The academic year, for many, is fast-paced and stressful. The worry sets in and the stress builds up. It’s a vicious cycle. When you’re stressed, you should relax, right? But, relaxing means that the to-do lists are going to build up and up until you’re even more stressed than you should be.
It’s not easy being a student and it’s even less easy trying to juggle being mentally healthy and getting good grades. Here are some long and short-term tips for dealing with stress and maintaining productivity.
- Do not underestimate the power of classical music
Plug in your headphones and listen to the theme music of Planet Earth or Planet Earth II. If you’re in the library, find a playlist of classical music and listen to it on a low volume whilst you work. Often some background white noise can help. Go to rainymood.com and listen to the soothing sounds of rain.
2. If you need to do some admin, pop on a film and chill on the sofa
If admin is causing you anxiety, even if it’s just sending a quick email or checking your bank account, it always feels much better if you put yourself in a relaxing environment instead of sitting at a cold hard desk. Get a blanket and work in bed.
3. Write down everything you think you need to do
Write a little list of every tiny step you think you need to do. I mean don’t just conceptualise and write ‘Essay’. Write down each step you need to take to complete the essay. Once you visualise what you have to do, it might seem less intimidating than it does in your head.
4. Allow yourself a real break
Don’t spend five minutes on your phone every half hour, get up and go outside. Even if you think you need minimal breaks, there’s no point sitting at a desk and staring into the distance. Let your mind rest and it’ll work 10 times faster afterwards.
5. Cut yourself some slack
Even if you don’t think you’re doing enough, you’re probably doing better than you think you are. It’s inhuman to work ridiculous hours of the morning and more than 8 hours solid a day. Allow yourself to be human.
6. Find out how you work best
Do you work best at a computer or a laptop? In your room or in the library? On Highfield or on Avenue? With a cup of coffee or a cup of tea?
7. Clear your space
Take the time to blitz your desk and tidy your work area. Get rid of all the pens that don’t work and organise all those pieces of paper lying around into a folder.
8. Stay hydrated
It’s one of those things that you hear all the time but for good reason. It’s miracle juice.
9. Get enough sleep
Force yourself to go to bed early. Don’t work late into the night panicking about how much you have to do. Allow yourself to re-energise.
If you’re feeling any kind of lull in your motivation, have a shower and wash all that stress away.