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Managing stress: Some tips and techniques

Discussing ways to relax and destress
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Good luck with your midterms and assessments, U of T. COURTESY OF KAROLINE GRABOWSKA
Good luck with your midterms and assessments, U of T. COURTESY OF KAROLINE GRABOWSKA

With less than a month of classes remaining, I’ve noticed that midterms and assignment due dates have started to close in. It can be stressful trying to juggle everything at times, but I’ve discovered relaxation methods that help me manage my stress and allow me to find moments of relaxation within the hustle and bustle of life. If you’ve also been feeling overwhelmed lately, hopefully some of these tips can help you as well!

Get fresh air

When I’m feeling stressed, taking a break from my work and getting some fresh air often helps me feel a lot better. In fact, studies have supported this, suggesting that there is a relationship between spending time outside and decreased stress levels. Especially now that the weather has begun warming up, I’ve found that going on walks is a great way to unwind, and it gives me an opportunity to take my mind off of deadlines. 

While spending time outdoors, I try to remind myself to stay grounded in the present moment. After all, if I go for a walk but still only think about the essay I’m struggling to write the entire time, I usually don’t return to work feeling refreshed. It’s important, then, to put aside any future deadlines and past assessments, and instead just pay attention to the world around you. This is often easier said than done, but it can get easier with practice.

Make yourself a priority

It’s important to remember to put yourself and your health first. This can include a number of things: making sure you’re drinking enough water, setting aside time in the day to take breaks, and getting enough sleep. For example, instead of staying up all night to work on an assignment,  allow yourself to get the rest you need and come back to the task with a refreshed perspective the next day.

Create a schedule

Every evening, I like to set aside time to plan out the next day and look ahead to everything coming up in the week. This helps me organize all of my homework and tasks and lets me start each day with a focused plan. Plus, having a schedule allows me to concentrate on one thing at a time instead of feeling like I need to get everything done at once. 

If you make a schedule of your own, make sure that you set reasonable expectations for yourself — don’t fill every day with hours and hours of work. Take into account your class schedule and the difficulty of each task you need to complete, and make sure to include time to relax as well.

Good luck with your midterms and assessments, U of T — you got this!