a nice study break. Take a break for a run or to go to the gym and come back feeling reinvigorated and ready to take on the rest of the day's studying.
5) Sleep: There are several studies that show if you are sleep deprived, you may as well be drunk. Well, that doesn't sound particularly conducive to effective work or exam taking. Get some rest, you will be far more productive in a few hours of alert studying than that crappy prep we have all done at 4 in the morning...it just doesn't work!
6) Eat Well: Start your day with a balanced breakfast. Get some brain food, jumpstart your metabolism, and take on the day. No one wants to be hungry and stressed...especially if you're a stress eater (totally guilty of this one).

Essentially, the key to stress management is staying on top of your game. Falling behind is when stress really tends to seep in. There is no point in worrying about something that we cannot change, but it will probably happen all the same. Just try to manage this stress and make it a mild motivator rather than a crippling burden.

How do you manage your stress?

No comments:

Post a Comment