Meeting all the academic requirements existing today makes students stress out so much that they can even give up on getting their degree. Some people even feel better after it (at least physically).
The pressure you may be under for the several years of college and university is not something that will go unnoticed. Even if you feel like you’re doing good right now systematically sleeping 4 hours a day, pulling all-nighters, and studying 7 days a week, your health is slowly degrading.
Of course, it’s better if you read this before some negative consequences have developed. Yet, it’s never too late. So, whether you’re trying to prevent burnout or fight the present symptoms of stress, you’re welcome to read the points below.
1. Settle on Your Values
Planning would be a nice thing to start with, but let’s dig deeper to draw the most important point you should be guided by. Our values are what defines the way we act, react, live, think, and make decisions. They are often the reasons why we overload ourselves or do not even try to pass a test because of fear of failure.
So, before diving into another whirlpool of assignments and responsibilities (or running from them), outline your real values. Not those of your parents and friends, not those you inherited from the random people that somehow influenced your mindset. Think about your own guiding points.
If you got used to doing everything on your own (or just doing everything although you didn’t have to), ask yourself whether it’s potentially useful at all. Do you really need to do all of that by yourself or can you actually ask someone ‘write my paper’ and keep calm? Will you benefit from achieving so much or maybe it will be enough to do half of it?
2. Observe Your Body Language
Stressing out often comes not from external circumstances as one would think. It’s about the reactions we choose – which is a tired trope indeed, but think about it. The most effective way to change the way you respond to stressful situations is hidden in the actions you got used to.
Try to remember your body language during stress. Do you stoop your shoulders? Maybe clench your fists or frown? Then, straighten up, breathe in, breathe out, and unclench the fists. Make it a rule – or even a planned exercise – to close your eyes and notice a part of you that’s so stiff and strained that it can even hurt a bit. Try to fix it by an impromptu warm-up.
As soon as it becomes a habit, you won’t have to bother because of it. The hardest part is to begin.
3. Be Creative
Let’s say you have a pretty urgent task and you can finish it if you miss a lecture, an important one. Maybe you’d like to miss all of them and have some sleep. To prevent the feeling of guilt because of actually doing it, come up with a plan on how to catch up with the missed classes.
For instance, you can check the schedule or maybe even ask your professor when you can hear the same lecture read to another group. It may not be quite convenient to disrupt the schedule and deviate from what you’re used to. Yet, it’s an important sign for the lecturer who will see that you’re still striving to keep up with the course.
4. Have a Day-Off Planned
Do whatever it takes. Ask for an extension, order an essay, just plan it. You must have at least one day a week without:
- running errands;
- writing a bunch of assignments;
- drinking energy drinks;
If you spend your whole week like this, you’ll be totally destroyed the next Monday sitting through lectures or a workshop. Instead, one day of rest may give you more energy than you can think of.
Take a stroll, meet a friend or classmate – people are social creatures (and students are also people). Don’t let intense studies take social bonds away from you.
Yes, you will have to prioritize and choose them over some academic tasks. However, there can be an opportunity to earn some extra points and compensate for the missed workshop or assignment. Meanwhile, it’s much harder to catch up with your mental health or the people you haven’t talked to for like a year just because you wanted to get straight A’s.
That’s the point where we can talk about this exercise, finally. Meditation is not something you get attached to from the first try. You may have to try several approaches, programs, coaches, and apps. In the end, there will be something you’ll like so much that you will stick to this practice almost unintentionally.
The way you practice it doesn’t matter much unless it calms you down and gives you peace of mind. It doesn’t have to be an hour twice a day. It’s not a must to have a yoga mat, joss sticks, a room isolated from noise, and whatever you can see and hear in ads.
All you need is you, your breath, and the opportunity to close your eyes for a minute (sometimes, you don’t even need the latter). So, take a seat if you can, breathe, and listen to the voice of the speaker or your inner one.
As you get used to switching to meditation exercises when you start stressing out, you’ll see the progress. With the help of such exercises, people even start thinking differently and forget about the old grudges. You’d like to feel at ease about those of yours, wouldn’t you?
Studies have become quite intense nowadays. The demands students may face and the standards they are expected to meet often exceed the threshold of average human capabilities.
So, the first thing to do is set your priorities and balance between your academic and personal life. Keep in mind the day-off and your values. Those are the things that will help you make healthy choices.