10 ways to deal with stress this deadline season
It’s that time of year again…
The first assignment deadlines of the year have rolled around again, and they coincide with self care week, so here are some top tips to deal with stress.
Now, until this year I was the first to call BS on the whole exercise thing. As a general rule I’m not a fan of getting tired and sweaty. However, this year all my friends joined the gym and I have to admit I've been converted (although I'm still too scared to do weights). There’s a ton of science-y stuff about endorphins, but for me it’s that if I run 5k or I do a workout then I’ve achieved something that day, even if my essay is going to shit or I have done 0 per cent of the reading that week.
Treat yo self
When I’m feeling overwhelmed by stuff this is one of my best ways of coping, which sounds simple but is very effective. The first thing I’ll do is have a really long, really hot shower. Then I’ll blow dry my hair and moisturise my legs, and I’ll actually allow time to sit around in a towel, before putting on a face mask and having a cup of tea in bed.
A bit of luxury makes all the difference!
Chat to a friend from home
Friends from home are an actual godsend, especially when you’re overwhelmed and overworked. A FaceTime with friends from home, or a few messages in the group chat reminds you that there is a world outside of uni, and if my friends are anything to go by, it usually starts with sad crying and ends with tears of laughter.
Find a comfort TV show
This was a biggie for me last year. I’m quite good at getting really worried about things and I need a TV show that will calm me down. I discovered last year that for me this was Call the Midwife (I am an actual grandma, I know) because it reminded me enough of home to be comforting without making me homesick. Maybe you aren’t quite as ready to embrace your inner elderly as I am, but go for something trashy that you don’t have to think about. Trash TV is a gift and we should be thankful.
Less screen time
Having said that, another thing that helps me is shutting off Netflix and reading a book for 15 minutes before I go to sleep. Again, there’s a ton of science about how the light from screens wakes your brain up when it should be slowing down. I find that if I don’t read something I find it really hard to stop thinking about all the things I’ve been worrying about all day. It forces me to concentrate on something else as well as all the other science-y benefits.
I am completely reliant on lists – if it’s not on my list there’s no way I’ll ever remember it. But aside from jogging my goldfish-like memory, they actually help you stay in control. Every week I write a to do list, splitting the jobs up into as many small, achievable tasks as I can, and then I go through and plan out my week, so I know when I’m doing what. This actually often makes me realise I have a lot more time than I thought I did, and means that I can plan breaks and stop myself from working into the night.
Use your tutors
They are literally there to deal with our essay meltdowns. If you’ve been having a breakdown over an essay plan, sign up for consultation hours and go and talk to your lecturer. Again, this sounds basic but sometimes it’s hard when you feel like you’re writing rubbish to then go and ask an expert what they think of your tear-stained essay plan.
Don’t become a hermit
Don’t spend all day and all night working away in your room. When you’re having a break, go down and make a cup of tea and have a chat with your housemates, and try and eat together in the evenings. This way you can distract yourself without even trying and you can have a nice moan about all the work you’ve got to do.
Go to the library
Go to the library and have your crisis there instead of never leaving the house, and then you can come home and go to bed. That way you get some fresh air, and don’t have to feel so guilty about all the chocolate you’re eating to get through these stressful times. If you’re all struggling with something go with your course mates, although only sit on level one if you’re sure everyone has the strength of will not to start talking, or at the end of the day you’ll end up just as stressed as you were when you got there.
Don’t use self-care as an excuse to procrastinate
I’m very guilty of this. If I’ve got some work to do in the evening I’ll often tidy my room before I start because it “helps me think”, or I’ll spend an extra half an hour in the gym instead of going to the library. Obviously this is massively counterproductive and that’s why planning is key. You have to factor in self-care, so that you get enough work done but don’t burn yourself out. Nobody can do all these things all the time, and we all pull all-nighters and go out when we should be working, but if you get into a routine of including self-care in how you work, you’ll end up feeling a lot less overwhelmed.