Stress coping 101

stress imageFinals are here! Meaning stress levels are at an all time high. I think learning how to deal and reduce stress is one of the most important things to learn, and useful not only during these weeks leading up to exams, but also in the future workplace. Confession: I am terrible at dealing with stress. When stressed with workload, I have the tendency to mentally list everything I have to do, and the time frame that I have to do it in, which as expected, stresses me out even further.  This is one area I’ve been trying to improve on for the longest time, and want to share some methods I’ve tried or come across, which will hopefully help some of you guys who are in the same boat as me 🙂

1. plan actions, not results:  I used to give myself deadlines to finish a certain chapter by a certain time, but realized that I am just creating more stress. Instead, just plan to study (actions), and not worry about how much to get done (results).

2. eat healthy: many of us have a terrible exam diet consisting of samosas and pizza, because hey, they’re convenient, cheap, and make our taste buds happy.  But getting your vitamins, proteins, and brain-boosting fats (Omega 3, I’m talking about you) is super important, especially in a time of mental exertion!

3. take time to relax, even if you’re short on time: No one learns well when stressed; it results in loss of focus and decrease memory retention, so take some time off, and you will see a boost in productivity after your break.

4. Physical activity: this is probably the oldest recommendation in the book, but it works by causing your brain to release endorphins!

5. talk to someone:  friends, family, or even yourself; acknowledging your stressors out loud often helps you deal with them. McGill mental health services also provides amazing support (although the waiting time is quite long, expect 2 weeks before an appointment)and take full advantage of the adorable therapy dogs that visit campus!

Good luck on finals, and stay sane!

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