Have you ever felt like the week is never-ending? Already on Thursday and still don’t have your stuff together? It’s okay, I promise!
As a college student, I have experienced and will experience weeks that are much more busy and stressful than others. However, staying busy is not a bad thing. In fact, it could mean that things are going really well and you are making progress toward your goals. Being busy actually makes me happy! But, if you have been dealing with hours in the library, extra shifts, insane workload, being sick, caffeine dependence, maybe a even a little procrastination…Listen, I gotchu. Stress and lack of sleep can morph you into a worn out version of you. Don’t wear yourself down in the process of trying to be successful. For example, you can’t study until 4 a.m and spent the next 3 days catching up on sleep every time you have a test. It’s not feasible or fair to all other aspects of your life. With all of this in mind, I am going to share some of my strategies to get through high-stress weeks below:
1. Make Lists
Personally, I am a very visual person and love getting everything that has been on my mind out and onto paper. When making a list of all of the homework or studying I have to do, I will write out my daily and long term tasks. Then, I will make a list of the things I either want to do or have to do at home. Each morning, I write a short term list of things I need to accomplish that day and prioritize it by either a due date or time frame. For this list, I must complete everything by the end of the day. On my long term list, I may write “work on paper”, which has a due date in the near future but is not due today. This way, I can chip away at it and create a plan to incorporate it into my daily tasks. Things like doing your laundry are not usually time sensitive and can be things you would look to do after your initial to-do list has been checked off.
2. Find What Stresses You Out the Most
You may be overwhelmed with your to-do list, which can paralyze you into not achieving anything you had planned for the day. Taking a step back and seeing what your priorities are can help. Have a group project to complete? Write out your group’s plan for the assignment, distribute tasks, and even set up a meeting time. Lightening your schedule and breaking tasks down to their simplest form help to give you a sense that you are achieving things one step at a time.
3. Food Prepping
If I spend Sunday night or one night each day of the week to prep healthy snacks or meals, I always feel less stressed out. I am able to sit, eat, and complete my work without having to drive around or find the quickest place for food. Fueling your body and having something to look forward to can increase your energy to tackle what the day throws at you. Whether you are short on time or have the weekend to begin prepping, the fact that I took the initiative to prepare for myself makes me so happy.
4. Taking breaks
Step 1: do not look at your phone. Step 2: thank me. I have never felt better than when I take a break from working to read, walk, talk to a friend, write, or draw. For me, looking at my phone does not provide my brain with relaxation. Stretching, drawing, or even doing a five minute mediation are all more productive uses of your time than being on your phone. I love to turn off all notifications for social media and get rid of all distractions. Taking a meaningful break from screens to unwind for a mere five minutes helps me collect my thoughts and relax much more than someone’s Instagram. Taking meaningful breaks helps me to not procrastinate and create my best work.
5. Accept That you May Not Be Able to do Everything
While being organized and knowing exactly what your tasks are can help you achieve much more, sometimes there isn’t enough time in the day. What is important is to continue carrying tasks into the next day and do your best work with each go. Working under negative stress does more harm than good. But, stress is a part of life. Learning to manage it is key. In these tough weeks, remember that you are working, you are where you need to be, and as long as you keep a goal in mind you are going to get there.