5 Best Ways I Manage Stress
It’s no secret that college is stressful. As a junior studying Professional and Technical Communications at USFSM, I’ve been there. Between studying for exams, writing papers, punching the clock, paying the bills and having a social life, I’ve seen stressful days. On top of that, I’m told to make the most of college – that it should be one of the best seasons of my life.
To do that I decided to stop letting stress get the best of me, and I hope you will too. If you’re in the same boat – take heart – it gets better. Here’s how I managed to manage my stress.
- Manage my TIME
I realized about three weeks into my first semester that wasted time only leads to panicked all-nighters that lead to tired, unproductive days. I had to break the cycle of procrastination.
So, I started by sitting down on a Sunday night and writing out a rough schedule for the week. I included assignments, commitments, errands and even the ways I spent my off-time. It seemed legalistic, but those thirty minutes set me up for a productive and surprisingly light week. By spreading everything out, I was lessening the stress.
I also had to be honest with myself…I was overloading myself in certain areas and needed to scale back. There was a club I didn’t have the time or energy for, and I was working too many hours a week. I also realized that I could quickly waste those new found hours with absolutely anything, so I started limiting my time on Netflix. Managing my time lifted incredible amounts of stress.
- Stick to an exercise routine
Sarasota is full of great gyms that offer classes like Pilates, yoga, cycling and kickboxing. They all sounded tempting, but I knew the most effective workout routine would be the one I would stick to. I found that kickboxing was the perfect workout. Not only did it get my heart racing and allow me to work off a ton of calories, it also allowed me to burn off aggression, worry and anxiety.
I look back on the year and know that those exhausting 9-round sessions were what got me through with as much grace as I did.
If punching a bag isn’t for you, check out the new fitness center that’s perfect for a quick workout after class. It’s free, equipped with free weights, treadmills and multi-station equipment. Check out their hours here!
- Organize my room/living space
They say a clean room reflects a clean mind, and I 100% agree. Coming home after a long day to a clutter-free-candle-scented room is instantly comforting. In fact, the opposite has always been true for me too. Coming home to a room with trash, clothes, books, papers and shoes everywhere caused instant anxiety. I couldn’t think clearly.
So I’d take thirty minutes and clean it up. Everyday from there I made it a rule to never leave before tidying up. The thing is a messy space didn’t always bother me when I was relaxing – but when something stressful happened, it would instantly make the matter worse. So instead of feeding my stress, I made my room the one place to escape from it.
- Connect with people
Having an honest conversation with someone helps clear my head and get perspective about my situation. Letting everything swarm around in my head for hours only amplifies the stress, but venting lets me get it out and deal with it.
Hearing about someone else’s life also helps me know I’m not alone; other people are going through the same things I am. If you really need a listening ear, USFSM has a free counseling resource that you can take advantage of. To learn more about it, check it out here.
- Do something I love
I’ve realized that making time for myself is nothing to apologize for. I used to feel guilty going out with friends or even reading a book. I felt that as a student I should be wholly focused on my education and that I was a slacker otherwise. But that’s not true – burning out and dropping out is a serious problem in a lot of universities. I stayed on top of my responsibilities, but I also started visiting places around Sarasota – Marie Selby Garden, Marina Jack, Lido Key, and I’d sit and read with John Mayer in my ear. I did what made me smile and forget my to-do list for a minute, knowing full well it would be there when I got back.
If you’re anything like me, you’re already counting down the days to graduation – but if you’re anything like me, you’re also determined to make the most of each one of those days. So hit the books, attend class, dot your i’s and cross your t’s and don’t forget to manage your time, exercise, organize your space, connect with friends and do something you absolutely love.
Best of luck to you!
To get more ideas for activities and hobbies, check out what’s happening on campus. There’s always something fun to try out!
Victoria Yoder is a junior at USFSM studying Professional and Technical Communication. She is a Sarasota transplant from a farming town in Central Illinois.