It’s that time of the year again, when exams are starting soon, I’m busy job hunting and writing essays and trying to socialize, and for some reason, I am having a terrible time sleeping, waking up in the middle of the night, having vivid dreams, and unable to get a good night’s sleep. And by “that time of the year”, I mean the time when I realize the full extent of how stressed out I am.
Personally, I carry stress in my sleep. During the day, I handle it quite well, so well that sometimes I don’t even realized I am stressed…until I can’t sleep properly. People carry stress in different ways, sometimes I get headaches, other times my eyes feel tired. During my day to day activities, my body has gotten used to feeling stress and dealing with it in ways that I don’t notice. Which works for awhile. But if I don’t handle my stress properly, that’s when I start having terrible sleep and I realize it’s time to get a handle on my stress.
So here are my tips for ways to handle stress in a healthy way:
- Evaluate. Why are you stressed? What’s going on in your life that seems overwhelming? I like to list out or think about all the things that I have going on. Usually there’s that one straw that broke the camel’s back, but it’s important to recognize everything that is contributing to my stress to truly get a handle on it.
- Reschedule. As a university student, I live a pretty busy lifestyle, jumping from library to class to meetings, etc. If I don’t slow down every once in awhile, it can really hurt me. When I do start feeling overly stressed, I reschedule some things. I reprioritize what I have going on so I can take time for myself, take a load off.
- Me Time. Me time comes in all different shapes and sizes for me and for everyone else. Somedays, it means doing a face mask and thinking about nothing for those twenty minutes, just breathing. Other days it means going to my favorite cafe to drink tea and eat my favorite treat. Recently, I have started getting into yoga and using that as a relaxation technique. I also picked up a few new books recently, as reading allows me to escape this reality. Or I relax with some buttered popcorn and Netflix. However you do Me Time, make sure its really about relaxing and unwinding, recognizing that its necessary for you to live a healthy and productive lifestyle.
- Reevaluate. The final step, after relaxing and getting your head clear, is to reevaluate your priorities, lifestyle, etc. Now that you know what is stressing you out, how will you change? It could mean doings less in general, dropping some things here and there to allow breathing room into your schedule. It could mean better prioritizing your time and productivity. There is always a change that can be made, and should be made to get you back to living a healthy lifestyle.
Stress is a natural part of life, you will never have a stress-free life. But, it should be minimal and manageable. Don’t be afraid to talk to someone about your stress either – usually I call my parents and they help me with the reevaluating process. Stress can make life seem daunting, exhausting, sad, and all other sorts of things. But knowing that is the key to managing it. I am no professional, but I hope some of my tips can be helpful for some of you in managing your stress and getting back to being and doing your best!