As it’s around the time that the Year 12s take their final VCE exams (here in Australia), I thought an article like this was in order..
But this doesn’t just apply to students; if you’ve been feeling under pressure lately, here are some tips to help you out and some info for you to think about.
First of all, you have to work out what is giving you grief. At times this can be super straightforward and obvious. At other times, it could a variety of subtle things or you may just not want to admit to the problem.
I remember when I first started lifting, I rushed in too fast and after a few weeks, I was tired, moody and was suffering from headaches but I just didn’t want to stop working out! After a while though, I realised I was hurting myself more than anything, and so I dialed it down and worked my way back to the same intensity, over a much longer period of time.
So it goes to show; stress can affect you physically and mentally. Watch out for the warning signs.
- Lack of energy
- Troubles with digestion or stomach aches
- Aching muscles and joint pain
- Unexplained mood swings
Once you’ve figured out your stressor, you can either try to eliminate it from your life or, if this isn’t possible (and in many cases, it isn’t), you can incorporate some of the following tips to calm you down and cope.
- Focus on the positive: although the actual situation you find yourself in may not be exactly positive, it may just be a problem that arises from the many other things you have to be grateful for in life. For example, if you have a whole heap of paperwork to do, it indicates that you have a job as well as the necessary skills to complete the task 🙂
- Don’t stress over the little things: perfectionism can be a valuable quality, but it can also be a curse. Sometimes, you won’t be able to control everything and not every aspect will end up the way you wanted it to. But that’s alright. The most important thing is to know that you have done your best. And I promise you, that is enough. That is all anyone can ask for!
- Think about things in the long term: ask yourself- its this important enough to waste so much time and effort stressing about this? Will it matter in a month, a year or 10 years from now? If not, then consider spending the time and focus on something else.
- Make time for things you enjoy: find what relaxes you and what you thoroughly enjoy doing; working out, going for a walk, shopping, reading…. There are so many possibilities and it is so important that you do not cut these things out from your life.
Schedule a set time every week or so, to just take time out and do what you love without thinking about anything else.
If you do, however, have a pressing due date for a task, you can schedule your “time out” for after you’ve completed it and have it there, waiting, so that you can look forward to it and use it to keep you sane. Just try not to let it get to this point too often.
- Take care of your physical health: eating a healthy, well-balanced diet is incredibly important (tbh, this really applies to everything..) and can really help your body deal with stress, by giving the the necessary nutrients it requires to fight the intense stuff going on inside your body. By incorporating “brain foods” such as fatty fish, wholegrains and blueberries, you can also keep your mind sharp, clear and focused, in turn leading to a higher quality of work and more efficient time management.
Plus, eating clean can leave you feeling fresh and light, which is much better than feeling bloated and heavy after a huge, nutrient-lacking meal.
Also, try to include some daily exercise if you can. Nothing gets rid of pent up rage and anxiety better than chucking a few heavy weights around (with proper form, of course) or hill sprints on the treadmill!
- Get enough sleep: you’ve probably heard over and over again, to get at least 8 hours sleep but I believe that the amount of sleep an individual requires varies greatly from person so person. So experiment with different amounts of sleep and find what works best for you. You should wake up, without an alarm clock, feeling energized and ready to face the day. This can really help fight off stress as like a healthy diet, it can keep your mind focused and alert.
If you need tips on getting proper sleep, I wrote something here, a little while back, that may help.
- Write a list: I love lists! Sometimes I write lists about lists I’m going to write 🙂 I find that once you get everything written down, the majority of the time, you’ll find out that it’s not as overwhelming as you thought. This will also allow you to sift through and cut out things that aren’t so pressing.
Plus, the satisfaction of crossing out items once you’ve completed them is just… the best.
- Laugh everyday: funny cat videos, your favourite comedy, hanging out with friends. It doesn’t matter as long as it results in you cracking up! You don’t need me to describe how amazing it feels to laugh until you want to cry and your sides hurt 🙂
There is nothing else in the world that lets you know that everything will be okay.
So yeah! Keep those 8 points in mind and hopefully, the next time you feel a little worried about something, you’ll be able to work through it as if it were just another day.
Do you have any tips as to how you cope with stress? I would love to hear them in the comments below 🙂