By Serena Shores
Stress is a part of life, sadly, but the key to not letting it get to you is knowing how to manage your own unique stress, and how to get rid of it easily. Stress can come from anywhere; think hard. When was the last time you felt stressed? Rushing to get to work, pay your loans or your tuition, or maybe just trying to figure out whether to eat or get some work done. Everywhere, right? There’s no need to fear, because as easily as you start to feel stressed, it’s just as easy to get rid of it, and you’ll be feeling good as new once your mind is clear. So, here I offer you just a few little rules that may help you organize your mind at a later date.
Step 1. Make a list. It sounds silly, but in most cases, a person who can see their thoughts and goals for the day –or week- in front of them feels less worried about what they haven’t done yet. So make a list! Start with the easy stuff first; your list doesn’t have to be in order. It’s just a to-do list. And as you get things done, you’ll start knocking that list down to size and you’ll realize you didn’t have that much to worry about in the first place! Once your list is complete, you might even find that some of those tasks you had weren’t even important. There’s no use stressing over things that don’t matter.
Step 2. Plan ahead. Once you have a list made, or you’re 100% confident that you’ve got everything you need to do in line, start planning for your tasks, events, games, whatever is on your agenda. Need a dog sitter? Look in advance. Need dinner as soon as you get home? Have something micro-wave friendly waiting for you in the fridge. Best friend needs a ride from work? Do a few errands on the way there, and on the way back so that you accomplish more things within that one task. Have to leave for work and do one other thing? Leave early, so you aren’t ground to a halt by an unexpected surprise. No one likes an unpleasant surprise, but if you plan ahead, even by a few hours, you’ll find yourself getting more done, and getting it done quickly and efficiently.
Step 3. Learn your limits. Everyone has something they enjoy doing non-stop, everyday, 24 hours, 365 days: playing on your computer, video games, partying, solving puzzles, knitting, even collecting stuff like stamps or dead bugs. But unfortunately, most people with that favorite hobby let it get in the way of life. They prefer to do their fun thing over homework, or figuring out bills, or laundry, or grocery shopping, or getting to work on time. Then when they finally do come back to the real world, they realize they’ve fallen so utterly far behind everyone else, they freak out!
So, figure out your favorite thing, and start to work into your daily schedule bit, by little bit. Not too much, and not too little to where you feel deprived. It’s good to enjoy yourself for a little while, but not to the point where you forget the world (and your bills) exist. If you do your favorite hobby excessively and have trouble getting away from it, try and remove yourself from the environment of distraction; busy yourself with eventful things, so you aren’t tempted to lose focus again. And at the end of the day, you won’t have nearly as many things to worry and stress about, and you can reward yourself with some wind down time doing what you want.
Step 4. Realize what is most important, and tackle it like a 350 lb. line backer on a pro football team. You have all this little stuff, but it’s very helpful to know what is most important, and what is least important. Consider this; would you rather finish your laundry, or finish that 3 page essay due tomorrow morning? Both are important, but you can always finish your laundry later that day, or later that week. Your essay is a one-shot deal unless your professor is a very lenient person.
Consider this; would you rather go visit your best friend, or run to the store to get your allergy medication? Your best friend won’t stop your sneezing, sniffling, red eyes, puffy nose, and migraine’s, will they? It may sound like a lot of work, but comparing two things to each other makes it a lot easier to see which you should put first on your list of things to get done.
So, don’t stress out too much! Try these suggestions, experiment with them, and see what works for you. I wish you a stress-free rest of the day.