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Combating Stress for Dummies

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Combating Stress for Dummies

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With the first six weeks over with and the second quickly drawing to a close, you’ve probably grown used to the stress that accompanies every school year. Although a little stress has been proven to be beneficial (1), pushing yourself to any sort of breaking point is never okay. Though it may seem logical to stay up until two a.m. trying to figure out that Algebra problem, you’ll usually find that taking care of yourself far outweighs testing your limits. Now, of course, self-care entails more than just being asleep at normal hours, and it may feel like “treat yourself” ideology is way out of your reach, but never fear! I’ve done the research part for you; all you have to do is read my three simple ways to help you stress out a little less, even when that may seem impossible.

Tip #1: Consider a workout regime

I know with the eight classes and any extracurriculars you’re juggling, squeezing a workout into your schedule may seem near impossible, but it comes with its many benefits. Not only does it release endorphins (2) (which a lot of us need), it can also help boost confidence levels. Along with trying to workout comes the excuse of “but where do I start?” Firstly, don’t dive in head first. Speaking from personal experience, biting off more than you can chew in respects to exercise just makes you want to do it less and less. Start off simple: a twenty-minute walk, light core exercises, things of that nature. If you can drag a friend to do it with you, that’s great! Sometimes knowing someone is going to suffer with you is all the motivation you need.

Tip #2: Plan, plan, plan

Listen, I don’t need any research to tell me that being unorganized almost always stresses you out more. I could not tell you how many times I’ve worried over whether I had a test tomorrow, or if that one paper was due, or if my classmate gave me the right date. Take matters into your own hands! Writing out your to-do list may not seem like the most enticing of tasks, but it will be worth it. Invest in a planner, or if you want to get more creative with it, look into making a bullet journal. If neither of those is your cup of tea, try finding an app to keep track of your work. Either way, find some way to keep tabs on your schedule. And hey I get it— if storing it in your brain is how you keep track, be my guest; but if you’re like me and more often than not find yourself forgetting about the homework that was due until five minutes before class starts, I’d consider giving planners a shot.

Tip #3: Avoid procrastination at all costs

Where do I even begin? I think I’ll begin with a story. And that story is this: a girl is sitting up at midnight writing her newspaper article. She has no good reason to. She had plenty of time this weekend. Don’t feel bad for her— she brought this upon herself. The end. Folks, procrastination is just about the worst habit you could develop ever. Take it from a seasoned putter offer, waiting until the last minute is never, ever, a fun time. Of course, watching that measly one minute video doesn’t seem like much harm, until you’ve watched twenty. Trust and believe, I get that practically anything seems better than trying to figure out chemical reactions, but you’ll thank yourself in the end. What are some ways to break this habit you may be asking? Try looking at the big picture (3): if I wait to learn the countries of Africa until the day of my quiz, I might fail; if I fail, I’ll get in trouble; if I get in trouble, it’ll be a horrible time for me. If that doesn’t scare you into doing your work, I don’t know what will, which leads us to our next point: fear. You may not realize it, but sometimes how overwhelming a task may seem can lead to your downfall. If you come home and say, “I’m going to do all of my homework,” what does that imply? Most days it means multiple assignments from varying classes. Trying to process all that can be a major turn off. So, this is where planning would also come in handy; try writing a list out. If you write down more modest tasks, like “take out my Chemistry homework”, even though it feels silly, you may be more inclined to finish.

Now to wrap things up, I do hope you try some of these strategies! It may be hard sometimes, and there will inevitably be nights where you have no choice but to stay up into the wee hours of the morning, but what’s important is that you don’t take that as a reason to give up. Life isn’t meant to be perfect, so don’t expect that from yourself. This is meant to be lighthearted, but on a more serious note, if you’re ever starting to feel too overwhelmed, talk to someone. You may find that you need more than just my amazing pointers to aid you. That being said, in writing this article I did have a sort of epiphany which is, “Wow, I too, could be doing all this myself. I don’t need to be the girl in that story anymore.” So I’ve decided to give it a whirl! I’ll be writing my day by day experience while I make sure to do these things and see for myself if they really help. Look out for that article towards the end of the next six weeks!

Sources and Further Reading

Katalina Velez, Staff Writer

Katalina Velez is a a sophomore who has been on the Paw Print for half of a year. She participates in Student to Student and competed in Headline for the...

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