Sunday, March 17, 2019

How I Try to Stay Positive & Handle Stress

Hello! I am going to try to be real with you all... freshman year of college is a lot of fun, but at the same time, it's so mentally draining. I've been in limbo at school of being super productive (thank you only one class on Thursday) and having some sort of ailment that causes me to not do any of my work until the last minute. With life being so hectic at school, I've been trying to handle stress in a way that is healthy, and will not hurt me in the long run.

Here are some ways that I've been working to remain positive & handle stress effectively!

Taking Some Time for Myself & Checking in with Yourself

I love people. I love talking to them, going out, studying with them; but, I also get super overwhelmed in situations. There are times when I will talk to everyone in a room, and times that I feel shy and uncomfortable. Both ways are so okay to be because they are just human feelings. When I have the feeling of being overwhelmed, I try to take a break from wherever I am and ask myself, "Why do I feel overwhelmed or uncomfortable?" Is it the people I am around? The setting? Do I have a lot of work I should be doing? Once I ask myself those questions, I decide what I want to do with the rest of the event (i.e do I want to leave or stay).

You're always surrounded by people in college. So it's important to do check-ins with yourself. I'll find myself in situations where everyone's going out, but I had a really hard week and just want to watch Netflix in my dorm room surrounded by blankets. It's really okay to take some time for yourself! I'll find myself at school-sponsored events talking to new people on a Friday night, and then going back to my room or getting dinner. Then there are times where I will do homework all of Saturday and then stay out until 3am. Listening to yourself and knowing what you want to do is so important. School and work weeks are rough, so there should be time for you to take a breather.

If I need some time for myself, I'll go off campus (and it does wonders). Last month, I went to Thayer Street (near Brown University) and worked on an essay about The Great Gatsby (which I got a 90 on!) and an unpublished blog post (which is slightly controversial so I need it to be perfect) while eating grilled cheese and drinking a coffee. I was eavesdropping into people's conversations (as one does), and just being in a space where if I wanted to talk to people I could, but at the same time I could mind my own business and do work.

Making a Check List of Things I Need to Do 

I like to make lists of everything I need to do, not just school work. I like to put fun things on my list so that I have other things to look forward too. If I have a list of accounting work to do or western civ, I'll balance it  by adding to do items like, "write a letter to____", "blog post," "buy tickets to the next hockey game," " plan the newest episode of your radio show," or "call mom." Crossing off things on my to-do list makes me feel a lot better even if it's trivial things like going to the gym or taking a shower.

Going to the Gym 

One of my resolutions was to go to the gym more often and I have been doing exactly that. Since being back at college, I've been trying to go the gym 3-5 times a week. Lately, I have been going for three days, but I am trying to aim for four for the next month. I'll do anything from full body work to cardio to yoga. Exercise is a really good stress reliever, and it has been my go to. I've been listening to podcasts, and just working on myself for an hour a day.

One of my favorite classes to do is on Thursdays at 4:30pm called "Throwback Thursday" and it's a Tabata class to all throwback music like Hannah Montana, Jonas Brothers, Cobra Starship, etc... It's forty-five minutes of sweating and working hard, but it's so worth it.

Pour my Stress and Feelings into Writing

Sometimes when I am stressed, I either shut completely down or do some easier work. The other day, I was very upset about a test I didn't do that great on; I sat in the business center and just wrote a narrative about everything that was going wrong in that moment. It was nice to just write all my feelings out for my own viewing. What will I do with the five paragraphs? Who knows, but it helped me feel better. It's almost equivalent to venting because you can write absolutely what you want, and then come back to it later. I also will write, edit, or read blog posts when I'm stressed to remind myself there are so many things I care about.

Watch YouTube and Netflix for a period of time

I love Youtube. I find myself on that website every day, and I don't have one set type of video I watch. I will watch anything from David Dobrik videos to language learning videos to college acceptance videos. I admit that it is wasting time at points, but it works to mindlessly watch something if you are stressed.


It's very easy to fall into a hole of being negative, especially during high-stress times, but it's important to think of uplifting thoughts or take moments to check in and give thanks for the good at the moment. Not everyone is religious, but taking a few minutes to pray or think about things you're grateful for. If I am very stressed about school, I tend to think about how lucky I am to be able to attend an institution to seek higher education. It's all about the mindset! Think about what you can do and not what you cannot.

Obviously, it's hard to maintain a positive outlook all the time; but, it's beneficial to try! I hope my tips are interesting to you.

What are some things you do when you're stressed?

Christina Madeleine


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