Coping strategies are a key balance to academic overload

 

Aradhana Agarwal | The Bucknellian

El McCabe
Writer

Do you ever feel overwhelmed, exhausted and/or hopeless when thinking about the seemingly never-ending stack of things you need to do? If you answered yes to any of these, you are most likely stressed out by everything on your plate. Stress is inevitable at a place like the University, with such rigorous academics and countless time-consuming activities, clubs and organizations to join, but stressing constantly is extremely unhealthy. Constant stress is proven to shorten life spans and lessen the enjoyment you get out of participating in even your favorite activities. The reason is because if you over-schedule yourself or leave everything to the last minute, you will not be able to enjoy the fun aspects of college and dread all the work that needs to be completed. Fortunately for you, there are some simple solutions that can dramatically reduce your stress levels and help you manage college life effectively.

One of the most successful stress managing tactics I have found is creating a plan for each day. Every day, I look over my schedule of things that I have to do (classes, school work, my job), and then figure out exactly when I am going to eat, take a nap, go to the gym or go to my various club meetings. The key to this strategy is being flexible since plans change and you never know when a friend might stop by asking for advice or to just hang out. However, if you follow your schedule for getting your work done, these unexpected circumstances will not allow you to put everything off to the last minute.

Also, in order to motivate myself to get my work done quickly and efficiently, I provide myself with rewards after completing assignments or studying. Having motivation to finish your work earlier than the night before does wonders for your sleep cycle and stress levels. Try this strategy next time you have three papers due on a Friday: allow yourself a cookie or two in the caf after writing a page. Setting small goals for yourself makes all the work you have seem much more manageable and promotes a sense of accomplishment.

Finally, taking ample study breaks is crucial in relieving stress. Staring at a computer screen and typing paper after paper can be emotionally exhausting, but breaking up homework and relaxing after completing an assignment will allow for a clear head later on. Working out is one of the best study breaks you can take because the endorphins wake up your brain, and exercise is proven to relieve stress. Even taking a walk around campus or taking a power nap works as a stress reliever. Stopping in the middle of your work may seem counter-productive, but it actually saves you time and stress in the grand scheme of things. As long as you do not pile too many extra-curricular activities on your plate, those activities can also count as study breaks that you can look forward to on a day to day basis.

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