Don’t Hold Your Breath
Spring break is officially over, and now I’m back to reality. It was very nice to not have to worry about school-things for a couple days. I’m back in school, and the semester is trudging on at full-speed. Actually, it seems to be going over the speed limit. All of the sudden of all of these due dates are popping up at the same time. I’m trying to balance school with work and having somewhat of a social life. Needless to say, I’m starting to get a little stressed out.
Now that the break is over, I’m sure many of you, my Dolls, feel this way too. We’re so close to the end of the semester, yet it feels like it’s worlds away. There’s so much to be done in so little time! So, what can we do to handle it all? Stress is going to come naturally when you’ve got a lot on your plate. Sometimes you have to step back and take some time to manage it.
Here are a few of my tips for dealing with stress, so you can work efficiently to get things done:
Focus on What You HAve to DO in Short-Term
Looking at my calendar is completely overwhelming. I have something to do every single day. Just looking at my calendar is starting to stress me out. I feel like there’s no possible way to complete everything in time. It looks like I have way more to do than I actually do. By looking at everything that needs to be done, I’m just overwhelming myself.
Instead of looking at everything you have to do together at one time, break those assignments down. Focus on the tasks week by week, day by day, and even one assignment to the next. At the beginning of the week, prioritize what needs to be done that specific week. Schedule yourself to work on one assignment at a time – one hour on Monday and Wednesday for calc, two hours on Tuesday and Friday for your thesis. Don’t think of these assignments as everything you have to do. Think of them as individual tasks and allow yourself a specific time for each of them. Breaking your assignments down and managing your time with each of them will help organize your work and ultimately help you feel less stressed. You’ll also be more motivated to work on assignments because they won’t all seem to be coming at you at once.
Take a Break!
There’s just SO MUCH to do! You’re going to feel like you have to work as fast as you can without taking a break in order to get everything done. Soon you’ll even be working through meal and bathroom breaks (I know from experience…). This is not a good idea at all! Working through the pain is just going to make you feel even more stressed. Your mind is going to get tired of working hours on end. It can’t possibly function at its full potential like that.
Allow yourself to take a break to recharge. When I’m really busy with assignments, I have to remind myself to take breaks. I found the best way to do this is by setting an alarm. I put my phone and laptop notifications on Do Not Disturb, and I set an alarm for 30 to 60 minutes so I can work without distractions. After the alarm goes off, I set another alarm for five to 15 minutes. In this time, I take a break. I get up, walk around, grab some food, answer text messages, or anything else I need to do to give my brain a few moments of peace. This is just the recharge I need to continue to work on my assignments.
Don’t Be a Perfectionist
Up until college, I was a crazy perfectionist. While it’s good for you to want all of your work to be the best, being a perfectionist is stressful. Not everything you do can be 100% correct and pristine. Perfection is overrated! If you’re being a perfectionist with all of your assignments, especially at this point in the semester, you’re just going to drive yourself insane. You’re going to end up spending three hours on an assignment that should have taken 15 minutes.
So, ditch perfection. Instead, try your best. Give all of your assignments your best effort, but don’t go above and beyond. There’s a fine line between giving your best and being a perfectionist. You’ll know you’ve crossed the line into perfectionism when you’re spending a lot of time on one single assignment, you’re nitpicking every little thing, and you’re feeling that no matter how hard you’re trying it will never be good enough. Take a step back and say to yourself, “It’s good as it is. I gave it my best try and that’s the most I can do.”
Breathing is a fundamental part of yoga. People often unconsciously hold their breath as they get into harder poses. When you hold your breath you tense up, lose your balance, and ultimately fall out of the pose. You need to breathe through the pose in order to master it! The same thing goes for any stress you’re feeling in your life.
I know when I’m stressed, my breathing changes. I find myself holding my breath or breathing too fast when something gets too hard or stressful. Doing this just makes my heart beat faster and the anxiety kicks in even more. You’ll start to panic unless you catch your breath. If you find yourself in one of these situations, there are a few things you can do. You can try breathing exercises or guided meditation exercises. One mediation app I really like is Calm. You can also do some quick yoga (Yoga with Tim on YouTube is my go-to) or stretching exercises. Or, you can repeat mantras to yourself. Whatever you do, the purpose of these exercises is to ground yourself and give your mind a few moments of peace.
Do Things For Yourself
Remember to take care of yourself! It’s as simple as that! You know how I admitted before that I sometimes work through having to go to the bathroom or being hungry – yeah, don’t do that. Of course, remember to eat and take bathroom breaks while you’re busy. But, also remember to do other things for yourself too! You’re working hard. You deserve a little treat to look forward to after a long day of work.
You can do something as simple as eating your favorite comfort meal or having a glass of wine. What about going out to the mall with friends for some retail therapy? You deserve that new pair of shoes after working so hard! Maybe, get out some of the stress by getting active. Go to a Zumba class or hit the hiking trail. You could also take a day for yourself by doing the things that help you relax. Check out some of my suggestions in my post, “Relaxing Things.” Through all of this stress and hard work, remember to do a few things that will give your mind a break and that will make you happy. You need to do stuff like that in order to be able to function at your full potential!
We’re only going to get busier from here on out. It’s the end of the semester, so it’s really time to buckle down. While you’re going through the motions of the second half of the semester, try doing some of these things to ease your stress. These suggestions don’t only apply to school. You can use these tools throughout your life in your career or at any point when you feel that twinge of stress sneaking up on you.
Remember to breathe, my Dolls!
Another thing that really helps me get through stressful situations? Music! Read “Current Playlist #4: Our Songs.”