The last few months have been hella stressful! Final year of uni hit us both hard and at times it’s been tricky! The stress of coursework deadlines and exams has caused a whole array of emotions from breaking down and having a good old cry to outbursts of extreme anger and the desire to punch something to feeling delirious and losing the will to live! The stress also brought with it some lovely spots, bloating, tummy pains etc etc. It’s crazy what stress can do to you and your body and how it can affect people in so many different ways.
Through difficult times, stress and anxiety are inevitable but it’s how you deal with it which is the most important. You can either allow yourself to enter into a downward spiral of worrying and stressing which causes more worry and more stress and also decreased productivity. Not healthy for you or those around you who have to suffer your mood swings. Or you can be productive and tackle it in a way that allows you to succeed and be awesome.
So we thought we’d dedicate this article to STRESS! How to deal with it, what to do when you feel stressed, what we recommend and what has really helped us get through this challenging time!
- Surround yourself with positive and productive people. This is probably the most important (not just during stressful times, but in life too! But that’s a blog for a different day). Surrounding yourself with people who excessively panic or burden their problems on you are not who you want to be around during stressful times. Of course some people like to openly panic or talk about their worries but make sure you don’t allow their worries to become your problem. The weight of their problems on top of yours makes times like this that extra bit harder. By all means, help each other out, give advice and motivate one another but if you feel like someone is taking more than they’re giving then reduce your time with this person until you feel calmer within yourself. There would be days when we would both need a bit of a boost, but once we had a Starbucks inside us and realised that we needed to snap out of it and crack on with life, we were both there for each other and bounced off of each other’s positivity and productivity. There’s no point wasting time feeling sorry for yourself. It’s your personal strength to push through the negativity which will also help others to do the same. Positivity is contagious, spread it as much as you can and in return you will reap the benefits.
- EAT! We both used to believe there was no truth in the term ‘brain food’ or that we needed food to help our brains function. Food only fuels activity right? WRONG! Long hours of studying or essay writing really does take it out of you. Is there any wonder why you’re so shattered after a long day of work? Its because you’re using so much energy to keep your brain focused and switched on. We were both shocked at the amount of food we were consuming everyday but we soon realised how important it was to keep our tummies full in order to be able to stay focused for the long days in the library. Of course having a few sweet treats is VITAL in our opinion but we made sure to keep the bulk of our food healthy and wholesome, in order to get all our essential macro and micro nutrients. Limiting your food intake or snacking on rubbish will lead to both lower levels of productivity and fatigue. Keeping fuelled with lots of great food (and coffee!) is essential for revision success.
- Take a break (or 5!). Don’t feel guilty for taking breaks. Breaks are essential for your sanity during revision and exams. Trying to work solidly may seem productive but it is definitely the opposite. Think about it. If you worked for 5 hours solidly, how much of that time was actual productive learning? Probably only 2 hours maximum! The other 3 hours would be dedicated to faffing around, choosing pen colours, checking your phone, replying to an email, going to the loo, anything else that seems more exciting than revision! Set yourself a target of how many hours you want to work in a day and what you hope to achieve. Then break it down into hour or 2 hour slots. Schedule in your breaks and dont feel guilty about them. Go for a walk or have a chat with a friend. Grab some food or a coffee. Go for a run or have a session at the gym. Anything thats away from your books and out of your study place. Really enjoy your break and then get back to studying. Two or three slots of studying with breaks will honeslty be far more productive than having a long slog in front of your books.
- Have some fun too, it’s allowed! Carry on doing the things you enjoy. Just because you’ve got upcoming exams, doesn’t mean you have to become a hermit. With correct planning, you can carry on doing the things you enjoy. We were able to keep up with our gym routine, have a few girly evenings and the occasion night out. We scheduled in these times for ourselves which gave us something to look forward to and allowed us to stay sane. (studying in the same room for a month or so really can take its toll on your sanity!). Keeping up your routine, whether that’s going to the gym each day or getting up and going to bed at certain times, is so important for your productivity and to remain proactive. Once your routine goes out the window, you’ll begin to feel lazy, tired and lacking in motivation which doesn’t help! And of course, routine can become monotomous and boring so throw in the odd night out or cinema trip or road trip. Whatever it is you enjoy, allow yourself that time away from the books. Your enjoyment, social life and relationships shouldn’t come to a stand still just because you have a few exams.
- Enjoy the process! We get it, maybe you think that you’ll never need this 16th century text again or you’ll never have to use algebra in the future but try and see this process as a time to broaden your knowledge and make some brain gains! Once you start to enjoy the process and remain present in the moment, you’ll be able to appreciate what you’re doing. Think about how lucky you are to be in the position you’re in and to be able to sit the exams your going to sit. We were both guilty of wishing for uni and exams to be over but we soon realised that these thoughts were a waste of time and probably only reduced our productivity.
- And finally! If you need a cry, let it out! Exams brought out all sorts of emotions in us. There were days when things felt overwhelming and we’d be angry and miserable or when we’d just cry for no apparent reason. But that’s cool! Let it out! We guarantee you’ll feel a thousand times better for it. Have a cry, go for a walk, channel your emotions and lift some heavy weights or go to the pub. Take a break and start everything from fresh the next day. You’ll return to your work feeling refreshed and more motivated.
Remember! Everything will be OK. Whether its an upcoming exam, a presentation, meeting new people or maybe an upcoming weigh in, whatever you’re stressing about, the event it is going to happen but it is going finish too. Maybe you can’t see an end right now because stressful thoughts are making you feel overburdened. Everything has to come to an end and afterwards we’re sure you’ll look back and realise how great you did and how you really had nothing to stress about. Getting yourself worked up about something won’t stop it from happening but it will make things a hundred times more difficult.
Our university careers were LONG!!! So if we can get through the stressful times then so can you! YOU GOT THIS!