How to de-stress

It's that time of year again, when it seems like summer was a million years ago and you are currently drowning in school work. UCAS application forms, coursework drafts, EPQ research and revision are all looming above us, acting as a constant reminder that we ALWAYS have something we need to be doing.

Now I'm not going to lie, I'm usually a very relaxed and chilled out person, but once I get stressed there is absolutely no going back. I'll burst into tears at any given moment, find it difficult to go to sleep at night and have constant stress headaches which make my eyes feel heavy and sore.

When asking people what kind of blog posts people would like to see, I got a fabulous suggestion asking me to write about 'How to destress'.

Obviously, I'm no expert on this subject - I'm a 17 year old girl and not trained in this field whatsoever - but over the years I have definitely learnt a few ways to cope when I'm feeling like my head is going to explode because of how many things I need to do.

So, lets get into it ... shall we?

1) Organisation
I personally think this is the most important one. If you keep yourself organised then there is definitely a noticeably smaller chance of you getting stressed. To do this, I have a planner where I write down all the things I need to do, and when they need to be done for. I know that a lot of people reading this tend to just take pictures of the homework that they need to do, and I used to do that too - but how many times have you forgotten to look at your phone and realised last minute that you have a piece of work due? I honestly think that is one of the worst feelings ever. (I've realised that that makes me sound like such a huge nerd, and obviously it's not the end of the world if you haven't done a piece of work, but that panicky feeling you get when you haven't done something that you really needed to is just horrendous ... in my opinion anyway).

Writing lists of what you need to do on that specific day is also a very good way of staying organised (my mum taught me this trick :D). I always find that once you've written down all your tasks, then it doesn't seem half as much as you thought you needed to do when they were circling round inside your head. Ticking off the chores after you've done them is so satisfying, and also so rewarding when you've reached the end of the list and you know that you can spend the rest of the evening just relaxing and doing whatever you want to do.

Keeping your folders organised is also oddly satisfying. Being highly stressed anyway, and then trying to find a piece of work in your giant mess of a folder is certainly not a good combination - and one that, for me, usually results in tears. Making sure that all the work you've done that day is slotted into the right section of your folder will make it easier to locate and make it so much easier when you come to revise that topic for your exams. (the dreaded 'e' word). I'd love to say that I consolidate my notes every week and produce beautiful revision notes - but I'm going to be completely honest and tell you that just doesn't happen. However, when you have any free time (which is a rarity, lets be honest) that would be useful to do as it lifts a huge weight off your shoulders, and makes you feel like you've been very efficient.

Again, something else I learnt from my mum, is the expression 'tidy room, tidy mind'. Whenever I'm working in a space that is clear with everything is in the right place, I always feel a lot more organised. I tend to do my work at either the kitchen table or at a desk, mainly because I know that if I sit on my bed or in my room doing it I feel way more tempted to go on my phone or browse the internet. Keeping my room spotless is something that I am trying to work on, because it's so annoying when I come upstairs after having done a couple of hours of work to find that I now have to tidy my room in order to be able to relax later on. Once everything is tidy, I feel that I am more in control and on top of things.

2) Make time to do what you want to do
When you're submerged in an endless plethora of work, it can seem like there will never be any time for you to go out with your friends, or even watch a TV show that you've been wanting to watch for a long time. Something that particularly heightens my stress levels is when I get bored of just sitting inside and doing work, and begin to long for the life that I had before A levels began (I guess some would call me dramatic). Taking breaks in between doing work is completely necessary, and is actually proven to improve your concentration for when you go back to doing the work. When I was revising for my GCSE exams, I used to make revision timetables where I would be revising all day every day - which looking back on it now, really wasn't healthy. If there's something that you really want to do on a particular day, they schedule your work around it - as, at the end of the day, you'll probably regret it if you don't do it.

On weekdays, I always leave at least an hour and a half to do things I want to do other than work. Usually this entails making a green tea and watching either a few episodes of The Vampire Diaries or browsing YouTube for Benedict Cumberbatch videos (I'm not even sorry). Can we please just have a moment of silence for this one. Also, I have recently starting going back to the gym again, which I found one of the best ways to combat stress. Usually I blast my music (in my headphones so no one knows that I'm actually listening to JLS) and channel all my stress into the work out. Also, side note, I'm definitely not a fitness expert and have about as much muscle as a twig but that lets just ignore that part.

3) Breathe
I feel like this one is really weird, but does anyone get so wound up that they actually forget to breathe? (Please say that it isn't just me, otherwise that would be extremely awkward).  For other weirdo's like myself, I found an fabulous app which always helps when I'm feeling extra stressed and wound up called 'Calm'. When you first download it, it'll ask you what your three main goals are - so for example, I put 'reduce stress', 'improve focus' and 'better sleep' and you can then either click the option to go on the free '7 days of calm' program or some unguided/guided meditation. The woman's voice is so calming, and after I listen to it I definitely feel a lot more relaxed - it's amazing what just some guided breathing can do. It also reminds me of when we used to do yoga at primary school, and after we'd done the five minutes of relaxation at the end people used to fall asleep - which is something that still makes me laugh, almost 7 years later, when I think about it. (I really need to get a life, don't I?)

Well, that's all for now, but I hope you enjoyed this post and that it helps in any way that it possibly can. If anyone would like to offer any suggestions for what they'd like to see a post on, then I would love to hear from you!

Thanks for reading.
Grace x


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