How I study stress free [from one master's student to another]




During my time studying my undergraduate degree, I like to think I dealt with stress quite well. But since studying my master's degree, my stress levels have reached an all-time high. The past few months have been really hard, and it started to affect my health - both mentally and physically. It wasn't until a few months ago that I figured out a way to get all my work done, balance a job and still have a social life. I figured why not put it into a blog post!

If something you have control over is stressing you out - change it
Since September, I had been trying to juggle a part-time job alongside studying and having a social life. During my undergraduate degree, I didn't have a part-time job, so balancing the two for this academic year was a new challenge for me. I had chosen a job that was much more stressful than I had imaged. I loved the job, and the kids I coached were fab, but I felt it wasn't the right job for me right now. I worked out my finances and tried to figure out if this decision was the best one financially. Luckily, I figured out I would be okay. I handed in my resignation with the relief knowing that I would be able to leave to focus on studying. I know for a lot of people it's not possible to leave their job, but moving to a less stressful one, or one with better pay and fewer hours could be beneficial too.

Google Calendar should be your best friend
I was introduced to Google Calendar by my boyfriend. He had been using it for a while and swore by it. Originally I didn't get the hype, but I soon joined the bandwagon. I am now able to plan out every aspect of every day leading up to deadlines and exams. I can have my work, social life and finances all planned out in the same place. A few months ago, when I felt overwhelmed with work, I tried finding a way to use the calendar to plan out my essays. What I do now is plan what uni work I am going to do every day (and of course I have some days off too to keep me sane). Here's an example below...



I can plan what essay I'm working on or what exam I'm revising for each day - and how many words or how much time. I also use the notes section to plan what I'm doing specifically. Whether this be just writing 800 words or if there's something I need to research. In the last month, I had 8000 words to write and a 2.5-hour exam to prepare for, so I had to plan each part out piece by piece, day by day - which made it a lot more manageable. This leads me to my next point...

Deal with it in small chunks and take it one step at a time
It was about 2 months ago when I sat in my room on a Monday morning, looked at all the work I had to do and freaked out. I felt so overwhelmed that I just cried for about an hour and felt like I wasn't going to be able to get it all done. So, I took the rest of the day to watch Netflix, chill and tried to relax. Realistically, I wasn't going to get anything productive done because my mind was running all over the place. So, the next day I woke up and started to work on planning out my work on my Google Calendar - as I mentioned before.

Have a lazy day
I feel like we're in an age where we feel like we have to be constantly busy. For some people that's possible, but for the rest of us, it's not. We're all allowed to have a sloth day. To do absolutely nothing and not feel guilty. It's good for your body and your mind. I usually have Sunday as my day where I relax, watch Netflix and maybe go for a walk to clear my mind - ready for Monday morning.

Mindfulness
This is something I'm trying to work on. Mindful.org describes mindfulness as 'the basic human ability to be fully present, aware of where we are and what we're doing, and not overly reactive or overwhelmed by what's going on around us.' It's definitely something that takes practice. I used to get too overwhelmed by life too often now it's much less. I find a way of dealing with it is to tell a friend, boyfriend etc. how you're feeling. They often provide clarity as an outsider into your situation.

Cut out caffeine
I know that most students run on caffeine. But, for me, it brings out my anxiety and gives me the shakes if I add it to my body when I'm already feeling stressed. I tend to let myself have 1 cup of caffeine a day - either a coffee or a cup of tea. The rest of the time I have squash or decaf - and I can't taste the difference! I know this is something that isn't for everyone but it works for me.


Still take time to do things you enjoy
This is on the same lines as previous points, but it's good to make sure you're still doing the activities that make you feel good. Whether this is going to the gym, making YouTube videos or reading a book. I like to work on my blog or go for date night - to the cinema or out for dinner. It's just doing something that makes you feel you.


If you're really struggling, then Mind is a great place for help and advice. You can find them here. Sometimes it can get too much, and seeking help will really be beneficial for you. I can say, from experience, that counselling or talking to your doctor before things get too much can work wonders. Also, bear in mind that nothing on this list may work for you - but I'm sure there are 10 other things that will so don't worry.

What tips do you have for managing studying? Let me know in the comments below!
Bye for now,
Lauren x
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