The right amount of stress can keep us motivated and working hard, but too much of it can take a toll on our wellbeing. It’s important to find healthy ways to manage stress, especially during finals and with graduation approaching for some of us. Here’s a quick guide to getting things under control this week.
One source of stress can be feeling like there’s just too much to get done and not enough time to do it all. Start by writing it all out—every upcoming assignment and their due dates—and plan your time backwards, prioritizing based on those deadlines.
Jot down exactly when everything will get done and commit to the schedule. Preparing in advance may not create more time, but it can help you to visualize exactly where all your time is and how to best use it. Ready to get started? Download the ultimate to-do list and organizer app, Wunderlist, free on iOS and Android.
Keeping up with the basics
Our minds and bodies work best when we take care of them. Set reminders on your phone to drink a full water bottle every few hours, pack plenty of healthy snacks before hitting the library, plan for at least 7 hours of sleep per night, and don’t be afraid to work in a 20-minute power nap here and there too.
We like using Habitbull, a free app for tracking good habits that also rewards you for meeting goals. Or, if sleep is a bigger obstacle, try out Relax Melodies for soothing sounds to shut your mind off.
Research has shown that studying endlessly can be more harmful than helpful. Instead, try this proven study cycle called the Pomodoro technique: set a timer for 25 minutes and focus on the task at hand. When time is up, take a 5-minute break to walk around, talk to a friend or check Instagram. Repeat the cycle three more times, then take a 30-minute break to really refresh.
Stress feeds off of unrealistic expectations and pressure. It’s important that we check in with ourselves periodically about where our expectations are coming from, and if we’re adding on pressure to be perfect or achieve a lofty goal that may be hindering our ability to actually perform well. Talking to a friend or journaling about this pressure can offer some perspective and help us let go of things that may not be worth our mental energy.
Relaxing and recuperating
Finding ways to channel our stress keeps us balanced enough to handle the next stressor that comes our way. Some of our favorite self-care activities include watching an episode on Netflix, getting in some physical activity, spending time in nature, and having coffee with a friend. For meditation, we especially like using the apps Breathe2Relax and Stop, Breathe, and Think.
The Healthy Buffs series is brought to you by Wardenburg Health Services. Visit us online at www.colorado.edu/health