No doubt, life can be really stressful most of the times. Thus, it is of utmost impotence to be able to handle stress properly and positively. This is especially so for us who are in a Junior College. Within our two years of education here, we have to learn ways to manage both our CCA and academic studies. We also have to ensure that at the end of the day, we will be able to enter a course in our desired university and the list goes on… Well, stress is everywhere.
In order to manage stress, we will have to first learn to recognize stress. Stress manifests itself in mental, social, and physical aspects of one’s life. The common symptoms are exhaustion, sudden and significant loss or gain of appetite, headaches, crying, sleeplessness, and oversleeping. If you identify yourself with many of the symptoms above, perhaps you should consider visiting a counseling center (or visiting our very own AJ counselor, Mr. Lionel Chan!) But before you do, you may also want to try out “the 6 Rules” below.
Stress Management refers to the ability to maintain control when situations, people, and events make excessive demands. Having identified the importance of stress management earlier on, the question will then be how exactly can we manage stress?
The 6 Rules
1) Get enough sleep (at least 6 hours)
– Sleep is a mechanism by which your body recuperates and restores its energy reserves. If you’re not getting enough sleep, your body needs to use stress to keep you active and alert in the absence of stored energy.
– Always try to finish your work promptly (you can do them during your breaks!) to ensure that you can rest early and your stress level can be kept at the minimum.
2) Exercise regularly
– When you exercise, your body releases endorphins, which can lower stress levels. Endorphins trigger a powerful feeling in your body not dissimilar to the effects of morphine.
– You can choose to walk for 20-30 minutes each day if that’s all that you can afford.
3) Having a good diet
– Our bodies need to take in the right food to be properly fuelled to help us tackle stress.
– Drink more water. An under-hydrated body creates stress to motivate the owner of the body to properly care for him/herself.
– Always remember to eat your breakfast and consume food that is high in vitamin A, such as oranges, as it curbs your level of stress hormones!
4) Learn how to best relax yourself
– Meditation and breathing exercises have been proven to be very effective in controlling stress. Practice clearing your mind of disturbing thoughts and instilling positive ones instead. (For instance, try saying “I can always do better for the next test” instead of “I will never pass my test.”)
5) Be organized
– Set goals for what you need to achieve that day. Always leave some breathing room in the middle of the day that will give you time to recharge.
– When you plan always remember to:
a. Be realistic and know your limits (failing to achieve your goals may cause you to castigate yourself and this will exacerbate the situation.)
b. Prioritize and start with your most urgent assignment.
c. Emphasize quality in your work, rather than sheer quantity.
d. It is cathartic to review your goals at the end of the day and think about everything you have achieved.
6) Avoid extreme reactions
– Sometimes, we tend to be over-exaggerating and view things in the worst possible light. While the problem we face may be unpleasant, there is no need to complicate it and further stress ourselves. No matter what happens, it is not the end of the world and we can always take appropriate steps to deal with it.
Just deal with it
Not only can stress affect the quality and progress of your work, it also has negative effects on your health, feelings and behaviour. While it is not easy to deal with stress, always avoid escapism as it serves you no benefits. Instead, you should always be valiant and acknowledge that you are feeling stressful then find ways to deal with it. Aside from the “the 6 rules” that I have shared earlier on, you are also encouraged to approach and seek opinions from your trusted friends and family members. Be honest with your emotions and just deal with it.