Once a new school year begins or when final exams approach, it is usual to feel stressed out due to the huge amount of tasks and issues we have to take care of. Experts have demonstrated that moderate stress is normal and even beneficial for our balance. The problem comes when stress gets out of control and becomes an obstacle to do our regular activities, in some cases leading us to feel physical symptoms. Controlled stress pushes us to work hard and get results, while excessive stress can have an impact on our performance and our health. It is important to know and practice simple little steps to avoid and reduce its effects.
1. Plan ahead:
Stress is our body’s reaction to unknown situations. When we have to face a new situation, our body activates our defenses in order to overcome it. For this reason, planning ahead is the best way to avoid it. There will always be unexpected situations; the key is to reduce them and try to have control over anything that could happen. Keep an organizer or diary to organize all your classes, assignments and upcoming tests. Even your social activities could be included in this organizer, since this gives you the chance to plan better and avoid any interference they may have with your academic duties.
2. Avoid procrastination:
While this point is closely related to the previous one, its importance calls for discussion. Procrastination is the act of avoiding tasks and is closely related to failure, leading us to have an unsuccessful career. When you procrastinate, you’re not only increasing your odds of failure in reaching your goals, you’re also contributing to increased levels of stress. All of us have to work with deadlines and according to schedules, so it is important not to leave tasks to the last moment. This only leaves you feeling stressed-out and affects the time you have for the rest of the activities included in your agenda.
3. Find a hobby:
This is a good way to have a break while still doing something productive. A hobby will make you feel relaxed, and boost that feeling of passion and purpose in life. When you do something you really enjoy, you feel happy and motivated. This will also make you manage your time more efficiently in order to combine your hobbies with your academic life.
Many studies have proven that committing to any type of exercise on a daily basis has numerous benefits for our body and mental health. It helps to improve our mood, feel relaxed and energized and regulates our sleeping habits. It is not necessary to pay for a gym membership or join a sports club — even though this is a good idea — it is enough to walk 30 minutes each day to balance your mood, clear your thoughts and feel more relaxed. If you're studying hard for a test or facing an imminent deadline, take some breaks to walk around campus and get some fresh air while boosting your energy.
5. Listen to music:
Music is one of the best stress relievers; it has the power to make you feel calm or energized. Play around with creating different playlists for different moments in the day. Choose positive and upbeat music to boost your energy in the mornings and slow or instrumental music for evenings when it’s time to relax before sleeping. It is proven that classical songs are good for our concentration so you can even listen to music while studying!