I admit it, life is stressful. Sometimes the stress can be beyond bearable. Especially when you’re more than the standard no obligations university student. However, life doesn’t always follow the linear path. Some students are married, others have kids, some have full-time careers and others are returning to school after a long absence.
Whichever path you’re on, I’ve compiled a list of the most useful techniques I’ve found to manage stress from university life. After being in university for seven years, transferring twice, and studying abroad, I’ve become a pro at dealing with university stress. No, it’s not a good thing to brag about!
You read that right, cleaning is great for stress relief. Often times, we let things pile up and it can lead to stress we otherwise wouldn’t have had. Going beyond just a basic cleaning, getting rid of the things that hold us down can help to free us from stress. Not sure where to start? Check out my handy printable list.
Make a list
Sometimes it’s better just to get everything out of our head and onto paper. Make a list of all the things that must be done. Organize them from the most important to least important. Then see if anyone else can take care of the less important tasks instead. Tasks we can delegate will help lower the amount of stress we’re under.
Get it done
Just hunker down, make the time, and get sh*t done. This is normally my first approach to stress relief but I sometimes take it to the extreme. For example, I paid $150 to take a shinkansen back to Tokyo from Osaka so I could work on all the papers I had due for class. The result was I finished them all by the end of the weekend where I would have been sitting around waiting for my night bus in a thunderstorm. They weren’t, however, due for another few weeks but removing the stress of them looming over my head was worth $150. Plus, how many of us have experienced a shinkansen? 🙂
Believe it or not. Exercise is amazing for stress relief. It changes the chemicals we produce and provides clearer thinking. It doesn’t matter the type of exercise. Just get up and move! You can walk, run, jog, lift weights, jump rope, do yoga or Pilates. Your exercise choices are only limited by what you decide you can’t do.
Cut junk food
It’s crazy how sugar and carbs affect our mental states. Not only are they addicting, carbs and sugar change the way we think. Students don’t normally have a lot of free time. Add the fact that it’s incredibly easy to purchase junk food and it’s the perfect storm. Junk food it literally lines the shelves of every grocery store. Even the stores we’ve been lead to believe are “healthy” non-GMO you-name-it are littered with junk food.
Always tired or feel overly stressed? You may be getting too little or too much. We should aim for a time that makes us feel good. Personally, I need at least 8 hours to feel myself, sometimes more. If you’re unsure of what you need, take a day, go to bed when you’re tired, and wake up naturally without an alarm clock.
Stop wasting time
You read that right. What the heck are you doing? Go be productive. Stop procrastinating. Do what you need to do to stop wasting time. Do a social detox, cancel your streaming accounts, log out of everything, stop finding excuses to do nothing.
Go for walk outside
Get outside and breath fresh air. Unless you live in a city with horrible air quality. If that’s the case, go for a walk at a mall or someplace with filtered air. Sometimes it takes a walk outside to gather your thoughts. No time for a walk? Park further from work or school so you have to make the time to walk. I’m a cheapskate so my parking is easily a twenty-minute walk from classes.
Take a bath/shower
Sometimes we just need to get clean to relax. If you’re lucky enough to have a bathtub, run a tub of hot water and use a fancy bath bomb or some bath salts to help relax your muscles. If you’re like me and only have a shower, use a fancy shower gel and jet setting of the shower head to help release shoulder tension. Don’t have a fancy shower head? No problem! One can easily be bought and installed. It takes less than 10 minutes and less than $10.
Prepare for tomorrow, today
That includes completing tomorrows tasks today. Make yourself breakfast, lunch, or dinner in advance. Map out your commute. Set out your clothes for the next day. Do whatever else you can do in advance to make tomorrow easier.
If all else fails, take a day and disappear. Naturally, I don’t recommend doing this but I’m guilty of it. Sometimes we just need to check out of reality. Always, always make sure the day’s responsibilities are taken care of before checking out. For example, we can’t leave our children alone, we can’t skip work without prior notice, we can’t skip required classes, we can’t not feed our pets, etc.
This is not an exhaustive list by far. What other steps do you take to relieve stress?