Thursday, December 22, 2016

College Journey: The Winter Stretch and Stress Reduction Part 2

In February of last school year I posted "part one" which was intended to be standalone, but I think it's a very important post to revisit. I may even do one every year at this time because the winter stretch is really a hard to time to be at school. There's not much to do outside, it's cold everywhere, and classes seem to bog you down with no hope since only spring break awaits you at the end of this long term and hard work. Stress levels are, unsurprisingly, at a high, and people who need to sun to thrive may even start to feel depressed. 

Last year I mentioned Music, Coloring, Reading and Writing, Friends, TV, and Taking a Break as some great stress relievers. I still believe all those things- particularly coloring. Even better than regular coloring is watercoloring which relaxes me more than colored pencils or markers. Art in general is a great way to destress.

Exercise is also something that I would recommend. I don't do it as much as I want to but when I do do it regularly and for long stretches (I like to run on the treadmill and elliptical) it both prevents too much stress from building up and relieves the stress that's already there. Sometimes I watch Netflix while I'm running, sometimes I listen to an audiobook. Whatever strikes my fancy. For whatever reason I can't run and listen to music, my mind just wanders too much.

Walking for pleasure is another thing that's great and something I've only just discovered. Some of my good friends do this regularly whenever they're feeling stressed or have a problem they want to deal with so I gave it a try. Unlike regular exercise which clear's my mind, walking forces me to confront the "problem" or stressor and think of ways around it. I've made great plans and had revelations that have panned out while walking. When you're in the middle of writing an essay or studying for a test a good walk is a great way to break things up and stop you from getting so weary as you're writing it.

Scheduling your day in advance is a great way to make time for the things that matter and stop stressors from getting in the way. I have a document on my desktop called "Dream Schedule" which is what my days would look like if everything goes according to plan, with time built in so that there's wiggle room for everything. Ideally each day has 7-8 hours of sleep built in, a skin care routine, three meals (and maybe a snack), exercise, and no more than four and a half hours a day dedicated to homework. I also don't schedule doing any work on Fridays and as minimal as I can for Mondays because who wants to be working those days? I also like to write down where I want to work on my homework because

You shouldn't work in the same place all the time and even if you only have a few options to choose from your main one shouldn't be your bedroom. I like to work in the library and I'm pretty productive in there, as long as I move around from place to place within the library. Sometimes it's just a matter of choosing a desk right next to one I used before, while other times I need to get up and move to a whole new floor of the building. I have four or five that I really like and that's enough for me. But working in the library isn't always feasible and sometimes I have chores I want to do while working, so I schedule times to work in my dorm as well, but never for as long as I work in the library because I want stress out of my bedroom as much as I can get.

Treat yourself every once in a while. I don't mean blow a bunch of money. In fact, the best way to treat yourself is to get food that reminds you of home and that doesn't have to cost much at all. When you've worked hard, but before you're too stressed out, treat yourself with a favorite meal and enjoy it in all it's glory- don't try to work while you eat it!

Those are some new pieces of advice I've picked up since last time. I recommend giving part one a read through, too. If you have any advice of your own I'd love to know!


  1. Yes, walking is great. I'll usually listen to music, an audiobook, or a podcast while I'm at it.

    1. It's so underrated by a lot of people I think


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