“Our greatest weapon against stress is our ability to choose one thought over another” (William James).
The 2018 school semester started last week and I became stressed faster than I anticipated. I balance not a ton of stuff, but planning on how I would add classes to my routine along with everything else I do, started to give me a bit of anxiety.
I work part time, 30 hours a week, which I know to some isn’t a lot. However, add that to 15 credit hours, one of those classing being Spanish so I’m attempting to also learn a foreign language alongside everything I am studying.
And added to that, two blog posts a week which is quite minimal, but stressful because finding the time to write is almost as hard as the writing itself; simple, but it takes time.
I realized there were a couple things I forgot about that I did in previous semesters that greatly reduced my stress and anxiety, so I am here to share them with you today.
#1 Make A Schedule
Making a schedule is something that’s very common and a lot of people do it, but a while back I was over cocky and tried to balance everything in my head. For the most part, that can work if you repeatedly make sure you aren’t forgetting anything, repeating your tasks in your head.
How making a schedule reduced a lot of my stress is I would find, even after I finished a task, my mind would still struggle to relax thinking did I forget something?
I would be sure I was done and free to relax, but putting on paper the things I have to do assures me that what’s done is done and nothing more.
If you don’t already write down your schedule, it’s well worth trying.
I recommend one of the planners like the ones they give out at University. Although, I ignore the weekly parts and use the whole month calendar.
How I do it is as follows:
- A day with a red outline – I work that day
- Blue tasks – Online assignments that can be done anywhere
- Black tasks – Important tasks
- Red tasks – Important tasks that may take more time than others
- Pencil tasks – Things outside of class and work
- Arrows – What days these assignments or tasks can be done or how long an open window is for something specific
It’s a pretty simple key and it keeps me able to sit down and write out my anxieties onto the calendar. Once I know there’s nothing left for the day, or I have prepared for future day tasks, I can close the planner and feel at peace.
#2 Take Time To Sit And Think
If I intentionally limit myself on time such as watching one more episode of a currently binged show just because I know I can get away with it, it messes me up even more than if I had just sat there for the same amount of time.
Sitting and thinking became so important for what I do because it not only gives me a bit of time to reduce stress and anxieties, but it allows for a slow but apparent mindset shift into what I am about to do.
How I do this is if I have something I need to start in 20 minutes, I won’t find something to do for that time, I’ll sit and prepare for whatever it might be in the last 20 minutes I have.
It lets me think about what I am about to do without jumping right into it to start and messing up from the very beginning.
I think about how I am going to start it, where my progress will be through the time spent on it, and anything else that will calm my mind and allow me to shift into the work easily.
“You need to be able to manage stress because hard times will come, and a positive outlook is what gets you through” (Marie Osmond).
Part of this strategy can also be merged into #3 if you aren’t able to take the time before or in between tasks to sit for a while.
Everybody knows this is one of the best methods for relieving stress, but some people still neglect to do it because it is something you have to schedule, which can make it a bit off putting, especially for those just starting.
But the benefits outweigh the negatives because exercising quite literally lets you push stress out of your body and make you feel powerful and in control.
You’re physically removing stress and by doing something that will ultimately benefit you in many different ways.
The positives form around relieving mental stress and giving you an outlet. Along with the physical side being beneficial for your body to actually be exercising. As humans we are supposed to be exercising.
Like I mentioned before, this can tie into #2 because it’s something you can do and allow yourself time to think and time to remove anxieties from your mind.
I exercise when I can, but some days because I’m not a full time worker and part time jobs can change schedules quickly, I sometimes don’t get home until 10 pm with work at 7 in the morning right after.
However, I’m able to do this and not feel anxious about it because to relieve stress, I follow all the things I’ve mentioned in this article. They all strengthen each other and doing all of them can stack up and remove giant amounts of stress.
At the end of the day, we all handle our anxieties and stress in different ways, but these three have helped me and if you aren’t doing any of these, doing one will greatly change how you deal with stress.