Did I stress you out by writing that?
Did your heart palpitate a little bit?
Did your palms get sweaty?
If you said yes to any one of those questions, relax. Enjoy this article for a minute or two, and eradicate some of that anxiety!
I’m one of those people who feels unproductive if I’m not under some kind of stress. In fact, I thrive under pressure—I write my best essays right before the library closes because I don’t want to break my concentration to go back to my dorm. I get that adrenaline rush before an exam knowing that this one test can guarantee me an A in the course. I love that “now or never” feeling before performing on a stage.
I like to think of myself as an Energizer Bunny—I just keep going! And going. And going. Needless to say, sometimes what keeps me going is the amount of stress I’m under. It gets really overwhelming, but after years of pressuring myself to be that “perfect Honors student,” I’ve figured out some ways to tame my love-hate relationship with stress, maybe they can help you too!
What I Do When I’m Stressed:
1) Make a schedule for myself. I set goals for how long I’d like to work on a task—working to meet a small deadline/goal helps me accomplish more in the too-few 24 hours I have each day.
2) Stop thinking about how stressed out I am. I used to spend HOURS mulling over how stressed out I was, not realizing that every hour I wasted thinking about stress not only stressed me out more, but also ate away at my productive time!
3) Go for a 15-minute jog. Sometimes when I’m in a lull from being overwhelmed, I go for a quick run. Instead of napping—an easy defense mechanism against stress—I run around my campus for a few minutes and get a new rush of energy to tackle the rest of my day.
4) Put it in perspective. If I can’t get everything done in a single day, I try not to sweat it. No one is expecting my gigantic to-do list to be entirely crossed off at the end of the night.
5) Prioritize. This is probably the most overused word when it comes to eliminating stress, but it’s a good one to help combat that overwhelmingly large to-do list. I reorganize my tasks into due dates. I do what is due sooner first, then do things other people are counting on me for (like part of a group project), and then do some textbook reading or a chunk of studying.
While my aforementioned list may seem like it eats the time you could be using to complete other tasks, I think it’s worth it to step back, plan, and digest your goals before tackling them head on.I also try to reward myself—if I study for two hours, I watch an episode of Degrassi and then get back to work!
Do you thrive under pressure? What do you do to relax when things feel overwhelming?
Dawn Angelicca Barcelona is a sophomore NSCS member at Rutgers University. She is majoring in English/Creative Writing and Human Resource Management. Among many things, she is a poet, dancer, Latin nerd, green tea lover, and productive insomniac. She was a former Rutgers Admissions Student Blogger and currently works at Xanga.com. Follow her on Twitter at @DawnAngelicca.