Hey guys! Today’s post is all about managing stress and heavy workloads – something I’m very familiar with considering I’m in my second year of university studying law. The workload is intense. The stress is intense.
This post is more geared around people studying in school or university, but if you’re in an actual job in the grown-up world and you manage to take something from this post too, then that’s awesome!
Before I get into the body of my post, I just wanted to quickly mention my latest YouTube video. One of the main ways to manage stress is through relaxation, and since music is a huge part of my life, listening to soothing music really helps me to unwind. That being said, I recently covered an absolutely beautiful song called ‘Midnight in London’ (below) which is perfect to listen to while reading this post (hint hint). My channel is only a couple of months old and it would mean a lot if you could watch the video – it really is a beautiful song 🙂
Shameless self-promotion aside, here are my 10 tips for helping to manage your stress levels and workload.
- Try and start all of your work in advance. Like before anyone else has even started thinking about starting theirs. This is pretty essential when you have a constant influx of work. Literally, as hard as I work and as much work as I do, I will never run out of university work to complete until June 2016 when it’s FINALLY summer break (and maybe temporarily over Christmas break too). With the amount of tasks that I have to complete it’s vital that I stay on top of it; being well ahead of the game also means that I can afford to take a break from doing any work for 2, even 3 days at a time if I’m too burnt out from doing it all. That kind of a break obviously not an option though if I’m not ahead of all my work as it won’t be completed in time, and sometimes everyone just needs an entire weekend off right?
- Even when you are in the midst of doing work, make sure to take enough breaks. If you’re the type of person that can study for 5 straight hours with no break…then I envy you, but most people probably can’t! You need to make sure that you take 10 minutes out every now and again, or you can actually negatively impact your study performance by not allowing your brain to stop and recuperate for a few minutes.
- Make sure to spend enough time each day relaxing and doing the things that you like. For me on the average day that involves spending time with my pets, singing, gaming, writing, watching TV and making YouTube videos. Whatever your hobbies are and whatever you like to do to relax, you need to make sure that you do enough of it. All work and no play not only makes Jack a dull boy (horror movies woo!), but is also detrimental to your ability to learn and absorb new information. Take a relaxing bath, spend time with family, watch my YouTube videos…ha :p but seriously, allocate at the very least an hour a day to doing things that you enjoy.
- Make sure you get enough sleep. This is probably something you’ve heard before, but it is super important. If you don’t get enough sleep, not only will your brain be sluggish and unable to process things as fast usual, but also you will just feel sucky. Overall you will feel more positive about yourself and about life in general and more able to cope with stressful situations if you get enough sleep. I personally can survive (ish) on 8 hours but I ideally need 9 or 10 hours…I like to sleep. Lots. Anything under 8 hours and I find myself so tired that I have to take naps in the middle of the day. My body genuinely doesn’t function well without sleep. So that means getting a bed routine and going to bed earlier than you perhaps normally would – even if you don’t get really tired like me when you don’t get enough sleep. Trust me, your brain would still benefit from getting at least 8 hours each night.
- Study with friends! Having a heavy workload is a soul-crushing experience, but it can be pretty fun when you share your pain with friends. Not only will the gossip breaks (and the guy equivalent of that if you’re male) help you to rest your brain every once in a while, but working as a pair or group can really help you to understand your work better and you may learn new things from each other. I definitely recommend getting together with a friend and doing work if you don’t understand something – it really does help.
- Only listen to lyrical music if you know you can concentrate when it’s playing. If you keep getting distracted by the song then don’t listen to it…simple (or listen to music without any lyrics like instrumentals)! If you find that you can’t concentrate with lyrical music playing then not only will your work take twice as long to complete, but it may be pretty frustrating for you to keep losing focus and the quality of the work may suffer. Still though, you should definitely listen to my video, that’s not distracting at all. And even if you do find it distracting…listen to it anyway. Plz? :3
- Start preparing your revision material from your first lesson/lecture/whatever. If you make notes, draw diagrams or spider diagrams, or use cue cards start doing that from day one. If you do, it means that when it’s actually time to revise you can get started straight away – and you start learning the syllabus early by making your revision materials.
- Try no to be lazy. I know I said sometimes I take 2 or 3 days off…but that’s only if I know that I can afford to. If you can’t afford to then struggle through it – don’t just give up! You’ll find yourself so much more stressed 2 days later when you have even more work to do. If you’re ill that’s obviously a different story…but be honest, all you’ll do is lay in bed all day and you can at least get some of your reading in! Even make notes maybe!! Unless you’re dying obviously. If you’re dying then you’re entitled to a couple of days off. No more than 3 though. After 3 days you better be at LEAST doing your reading.
- Don’t completely forgo your social life because of your workload. Studying with friends like I said is a good (and productive) way of maintaining your social life, but don’t forget to occasionally go shopping or have a sleepover or go clubbing with your friends; whatever you like to do. It’s important for your ability to manage stress and your overall wellbeing that you don’t isolate yourself from your friends because your education is killing you. It’s very tempting to lock yourself away and never face the light of day like some kind of work-crazy hobbit, but it’s not really the healthiest thing for you to do. Try to set aside time each week or even every 2 weeks to catch up with friends.
- And finally – don’t be too hard on yourself. It’s healthy to push yourself a bit, and even to feel a bit of stress – it’s how we get things done. But if you don’t understand something or feel like you haven’t done a good enough job on a piece of work, don’t be too hard on yourself and just remember that you did the best that you could. It’s not easy for anyone and even if no one else can, I can feel your pain. Even writing this post is going to cost me an hour of make-up studying because of how much hard work law is to study…so if it feels like too much for you just remember that I’m in the same position as you and I’m down for curling up into a ball and crying together about it anytime.
Hope you enjoyed this post guys and that it helped even just a little, and I hope you have great weeks!
Until next time guys,