Don't Panic!

It is that time of year again.

You know what I am talking about, that dreaded time of year when all deadlines, exams, essays and dissertations are currently swamping your life and somehow you end up swimming in endless pages of notes.

Everyone suffers from stress and I know some people seem like they don't, but everyone gets stressed out. Stress is a paralyser and I know the feeling of just being so overwhelmed by work that you end up just curling up in a ball and praying that you'll wake up and by some miracle the work fairies have finally appeared and completed everything for you.

As much as I wish work fairies were real (still going to keep wishing for them though), they're not and the only thing that is going to get that work done is you.

I am not some accomplished guru who will make your stress go away, but I do know that making some changes and doing a few things differently will definitely help you. After talking to some friends about how they cope with stress, I have summarised a list of things that I do and my friends do to help ourselves.

1) Don't lock yourself away

Now that might sound strange, aren't you meant to lock all the doors, bar the windows and become a hermit until you reach your deadline or finish your exams? For me, that never works, I end up feeling like I'm all alone in the world and that no one else could possibly be dealing with as much work as me. Talking to friends or family always helps me calm down, a friend of mine said that making a cup of tea with her housemates and sitting down for five minutes is a really nice way to step away from work. So, don't become a hermit, ring your friend, have a chat and you may find that when you return to your work, you feel a lot better.

2) Go out and about

My personal stress reliever is getting out of the house. I go completely stir crazy when I have an essay due or like now when I'm writing my dissertation and it gets to the point where I am achieving nothing. So, I get up and get dressed and I go for a walk, this could be something as totally simple as going to my nearest Tesco and buying a few goodies, it could be wandering into town and having a look around or if it is a nice day, going to sit in the park for a bit. Going for that walk always clears my mind and changing scenery for a little bit often gives me that little burst of inspiration that I need.

3) Treat Yourself

A friend of mine uses a reward scheme. Set yourself a goal time limit, say an hour and a half of studying equals a chocolate bar, a little bit more studying and you're rewarded with an episode of television. Don't punish yourself when you're revising, if you know that there's a treat at the end of your set time period, it will definitely motivate you to work more.

4) Be Organised

My friend recommends making a timetable or to do lists, this way you know what you need to do, it is organised in front of you and you know exactly where you're at with your revision. Don't just organise your notes either, organise your work space, keep it clean and airy, lots of light and a breeze always makes me feel better. If you listen to music when you work, put on a playlist, a good workspace will always make you work better than a cluttered one. 

5) Exercise

Exercise is a thing we all forget when we're stressed, how could I possibly think of going to the gym or going for a run when I have so much work to do! Remember, your body needs to be looked after to and what better way to take some time away from work that to go to the gym. My friends and I go to classes together, it is social and you're having a bit of fun without too much guilt. I'm a big believer in kickboxing as a stress reliever, imagine your hitting those horrible books you have waiting at home and you'll feel much better. On the flip side? Doing Yoga or Pilates is great for calming the mind as well as stretching out all that tension.

6) It's okay to cry

I am a crier. I cry at everything, yes I am that person that will cry at an advert and hey, I am not ashamed of it. Crying is cathartic and no matter how bad I feel, after a good cry, I always feel so much better. So grab the tissues, have a little weep, wash your face and step away from your work, grab a glass of wine (if you're of the legal age!) or watch an episode of your favourite TV show, then go back... sit down, take a deep breath and remind yourself that you can do it.

7) Eat well

I know how much cooking takes up time but don't fall into the trap of eating takeaways when you're revising, it is bad for your body and for your mind. Eat foods that will benefit your mind, drop the takeaway menu and grab some greens. That is not to say to abandon your treats completely, but everything in moderation. I love cooking, so I relish the opportunity to cook myself a good meal, it's a break from revision and I find it really therapeutic.

8) Look after You

That's right. I'm telling you, you are the important thing. I am so guilty of doing this, I stress myself out so much that I don't sleep properly and I end up feeling tired and ill and then I don't want to be near my work. I know the deadlines are looming and I know that you need to finish that essay, but if you don't get enough sleep or you don't take some time to make sure you are okay, it could end up hindering you, not helping you. So take that long hot bath or shower, pamper yourself, have good food, relax, get a good night's sleep and wake up early and get a good breakfast and start revising again.

These are some things I recommend or my friends recommend, everyone is different when they sit down to work. Just keep focused and remember that it will all be over soon and then the summer holidays will be upon you!

Like every good advice post, here's a quote to finish with;

“If you are insecure, guess what? The rest of the world is too. Do not overestimate the competition and underestimate yourself. You are better than you think.”- T. Harv Eker

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