Put down that doughnut. I know it tastes good but it is not going to help with the piles of various readings and study guides that are quickly stacking up. Before you start letting the stress of a new semester get to you, remember that it is still early. Here are some tips to help you manage and even prevent stress during your time at FSU:
1. Keep a planner
There are few things more satisfying to me than a fresh, colorful planner. For some people that may not be the case; I am quite sure some of us find planners to be just another thing to keep up with. However, making it a habit to write out your responsibilities and homework each week will take some of the weight off of you to remember each item on your to-do list. Make it a daily habit, for ten minutes a day, to write down the homework and events you have to attend to that day, or even write out your whole week. Eventually, this will turn into a habit. It is fulfilling and relieving to be able to cross things off each day. Plus, you will feel less of a need to accomplish too many items in one day.
2. Find a balance
I know you have probably heard this phrase plenty of times in your life but before you stop reading, allow me to explain. Your balance is not going to be the typical 50/50 most people think of when deciding how to divide their time among their work, school, extracurriculars, and so on. If this was the definition of balance I can assure you that I, and many other people, would likely be failing. Balance is about your priorities, the things that benefit you the most to put the most time towards. For example, my priorities, in order, would be school, extracurriculars, social life, and then work. This is how I divide my time, the most going to school and then breaking it down from there. A life tip: You do not have to explain this to anyone, do what’s best for you.
3. Decide what helps you relax
Don’t pick up the doughnut again, that is not going to help you relax. I am referring to activities you do to release the feelings you’ve kept pent up all day. Some people choose to write in a journal or create works of art– don’t tell me you can’t draw, they make adult coloring books now. Other people choose more physical activities such as club sports, swimming, boxing, weightlifting, etc. If all else fails, there are those who swear by retail therapy. If it is in your budget, there is nothing wrong with rewarding yourself; maybe limit how often you do– for the sake of your wallet. There is no limit to the possibilities, find what works for you.
4. Participate in a physical activity
The best way to describe me would be the polar opposite of athletic. I never played a sport and P.E. was a nightmare. For those of you who are freshmen, or just may not be aware of this, FSU offers a gym for all students. There are no monthly fees, it is included as a perk when you pay your tuition at the beginning of each semester. I have officially taken away one of your best excuses, you’re welcome. This is where I got my start, I would go and just do some form of cardio for 30 minutes to an hour; eventually, I was comfortable with using some of the machines and weights. If you are not sure of what to do, there are classes offered every day ranging from yoga and pilates to cardio and kickboxing. Pick something and stick with it or continue to try something new. Exercise is great for managing stress and anxiety as well as getting out the aggression you might have about that embarrassing presentation in speech class today.
5. Know when you need a break
My motto is, “What doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger”. However, this is not one of those times. Stress can stir up anxiety, weaken your immune system, increase depression levels, among other side effects. It is important to listen to where you are physically and mentally and understand if you need to take a step back. This doesn’t mean stop doing your homework, call out of work, and take a self-care day. While that sounds all well and good, it would be better to consider taking time away from certain tasks and activities that may be asking too much of you. This could be cutting back hours at work or asking someone to step in for you at meetings for your extracurriculars.
6. Hang out with your friends
Sometimes the best thing to do is to take your mind off of the situation. Take a step back, order the greasiest, cheesiest pizza you can think of, call your best friends over, and eat cookie dough for dessert. In the end, it is always your friends who know you best; they will be there with a bottle of wine and the best advice to pick you back up onto your feet.
Some people can survive off of four hours of sleep– I am not one of those people, and I highly doubt you are either. Sleep is important for normal bodily functions, it is the way our brains can process the events and information from that day. Most importantly, it stops us from being cranky, havoc-wreaking individuals. Also, an all-nighter will most likely not help you pass that test, your brain needs sleep to actually process and remember the information you have taught it.
8. It’s okay to say no
Listen to me, we are not “yes-men”. Repeat that back to yourself. It is okay for us to tell someone no if we do not want to do something. We are not responsible for saying “yes” all the time; in fact, none of us would be truly happy if we did — except for the people we are saying “yes” to. This is how stress starts, we say, “yes, I don’t mind covering an extra shift” or, “yes, I can coordinate and present at the next meeting”. It is okay to say no.