As we get into the full swing of the new year and the months become colder, our moods tend to shift. The stress of homework, university admissions and more can really build up. Here are some great tips to break out of that stressed out headspace before it even begins!
1. Organize Everything!
First and foremost, you need a clear head. A clear head is almost impossible to achieve if there’s clutter all around you. Start off with organizing your workspace – get rid of unnecessary papers, put things in their drawers and start clean. Any papers you aren’t sure are necessary but don’t want to throw away? Scan them so they can stay with you virtually. Try to end your homework sessions with everything put away again, and wipe down your desk to really solidify that. Then make sure your virtual workspace is clear – if you’re using Google Drive or Word, try to organize your documents into files so everything is easily found. Then you can create your to-do list for the day without anything else bogging you down.
2. Use Positive Thinking
This sounds cliché, but positive thinking is actually proven to be helpful in reducing stress. We tend to stick to our negative thought cycles because they’re easier for us. Using positive thinking when considering problems helps you stop blaming yourself for problems. You start to see that there are things you can’t control and there are so many factors at play! You can read more here. So the next time something bad happens, use positive affirmations to get you out of those bad thoughts. Say things like “this isn’t a mistake, it’s an opportunity to learn something new”.
3. Get Healthy
The 3 keys are good sleep, good food and exercise! Make sure you’re getting enough sleep every night or else your stress levels may increase. Good sleep can help you become a better problem solver with a sharper mind, among other things. You can manage sleep by limiting caffeine intake, giving yourself an end time for work and exercising! Which brings us to our next point, exercise gives you endorphins and helps with so many parts of life, but also stress! If you don’t have a routine, just build it up – start with walks and using stairs more, then work towards a consistent routine. And of course, healthy eating. The nutrients you gain from healthy food can help with blood flow, reducing inflammation and more! Try to eat at home as much as possible, keep nuts and fruits as study snacks, but don’t use eating as a way to cope with stress.
4. Relaxation Techniques
These are great when your stress is overwhelming you in a way that you can’t even get focused at all. If you’re starting to panic about anything, try out these techniques to slow down and refocus.
You think of a peaceful place or a scenario and let yourself relax. The idea is, your body will stop being tense in this place and calming down will help you cope with your stress. There are audio recordings available if you have trouble getting out of your own head – just find a quiet spot and let yourself be guided through.
The basics are that you tense a group of your muscles as you breathe in, then relax as you breathe out. With practice, you can get really great at this and use it any time you start to feel stress. There are lots of audios available online for you to try out.
Self hypnosis is kind of like meditation really. You gently guide your mind by sitting quietly, breathing deeply, picturing yourself in a peaceful place and repeat an affirmation to yourself. Entering a deeply relaxed but focused state will help you relax instantly.
5. Have a Stress Outlet
This could include an extra curricular that you love to do or even just talking to your friends or family! Making time for activities you enjoy especially creative outlets can improve your mood. This is so important, sometimes when school work gets heavy it feels like that’s all there is to life – having other things that you love to do or people you love to talk to helps you break out of those thought cycles.