It’s a week before I have to hand in my dissertation and I’m quite worried about making it the best piece of work I can, as it will be the last piece of coursework I do in my undergraduate degree! This has got me thinking about stress – what is it and how do we cope with it?
A work-life balance is a very important part of university life (as well as adult life in general); we need to know what makes us happy and what we find enjoyable compared to the times we’re having to do work. In other words, we need to know how to de-stress.
So what is stress and why does it happen?
Personally I feel that stress depends on so many factors, some easier to adjust to than others. The reason I say this is because some days EVERYTHING will irritate me, whereas other days I’m much more tolerant, which just shows that it depends on various other factors, like amount of sleep, food intake, type of food intake (e.g. junk food), hormones, lack of exercise, social factors (e.g. family problems, friend problems etc.), illness…the list goes on!
How can you reduce your stress levels?
Well apart from making the standard lifestyle changes such as improving your diet, exercising more, getting more sleep etc., it’s also really important to know your own personal way to help yourself de-stress! In other words, what works for one person may not work for another. A while ago, I decided to write a list of all the things that make me happy (whether I’m feeling sad or stressed) and below are some of the things I came up with:
- Spending time with friends and/or family (including phone calls)
- Listening to music
- Watching TV/films
- Reading books
- Going on long walks
- Eating unhealthy foods (although this is usually followed by guilt!)
- Helping other people (e.g. volunteering, care work etc.)
- Going out with friends
- Taking long baths (really wish I had a bath at uni…)
- Colouring in (so glad adult colouring books were invented!)
I’ve also noticed I’m usually so much calmer when I have a tidy room and when I take the extra time in the morning to actually eat breakfast and wear make up, as opposed to the usual messy room and waking up 15 minutes before I need to leave the flat because I snoozed my alarm about 500 times!! So, I advise that you too take the time to work out what makes you feel a bit more cheerful, so you know what to do when it all gets too much.
That being said, just because you’re not feeling stressed or sad right now doesn’t mean to say you shouldn’t do the things you enjoy. I think it’s really important to get some “me time” each day to promote good overall well being – trust me you will feel better for it! I’m pretty sure that the reason I’m stressed today is because I’ve had 5 minutes to myself since 8:45am and I know I still can’t stop working until later in the day! So, to help avoid getting stressed to begin with, make sure your timetable some free time in for yourself, to relax, have fun and make the most of being at uni!
I hope you find this post useful 🙂