Reading Length: 6 minutes
Ever since high school, my default feeling has been stress. My weekly routine would consist of me trying to juggle school, part-time jobs, internship work, and then try to make time for friends and family. In the end, I had zero time and energy left for myself. I would just crash and burn. It took some time to finally reset and manage those feelings of stress. So this post is for you guys out there who could relate to this.
1.Limit your priorities.
One of the problems I faced was trying to take on everything at once. I have so many passions and interests to the point I convinced myself within 24 hours, I could do it all. What’s sleep anyway?
But I’ve learned the hard way that it’s better to just focus on a few priorities rather than all at once. My current priorities include: my family, self care, blogging, YouTube, and Spanish. For some people, this amount may be too much. But that’s the load I personally can handle right now. Everyone is different.
Having a visual reminder is extremely helpful as well. I have a vision board to remind myself of my priorities and what really matters. Everything else outside of those priorities are not worth the majority of my time and energy. Whenever I face temptation to add more to my plate, I’ll remind myself “Does it fit in my priorities?” If not, it’s a goodbye to that opportunity.
2. Set a cut off time.
I was constantly guilty of overworking myself until practically midnight. Just like most students, I would stay up until around 2am or so doing my cramming. Plus double shot caffeine. This ruined my sanity and sleep quality. That explained my intense eye bags. No wonder classmates asked if I was okay.
What helped me was setting an exact time where I would shut down all my work. I wouldn’t even allow my brain to think about any work anymore. I have a end of day ritual which consists of checking emails, messages, journaling, planning the next day and then that’s it. No more work. That way, I would have a peace of mind for the rest of the night. And there’s something so magical about getting enough of a high quality sleep. It’s like putting on glasses for the first time and seeing the world clearly.
3. Make a plan.
If you’re like me who has countless of interests and passions, you can establish a plan as to when you would like to take on that new interest or habit. Instead of doing it all at once right now, plan it for the future one by one. For example, I sat down to write out all my goals and a timeline as to when I would like to start that goal. For some of the activities, I have an exact date. While others, I just have a rough idea or have no idea yet. The key is to only add a new habits one or a few at a time! Here’s an example:
- Start learning the piano (May 17th).
- Start waking up at 5AM again (June).
- Start new skincare routine (June).
- Join dance group (September).
4. Smile or laugh.
Yes, I know this tip sounds unusual from the rest. But it seriously works! There were so many times during midterms and finals week, I would practically feel that stress in my soul. But even just 30 minutes of content like watching a cute animal videos, a comedy show or some memes boosted my mood and helped me de-stress. That’s the purpose of memes, right? To be our cool therapist.
Consider fitting just a small amount of time to just watch something or do something that makes you smile or laugh. Of course, I wouldn’t recommend wasting hours on this. My classmates had this problem of memes > studying. Kind of obvious what they would choose. So maybe set a time limit for yourself like how I allow myself 30 minutes of funny or cute content.
5. Disconnect from distractions.
One of the greatest sources of my feelings of stress was due to social media and my phone addiction in general. I was bombarded with the constant flow of content about perfect people’s lives, negative news and just junk in general to the point I had no time and energy left for the things that really mattered to me in life.
So instead of allowing myself to spontaneously use social media and phone in the day, I reserve maybe just 30 minutes of this in a day. Yes, I’ll let myself be sad for 30 minutes. Any time outside of those 30 minutes, I’ll hide my phone. I’ve also gone 1 year without social media which gave me much more perspective and helped deal with stress. I made a post on that too.
6. Slow down.
I’m constantly guilty of jumping from assignment to assignment and work to work without just stopping to breathe. There was always more work to do. It was endless. Even when I was trying to relax, I was still always doing something like playing an instrument, listening to a podcast, or watching a movie. Yes, there are relaxing activities for me but I realized there was never a time in my life when I just stopped and did nothing.
I finally found my own method of slowing down by just sometimes sitting at the park and doing nothing. Just being present and observing everything around me in nature. There’s seriously something so calming about being in nature since we’re always surrounded by city buildings. This quote pretty much sums it up:
“We are human beings not human doings. Let’s start acting like it and take the time simply to be.” – Richard Branson
We’re always so busy doing, doing, doing. When do we stop to slow down and take care of ourselves? Of our family? In a society that is obsessed with success and productivity, we forget to just stop and relax. So I challenge you guys to try to slow down. Try going one day without doing work. Sit down in nature at the park. Or sit down in silence in front of a window. Just let your thoughts wander. It’s going to feel weird at first. But who knows, maybe you’ll end up appreciating this moment of presence and silence.
- 1. Limit your priorities. Focus on a few priorities rather than all at once. Whenever faced with temptation to add something, ask yourself “Does this fit in my priorities?” Have a visual reminder like a vision board.
- 2. Set a cut off time. Have a end of day ritual and exact time of when to shut down all work. Don’t even think about work once that time hits.
- 3. Make a plan. Establish a plan as to when you would like to take on a new habit or interest. Only add one or a few habits at a time.
- 4. Smile or laugh. Fit in some time to watch content in your day that can make you smile or laugh such as cute animal videos, comedy show, memes etc…
- 5. Disconnect from distractions. Stop excessive consumption of social media, news or just junk material. If needed, limit the amount you consume junk content and time block it in your day.
- 6. Slow down. Try going one day without doing work first. Try sitting in nature or in front of a window without doing anything and just observing.
Well, those are some tips for managing stress which have helped me personally. Life ain’t easy and man, it has proven to us that. Let me know if any of these tips become helpful for you too or if you have anymore you would like to share.
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