Stress Management 101
Trying to manage your time for school work and social life can be stressful.
Trust me, I’ve been there!
And part of the entire college experience is getting to enjoy the social life and college life because it’s an important part of the rite of passage into full adulthood.
So, here are a couple ideas and tips on how to de-stress and how to manage your time while still being able to enjoy your social life and excelling in school!
We are more effective with work when we are less stressed and we tend to sleep better when less stressed so that we have more energy to optimize work time and play time!
Breath work is easy to do and helps to calm jittery nerves. One of the easiest and most effective ways to de-stress is to just close your eyes and focus on your breathing for a little bit. There are various techniques of breath work, such as:
- just doubling your exhalation time compared to your inhalation time (i.e., breathe in for count of 4 and breath out for a count of 8)
- or more complicated ones that incorporate holding your breath to trigger our parasympathetic (relaxation) autonomic system (i.e., breathe in a for a count of 3-5, hold your breath for a count of 5-8, and exhale slowly for a count of 7-9).
Use your senses to help you de-stress. We are all slightly different in what we find is relaxing to us.
- So, if music really relaxes you and lavender scents relax you, you may want to set aside 5-10 minutes a couple times every day to listen to music and put on lavender scented oil or candle to help calm your mind and body.
- It doesn’t take a lot of time to relax your mind and body if you make that relaxation time sacred and don’t do anything else except allow your mind and body to relax.
- If you are someone where the sense of sight or touch is more important to you, you may want to watch a clip of calming images or wrap yourself in a soft blanket to relax for 5-10 minutes a couple times a day.
Imagining yourself relaxed is do-able. Intentional daydreaming may be very relaxing.
- You can actually imagine yourself on a beach or some place you remember as being incredibly peaceful or relaxing and just allow your mind to take you there with imagery of this place for a few minutes, a couple times per day to help you de-stress.
- When you are at this location, you can ask yourself to imagine what your senses may feel or sense in this location in order to make this mental image become more real to you mind and body to allow for deeper relaxation.
Reward yourself for your hard work. Make sure to reward yourself with non-food associated rewards every few weeks or regularly.
- This positive mood boost of knowing that you’ll get to enjoy something decadent or fun helps to lift moods and boost energy.
- By establishing a positive beneficial reward system for yourself, you will be encouraging positive mood and energy that can help you get through a stressful situation.
Journaling or writing or painting or incorporating a hobby you used to like as a child that brought you joy. Studies show that journaling and getting your emotions and concerns down on paper can positively affect mood even beyond the time you spent writing them down.
- So, expressing your feelings and worries in a creative way (whether in art form, dance, or writing, for example) may be a very constructive way to release your pent-up stress and emotions.
Time Management Tips:
Try to find a place on campus where you find it easier to focus and get the work done. If you are in a social noisy environment, you may not be as effective at getting the work done during the several hours you set aside for school work.
Set aside a few hours daily to do work. During those hours, only focus on work so that you get enough work done and this way you have plenty of time to for socializing later with your friends. By staying on top of your work load, you won’t have to sacrifice fun time later when a social event comes up that you are dying to go to.
If you do a consistent amount of school work every day, that means you get to have fun socializing time every day as well and won’t ever be caught in a situation where the work load has piled up so much that you have to forego social time to get it done.
Form study groups that are productive. Try to find a few people who also have the mentality that if they work hard for a few hours, then they can play hard as well. This way, everyone in the study group has the same goals in mind of getting work done so that you all can go to the social events that you want to go to for downtime and relaxation.
You can form a study group where sections of school work can be divided up and you can teach each other. Studies show that if you have learned the content enough that you can effectively teach your friends, then you’ve truly learned that topic well enough to ace that test or project.
Try to set up a loose daily schedule for yourself so as to maximize your study time, sleep time, and your play time. If you loosely set up a certain time each day for school work, sleep, and socializing time, then you’ll be able to get at least some work done daily and get sleep and have time to spend with your friends without worrying about projects that are due.
Take study breaks to maximize your productivity during active studying time. I used to take study breaks where I walked around the library or went outside for a quick phone chat or went to get tea or a snack. These little breaks of 10-15 minutes can really help you to re-energize and become more effective again when you sit back down for studying.
Make sure to rest and de-stress. When you are stressed or you are lacking in sleep, you won’t be as productive with studying and getting work done. So, make sure you’ve allotted time daily for sleep and relaxation. Getting to the gym and working out can help you get rid of nervous energy and help you sleep better. So, maybe take a walk around campus if you are feeling stressed, so that you can be more productive when you sit down to do work.