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February 14, 2013

Relaxation + Reducing Stress

Okay, here comes some honesty. These last few weeks and weeks to come are insanely stressful right now. It’s gotten bad – and I’ve started to let it take a toll on my relationships. I’ve been a bit short with my girlfriend, which isn’t fair as we’re dealing with the long-distance thing already. But between ballroom, Gala, Freudian February with UPC (Undergrad Psych Committee) and CUFS (Clark Film Society), Psi Chi events, my directed study of 5 20 page papers, PLA’ing for an Introductory course, and my other two classes of 200 pages of reading a week, it adds up! 

So, going with Jessa’s amazing blog post this week about relaxation, I wanted to talk about how I relax (or rather, keep slightly sane) when the work has no end.

  1. That last sentence was a lie! It will eventually end!
    No matter how bad it looks, the work will eventually end. I catch myself spending more time complaining about the amount of work that I have then actually getting it done. That leads to point two.
  2. Get the work done! Schedule!
    Stop complaining and just get to work. It’s the worst part, but it’s true. Don’t know how to start writing? Just write words! But my problem is that with 5 papers, where do I start even if I start? Schedule out. What is due first? Start that project first.
  3. Breaks. SO MANY BREAKS.
    This is where relaxation can be. Make sure to budget breaks.

    1. Videogames (in moderation *okay, just 3 games, and then back to work*)
    2. Eating (3 meals a day plus 4th-IM-SO-STRESSED-NUMNUMNUM meal)
    3. Calling friends, skyping, etc. (Talking to someone else not about work!)
    4. TV / Netflix
    5. Clubs (Both the student-defined club and club scenes with the dubstep, if you’re into it).
    6. Showering (The amount of clear thoughts you get from a shower…)
      The point is to get your mind off your work. If I’m playing NHL ’12 but thinking about how goal directedness is not currently included in the model of continuous predicate building within dynamic stability, I’m definitely not relaxing, I’m definitely not actually playing my game, and I’m definitely not winning. (Okay, so, I’m still winning, but that’s just because no one can touch my Bruins.) But I’m not giving myself the break I deserve!For me, that means ballroom isn’t a break. It would be if I was just doing it for the hour a week we offer for classes, but for being captain, making sure every step is correct with technique and routines and management and coaches and lessons…. I’m not freeing my mind, and I’m not relaxing.
  4. Breaks give you something to work towards.
    Breaks are meant to both give your mind a way to relax, and a way to motivate yourself past the work. Either I can complain about my work (See #1) or I can get that damn introductory paragraph done so I can play my games.

  5. SLEEP.
    Now, for this, I’m going to go against the college-norm and say that this doesn’t include naps. But getting the correct  amount of sleep at night is critical. If not, you wake up late, you miss class, you fall behind, you freak out, you stay up late, etc. It’s a terrible cycle. Let your body get the correct amount of sleep.
  6. Communicate.
    If you’re stressed, talk to someone. Not in a “OH MY GOD LOOK AT ME HOW STRESSED AM I IM SO MUCH MORE THAN YOU” way (no one enjoys that person), but talk to people who might be able to help you through it. Your parents are great to lean on. Your friends can help the load. Maybe they can help you realize you’re taking on too much. Releasing the stress is good. Releasing the stress in a controlled, safe place is better.

I suppose that’s it! I relax by reducing stress, and I reduce my stress by separating out my work life from my personal life as much as I can.

How do you reduce stress? How do you relax?

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