Last semester, I had less work but higher stress levels. This semester, I’ve made a few changes that have helped me improve productivity and general mental well-being. Here are some steps that can hopefully help you manage added stress, whether it’s exam week or just a time that’s busier than usual.
- Don’t break routine. If you normally wake up and have a cup of coffee while you read blog posts on your laptop, stick with it. If you go to the gym every afternoon, don’t start skipping it entirely. On days when your schedule is crammed, just try reducing the time you spend at the breakfast table or at the gym. This will free up more time for studying (or crying).
- Know what your body needs. I’m always amazed at the people who can stay in the library until 5am, take a two-hour nap, then get up and go take an exam. My strategy is always to spread out my studying over a few days and avoid going overboard the day before. This way, I can go to sleep at a reasonable time and actually be functioning the next day.
- If you’re not being productive, take a break. After hours of staring at half-legible notes in your spiral bound notebook, the words might start to look like a jumbled mess and you won’t be able to focus. Stand up, take a walk around the room, grab a snack… you’ll be more productive when you revisit your notes.
- Sit with your friends. Even if you’re not doing the same homework or preparing for the same exam, organize a study group. Tackling a task always seems more manageable when your friends are there with you.
- Find a new study spot. The same table in the back left corner of the second floor of the library is your go-to. You’ve become friendly with the people who sit at the table next to you because they’re always there as well. If you can relate, change it up. Find an empty classroom of an open building. Visit the study room in a friend’s dorm. Go to a coffee shop. A change of scenery might make you more motivated to get your work done.
- Wear your best dress. Some people feel better in their ability to succeed when they’re well dressed. Others prefer to roll out of bed in sweats ten minutes before the exam, happy to have slept as late as possible. Whatever you feel most comfortable in, wear it. You don’t want to be distracted by a wool sweater that makes you itch, or by jeans that squeeze in all the wrong places.
What do you do to manage stress? I would love to hear your comments:)