So it’s now that time of year where we all start to panic about the work we are about to submit, the grades we’re waiting to get back and so much more. Not to mention you might be applying for summer jobs or your first job as a graduate. Needless to say it’s a stressful time. But fear not! There are some things that you can do to help manage the stress.
Mindfulness is a really powerful tool which can really help to relax you. Mindfulness is all about being present in the moment and accepting what’s happening in that moment. You can do this in so many ways, one method is called 5-4-3-2-1. For this you take yourself away from the situation and try to name 5 things you can see, 4 things you can hear, 3 things you can feel or touch, 2 things you can smell, and finally one thing you can taste. This allows you to reflect in the moment and spend a few minutes thinking about your surroundings. There are also loads of free apps and YouTube videos you can listen too to help you re-centre your thoughts. A few apps that have great reviews are “Headspace”, “Calm” and “Insight Timer”.
As student you may not be new to food prepping and making a large batch of food and making it last a week. When I was pushed for time I would cook a massive chilli and portion it up for the week ahead and I then knew that all my meals were sorted. It also means that you know you’re going to be eating good and healthy food which is another bonus! Some recipes you could try out a chilli, lasagne, bolognese, butternut squash and chickpea tagine (www.bbcgoodfood.com is my go to website).
Don’t overdo it
Did you know that the brain needs breaks too? If you’re anything like me, then taking regular short breaks can work wonders when you’re trying to revise for an exam or are writing that massive dissertation. I used to set either word or time limits. If I was revising for an exam I would have a break every hour on the hour to make a cuppa or have some water, making sure that I left my room/place I was working for a little change of scenery; or for my dissertation or any big written assignments I would set targets of no more than 500 words, that way I was more likely to reach it and I would feel good for achieving my goal, which takes me nicely onto my next point…
I found it so hard to stick to a plan at first as I couldn’t imagine reaching my milestones. I found that the best thing for me was to set daily targets or writing between 300 and 500 words on particular sections. I would try and do different sections on different days too, so that I could see the structure of my essays come to life. Tailor this to what you need to do, if you know that you have 6 hours of uni and a shift at work on the same day, then would you be better off giving your brain a rest and plan work for the next day? I used to plan week by week what I would be doing and I made sure I got up by 9am and was in bed by 11pm, I factored in all my breaks, dinner and lunch, I even factored in time for me to wind down, watch a film, or just take a break from it all. It was colour coded too, which is always a bonus in my book!
Exercise? Music? Whatever floats your boat!
I found that exercise can work wonders when you’re trying to get loads of things done. You can also do it for free too (or at least really cheap). You could go for a walk to get some lunch, go for a run, or follow an exercise tutorial on YouTube. If you wanted to do something more social, you could go play rounders’ or football with some friends at a nearby park! Listen to your favourite music, or go out to an open mic night to give yourself a break. There’s nothing wrong with rewarding yourself got getting work done, whether that be some drinks with your friends, or some good old Ben and Jerry’s, you should make sure that you get the chance to relax and wind down.
So no matter what you’re facing deadline wise, the alumni of Derby uni have all faced it to. You can do this!