Stress Management – 10 Tips On How To Handle Stress

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Stress Management

Being a student is a full-time job, and having a part-time job, engaging in society, pursuing hobbies, or having a private life, can feel like adding up to multiple full-time jobs. In addition to this, prioritizing self-care is important as well. While the activities are fun and we can have an impact through them, we also need to take care of ourselves just as we do for others. We need to engage in this throughout our lives, and I am convinced, that managing our time well can help us have a better and easier life.

Time Management

“Busy is the new stupid” is a sentence some of the most famous billionaires like to mention. Even though I don’t like to admit it, there is some truth to it. Being constantly consumed by work and juggling numerous projects is often portrayed as admirable. However, feeling like we never have enough time is probably not what we want. Work sometimes seems incredibly important there are steps we can take to better structure our time.

Prioritising

We won’t solve all our problems at once, and we won’t solve them at all if we get lost in a number of tasks that we want to do at the same time. Figuring out what is important to us and what isn’t. Therefore, the first step to reducing our To-do list. A good tool to do this is the Priority Matrix, which can help to divide your tasks by the categories ‘Urgent’, ‘Not Urgent’; ‘Important’ and ‘Not Important’. Hence one should do the urgent and important tasks immediately, schedule a time for the important but not urgent tasks delegate or itemise the urgent tasks that are not important to oneself, and delete neither urgent nor important tasks.

Saying No

Usually, there are more things we want to do outside college. Therefore it helps a lot to not only prioritize our tasks, but also to learn to actively say no to things that are not necessary or relevant to us. Our time is valuable and if we always say yes, we will end up giving away our time to others without a clear purpose. One has to find out what they consider as important, and then we have to learn to say no. This is easier said than done, but some help along the way might be to write down three areas of focus. For example: friends & family, assignments, working, reading and sports, while ensuring that there is enough time for relaxation. Then you can gather what might have kept you from doing things that are

important to you and assess, if there are moments that you would rather have said no to. This does not mean having to say no to everything but rather keeping the focus on what you find important.

Planning

Firstly, as more tasks accumulate, a schedule can help you to use your time for what you want to do or get done. This can help to sort our tasks independently. As with getting a timetable in school, it might help to schedule the tasks and free time in a paper calendar or on the phone. It does not mean going to many different meetings every day, but rather to organise your free time and setting regular times for yourself in which you do certain tasks. Through this approach we can maintain an overview over different tasks and to set boundaries for our busy time.

Secondly, it might help to group similar tasks as for example answering E-Mails. This can help you not having to switch between tasks as much while allowing to spend less time when starting a new task and to focus more.

Thirdly, we only have 16 hours awake, and our brains have an even more limited amount of energy per day. It is therefore extremely helpful to understand our own rhythms more and to figure out our daily ‘attention budget’. So instead of overworking, we can do the things that we want to do with enough time and energy.

Managing Stress

Hopefully the time management methods can help to avoid stress. We must understand when we are stressed in order to communicate it to others, to eventually ask for help, and to not make a situation worse. But there might still be moments of having to complete many tasks and these are tips to keep you as balanced as possible.

Setting Realistic Goals

Setting realistic goals is extremely helpful when doing a project, as understanding our own limitations can help us oversee how much we can do, and to plan accordingly. Therefore we first need to define the desired outcome. The so-called ‘SMART method’ says that goals should be specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound. Especially the timing aspect can be hard to calculate at first, as we tend to underestimate the time we need to do things. So if you tend to do things last minute and often get into an unwanted rush, start off by giving yourself twice as much time as you would first expect to finish a project.

Taking Breaks

Our brains work better if we take breaks. Especially when want to finish a project quickly we tend to sacrifice taking breaks first. But not taking breaks makes us more stressed. As a result, this can lead to us finishing a project slowly and badly. While some experts say that one should take a ten minute break every fifty minutes, others choose different timings, and it is up to us to find out what works best. During the break time, they recommend not to go on social media, but to do things that calm you down. For example you could go for a short walk outside, listen to a song or set yourself a timer with the goal of not doing anything for a few minutes.

Staying Balanced

This also might be harder said than done, but try to stay balanced and maintain a healthy lifestyle even through stressful times. This means figuring out a mix of your work, physical, and social aspects. It doesn’t mean being so strict with ourselves that our private life becomes an additional challenge. But it means staying physically healthy, drinking enough water and keeping the different areas in your life going, helps to reduce stress and to improve your mental health. And, no matter how stressed you are, take some time to do things you enjoy, laugh and joke about. As important as all the tasks and To-dos might seem in the moment, taking care of your well-being and finding balance in work, physical, and social aspects of life is equally crucial.

Recognising Burnout

College and work life should not have a negative impact on our personal wellbeing. And yet, in some cases, it occurs that we work too much without realizing the strain, or without realizing our limitations. Procrastination can be a symptom of this stress. It can show us our physical limitations or that we feel overwhelmed. Furthermore, in order to protect ourselves and others we should be aware of burnout.

Burnout is a state of physical, emotional and mental exhaustion caused by prolonged stress and excessive demands. Symptoms of burnout include fatigue, decreased motivation, and a negative attitude. Further signs of burnout include emotional exhaustion, feelings of cynicism and detachment, a decrease in personal accomplishment, and physical symptoms such as fatigue or illness. To prevent burnout, it’s important to reflect, make changes, set boundaries, prioritize self-care, and it is crucial to seek professional support if needed.

Early recognition and treatment of burnout is crucial for avoiding long-term negative consequences. When recognizing burnout, immediately take steps to address it. We recommend you to seek help from a trusted friend, family member or mental health professional and to make changes to prevent burnout from escalating. As quickly as possible you should prioritize self-care, set boundaries on your workload and engage in stress-reducing activities.

Many of the things we do are demanding tasks and it helps to actively prioritize our well-being and take care of each other in order to keep going. Time management, prioritization, setting realistic goals, taking breaks and managing stress can help to lead a more balanced life, have better relationships and stay happy. As an example, President Obama installed a basketball court after he got inaugurated. And through this article I would like to encourage you to keep in mind what you find important, what helps you to manage sress and to keep doing the things that give you a break.

Take care!

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