4 Secrets to Overcoming Stress
I don’t want to be the one to remind you, but we’re getting pretty close to the end of semester now where things are almost due to be handed in. For me, I have just over a week until my first assignment is due in and things are getting busy! There’s a lot of things still to do and sometimes keeping on top of things and continuing to work can be exhausting, especially if you’re working and have other commitments too. I can totally relate to this, and last week was both mentally and physically exhausting for me, so I know what it’s like. Sometimes things just get too much and all you want to do is curl up in a ball and escape all responsibility, and that’s fine, but there are other times when you just need to pull it together and get it done. No matter what the situation is, I hope that these tips will help you through the sleepless nights and stressful days and onwards to success!
Take a break!
First things first, you are allowed to take a break. I am the worst person at letting myself take a break because I just get so stressed out about how much there is to do and I worry that if I take a break then I will just be even more behind on those things. Often when I do let myself take a break, I’m not even relaxing because I’m stressing about how much work I could be doing. Despite all that, sometimes it is better and often more productive to take a break, revitalise yourself and come back to it with a fresh view on things. Whether you just take five minutes to watch a video, half an hour to take a nap, an afternoon to spend with your partner, or a weekend to see your family, just let yourself take it easy and forget about what you ‘should’ be doing. Don’t worry about what needs to be done, you will get it done eventually. If you really do have a lot to get done, 5 minutes can be enough to look away from the screen, get a drink or a snack and come back to it afterwards!
Evaluate what needs to be done
Sometimes the reason we get so overwhelmed and exhausted is because we just aren’t on top of everything that we need to get done and can’t separate them all in our brains. Our minds get so full of tasks and errands and jobs to do that we can’t think straight and it all becomes a bit much. Taking stock of what needs to be done and evaluating priorities can ease some of the stress and help you to make a plan going forwards. If you know me at all or have read some of my earlier posts, you’ll know that I’m obsessed with to-do-lists and my diary, and I probably couldn’t function without them because they keep everything so on track for me. I understand that sometimes looking at a list of to-do items can actually make things worse when you see how long the list is, but at least it’s out of your head, and you can visually and logically make your way through them. Try and write down everything that you need to get done and then you can go through and prioritise them and schedule them for particular days so that you know you can get things done on time. This will create a manageable plan for you to go forward. Instead of flailing around in a pool of tasks and not really get anywhere, you will now have actionable steps to get to where you need to be!
Remember why you’re doing this
Through all of the tasks, planning, busy days and stressful moments, the most important thing is to remember the reason that you are doing all of this. If you aren’t passionate about something, then you’re going to find it really difficult to make it through the tough times because you’re not striving towards anything. On the flip side, if you are passionate and you do have something to aim towards, that will always be the light at the end of the tunnel for you; the silver lining on the stormy cloud. For me at the moment, I only have about 14 weeks of my degree left to go, so remembering how much I love design, and that at the end of these four years, there will be a degree and a whole world of possibilities waiting for me, is what’s getting me through all the stressful stuff that tries to drag me down. And on the days that I don’t really feel like writing a blog post or editing a video, I think of you guys and how much I want to help other students who are going through the same things as me, and it helps me to pull myself together and get it done! Whatever it might be for you, hold on to that. You might have goals, dreams or any reason that you’re doing what you’re doing, and keeping those close to you will be the thing that gets you through!
It’s important to remember that the creative process isn’t a linear one. There are ups and downs along the way, sometimes things go to plan and sometimes they really don’t, and often you might even go backwards a little bit. These things are all totally normal so it’s okay to experience them, but the thing to note is that whatever stage you’re at, it won’t last forever. If you’re feeling overwhelmed and exhausted, it won’t always be like that. You’ll work harder than ever before for a few days, and then you’ll be on track or even ahead. If you’re feeling stuck with nowhere to go, you’ll escape that place eventually, whether that’s through persevering, or taking a step back and coming back to it later. While things might be hard right now, I can promise you that if you don’t give up, which you shouldn’t, it will work itself out in the end. Like I said earlier, last week I was exhausted and at times I wanted to quit because I didn’t think that I could do it, but by taking a break and coming back with a fresh view on things, after all that, I’ve made it through this week feeling on top of things and better than ever!
However you’re feeling right now, I hope that this is helpful if you’re currently feeling stressed or tired, or maybe gives you some tips for if it comes to you in the future. I can honestly tell you that three and a half years of study has definitely had it’s ups and downs, but when I get to the end of each semester and look back at what I created and how I grew from those experiences, I realise that it was all worth it and that I would do it all over again.
Let me know if you have any other tips for this too, and feel free to get in touch if you are feeling overwhelmed and exhausted because we can get through this together! You can do this!
Much love, Hollie! :D