Monday, April 7, 2014

College Survival Guide: Stress

By now in life we have all come in contact with something that seems inevitable: Stress.

Whether it is from an upcoming deadline for school or work, or it could be about the car payment coming up that you are afraid you will be short on. Whatever it is, stress seems to be an inescapable part of our lives. However, there are ways to combat it and I'm going to show you how!

1. Figure out the stressors in your life. Once you have identified what stresses you out you can use this knowledge to prepare yourself for future stress. Identifying the core issue of your stress is the first step to making a plan to solve it.

2. How do you currently deal with stress? Figure out the ways you currently handle your stress. Unhealthy ways of dealing with stress include: smoking, drinking to much, overeating or undereating, oversleeping, procrastinating, etc. If you use one of these ways to cope, STOP. These are unhealthy and not at all productive. I understand that it will take a while to completely get rid of these habits but it is important to start now.

3. Find a healthier way to manage stress. Your methods of dealing with stress should benefit your health, both emotional and physical. It could be exercising, meditating, reading, etc. Anyting that brings you peace without hurting your body. When deciding which option to choose, it’s helpful to think of the four As: avoid, alter, adapt, or accept.(Listed below)

4. What are you afraid of? Fear of failure, rejection, pain or the unknown? Remember: death or serious physical harm are about the only outcomes that you clearly cannot recover from. Otherwise, all obstacles, with proper planning, can be overcome (and they won’t kill you).

5. Find a support system. Even if it is just one person who you know gives good advice and can calm you down, take advantage. Support systems are there for you, you just have to access them.

6. Avoid unnecessary stress. I personally have trouble with this a lot. I often forget that it is ok to say “no”. You have to know your own limitations and remember not to push them too far, like avoiding situations or topics that get you worked up. Other ways to do this: avoid people who stress you out, because you just don’t need that negativity and blagh in your life and always have a to-do list because this will help keep your crazy life manageable.

7. Alter the situation. Don’t bottle up your feelings, make them known and express them in a productive way, but remember to be willing to compromise. If you need to then be more assertive, don’t put yourself in the back seat of your own life. And, as I’ve talked about before, manage your time.

8. Adapt to the stressor. Make a plan. Detail the steps and map them out on a calendar. Figure out how you are going to deal with this challenge and stick to it, find someone to hold you accountable to keep you on track. With proper planning you can conquer anything.

9. Accept the things you can’t change. Don’t try and move a mountain because sometimes you just can’t and that is ok. One of the hardest things to remember in life is that we can’t do everything so don’t stress yourself out about something you can’t do, just remember to accept it. Always remember to remain positive and optimistic, look for the bright side in what you can’t change. Finally, learn to forgive and move on from the things you can’t change. Let it go.

10. Make time for fun and relaxation. Always, always, ALWAYS make time for yourself. Because if you are all work and no play you will burn yourself out and this can lead to you getting sick or more stress. So just don’t forget to include yourself and reeeellllaaaxxx.