As I’m relatively sure I’ve mentioned before, I’m a nervous person. I’m also a double major with a minor at UNC. I worked two jobs until recently. I’m the multimedia subchair for Carolina For The Kids (a.k.a. photo and video coverage are my responsibility.) I’m a producer for Carolina Connection. And this semester, I’m in three production classes in the journalism school. If that weren’t enough to make me want to hibernate 5ever, I also started the job hunt this semester. I’m 100% positive I’m not the only one with this much going on, so let’s talk about stress.
I start feeling the *stress* when I have x + y + z due the next day, but I only have 24 hours to get about 72 hours of work done. I used to buckle and crack under this immense kind of pressure, and sometimes I still do. But here are some tips I’ve gathered over the years that have really helped me, and if you’re anything like me, they’ll probably help you too.
- Take a deep breath. It’s important to take a second and practice that sense of mindfulness we spoke about in Branding of Me. Take a few minutes to absorb your environment. Where are you? Who are you? What are you doing? Who is with you? This should help clear your head and put you in a better state to buckle down and conquer the mountain of work you have ahead of you.
- Make a list. I normally like to do this the old-fashioned way with a pen and paper, but pretty much any way you do it works. List out all the things to do in order of priority, what you need to finish first, what has the soonest due date. While you may think this will just stress you out more, being able to cross off something after you’ve done it helps you visualize the finish line! Therefore, it makes it a little easier to get the job done.
- Go for a jog. This was something I wasn’t so sure about at first. Mostly because I hate myself and my life while I’m exercising, but I love how I feel afterwards. But it really helped the first time a tried it. Jogging is a great way to clear your head, and if you aren’t much of an outside runner… running on the treadmill or elliptical works just as well.
- Eat healthier/cleaner. This was something that I was extra surprised about. I don’t know about you, but when I’m stressed sometimes I just want to eat a whole pizza by myself. But, if you opt for a balanced meal with a protein, starch and vegetable instead, it helps you feel better so you can feel better. Once you feel better, you can work more successfully and be more productive.
- Take breaks. While studying or working for 15 hours straight may seem like it’s a productive use of your time before that big test, it just isn’t. Take a short break every hour to stop looking at that piece of paper or computer screen. Get some water. Go to the bathroom. Go for a walk. Your body will thank you.
- Know when to throw the towel in. Staying up forever is just going to make you a groggy, frazzled mess. At the end of the day, sleep is an important part of keeping that stress level down, and it plays an important part in keeping you healthy. Even if it isn’t as much sleep as you’re used to getting, you need something.
I can’t guarantee that if you do all these you’ll magically never anxious again, but these tips have helped me a lot! What do you do to cope with stress? Let me know in the comments section!