I’ve been in university for two months now and already things have stressed me out. I’m not surprised, I do have anxiety. I’ve had two different, predominate types of stress. One type of stress I like to call “shock related stress”. I got this mostly in my first month of university and it’s stress brought on by being in new situations and being a bit lost in what’s going on. For example, eating in meal hall for the first time and not knowing where or who to sit with. The other kind of stress is brought on by having a ton of stuff to do and I like to refer to that as “overworking stress”. I’ve been having some problems with overworking stress because I have a lot of papers to write as well as all my actual work as a writer.
Over the last two months, both these forms of stress have been big factors in my life. I already have anxiety which doesn’t help when I find myself in situations that generally result in stress. When I get overly stressed I start not being able to work well, if at all. I freeze up and just end up staring at the blank document that I should be writing my paper in. I realized after a week in university I needed a way to handle my stress in a healthy way so I could function well as a university student.
I live in residence, meaning I spend all of my time at school. When I’m at school I feel the need to work on my school work, and when I don’t fulfill that need I get stressed out. But if I’m also always working on my school work I stress myself out as well. I need to take time away from my school work so I don’t burn out. So I physically get away, I leave campus and take a day or just a few hours to relax.
The other day I spent almost the entire time at the local off-campus library. I did work for part of it but mostly I just did whatever I wanted and relaxed. I spent a couple hours looking at cute stickers online to decorate my laptop with. I didn’t worry about wasting my time because I had scheduled the time to do nothing. After that I was able to tackle the work I had to do better, I was happier, and I felt less stressed.
Scheduling Free Time
When I schedule blocks of time to do nothing I don’t have to feel guilty for doing nothing. I can truly relax and decompress from all the stressors that university brings. This relaxation time can be with other people or by yourself. I like to have a healthy mix of both because I’m an ambivert meaning I have both introverted and extroverted tendencies. One of my favorite things to do by myself is to grab a coffee and either read a book or do some free writing.
It’s even important to schedule what you will be doing in your free time. Do something that re-energizes you for the week ahead like reading or going on a hike rather than watching tv. You can even go to a local art gallery or museum for an afternoon of freedom from responsibility. Or you can hang out with a group of friends and play board games.
Getting Off Campus
One of the most important things to me is getting off campus. I spend all my time on campus stressed about my responsibilities, so when I schedule relaxing time I make sure to get away. My favorite places are of course cafes and the library. But I also frequent parks, farmers markets, and the occasional gallery.
Getting off campus has the same effect as scheduling your downtime. It allows you to get out of the soup of responsibility you’re swimming in and actually have time to recuperate. All you have to do is take a couple hours out of a Saturday and go someplace you like to spend your time not worrying about academics or your interpersonal relationships with other students.
Relaxing is different for everyone and usually, it has something to do with your passions. For example relaxing for me has a strong literary connection. I usually have a book when I’m relaxing. All you have to do is take the time to do what makes you relax and recuperate for the week ahead.
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