Stress-beating tips from someone who isn’t qualified to give tips about stress-beating
DISCLAIMER: This is me reminding you that I don’t have a degree in medicine and/or psychology (yet)- just lots of advice that has worked for people I know.
(I’ll try to leave out the obvious ones. I mean, everyone knows you should eat right and sleep enough.)
So… It’s officially that time of the year again. You know the one. The one where the sun sets at 4 pm and the only thing looking darker than the sky is your future. Yup, it’s finals season. Joy. Well, I don’t know about you guys, but being a procrastinator and/or a perfectionist especially sucks this time of the year. From a certified perfectionist, here are a few tips about \ beating the stress. I know they work because I haven’t used most of them and I’m always stressed, so:
1. SLEEP WHENEVER YOU WANT.
Seriously. As long as you’re getting 6+ hours, it doesn’t matter if you go to bed at 4 am or 11 pm. As long as you’re not missing anything important (and most important things end before reading period), you can sleep into the day. Setting hard deadlines on a night will only stress you out- besides, no one else gets to tell you when you should be most productive. TIME IS A SOCIAL CONSTRUCT.
2. DO YOUR CAFFEINE SMART, NOT HARD.
5-hour energy pills are a strong no. I gave a bottle I found at Andrews once to a friend. I don’t usually push drugs onto my friends, but this one hadn’t started a final project that was due within the next 5 hours. I mean, to be fair, they did successfully keep him up… but only because he spent 60% of those 5 hours hunched over a toilet bowl in agony. Note to self: concentrated caffeine on an empty stomach can have undesirable effects. But I digress…
So, if you do need caffeine at all, it would be advisable to switch to green tea. But since this is just slightly idealistic, try to have a glass of water with every cup of coffee instead. This should also help keep you from getting too jittery. Bonus points if you like your coffee cold! That reduces nausea.
3. FOR BEATING PANIC ATTACKS
Make sure you have someone to call and talk to at any given time. If you don’t, you can always call CAPS, or contact a mentor from Project LETS (see our previous article.) Hell, even Facebook DM me if you need to – my name is right up there in the by-line.
If you are alone, however, a pretty good way to curb panic attacks is to lie on a flat surface on your stomach. This forces you to breathe more evenly and hence calms you down. Also, funnily enough, chewing gum can prevent panic attacks, as well as reduce feelings of nausea.
4. FOR PREVENTING ANXIETY PANGS
First off, if you have a friend in your class, study with them. Misery loves company, after all. If not, try and find some new company.
Also consider investing in a lamp, since many people find the dorm lights anxiety-inducing. I can’t imagine why. Fluorescent-white is so soothing.
Drinking something cold also helps some people, as well as hugging a hot-water bag. Whenever I’m stressed, for example, there’s nothing that soothes me more than BJ- or Belly Jelly, as I like to call my hot water bag. It’s worth noting that walks in the cold Providence air are a pretty good alternative if you’re the type who gets hot spells.
5. FOR IBS
Jam on toast is a pretty safe bet if you can’t keep anything in. Avoid caffeine and dairy products as far as possible. Drink cold water – or iced-tea, if you need to caffeinate at all. If you know you get IBS during exams, try going to Health Services and see if they would advise you to take pills. Y’know, the type that… *ahem*, stopper you right up.
6. TO-DO LISTS/TIMETABLES:
Okay, I know this particular horse is very dead – but as dead horses go, this one is particularly useful to beat. Deadlines that sneak up on you are the least fun type. Not that there are any fun deadlines, of course.
I always use timetables, and I’ve never missed a deadline in my life. (Except the deadline for getting a life. I keep pushing that one up on my calendar.) For those of you that think you would benefit from a a high-tech to-do list, check out this website which has changed my life completely.