You may have noticed that this blog has been a bit more quiet than usual lately, the reason why is very simple. I’ve been busy as hell.
I’m finally down to the point where I average three jobs per week (I technically have five, but one has just gone into dormancy and another is just one night every now and then). In addition to that, I still study full time and have that little debating thing going on too. Stress has become a way of life for me and most of the time, it works really well. After next week, I should be back to a regular schedule without too much craziness going on. It’s going to be great.
Stress is something I know a lot of my readers struggle with for various reasons. It seems like it’s almost a part of being human these days. Naturally, this means that it’s worth having a discussion about how to manage it.
- Sleep in
I’m a horrible night owl, always have been. This means that sleep gets compromised on weeks where I have to be up at 6am more often than not. I try to find one day a week where I can sleep in. Sometimes that means waking up at 8, sometimes it means staying and bed watching youtube videos until noon. It simply removes the pressure of waking up stressed and instead gives you a more relaxed start to the day.
- Hang out with friends
My jobs are all related to university and/or debating, meaning that the people I associate with uni and debating are people I kinda associate with work. Naturally I still enjoy hanging out with them, but it’s easy for the conversation to turn to work or study related matters. So, when I need to put a lid on stress, I try to hang out with other people. Tomorrow, I’m meeting some people for lunch and most likely playing Cards Against Humanity. This means I can let go of everything for a few hours and man do I look forward to it.
- Keep on top of things
The kind of stress I deal with is dependent upon keeping all the balls in the air without dropping or faltering. For this kind of stress, it’s crucial to keep on top of everything. I’ve begun colour coding my calendar, which is something I associated with people who need to get a life to be honest. Now, it really helps. It is simply a lot easier to handle everything if you are proactive and do a bit of work every day.
- Take the time to help others.
When you have some time to spare, do something for someone else. It doesn’t have to be a massive gesture or anything, sometimes it gets done in five minutes. Earlier this week I read and offered feedback on something a friend had written, I did it over breakfast and it took me 10 minutes. Hopefully that helped remove some stress for her. It doesn’t cost much, makes others more likely to help you when you need it, and as we all know, helping people feels good.
- Forget perfection.
Most people have a tendency to only share positive things about their lives online. This is especially true if you follow some type of gurus on instagram, no matter if they’re about fitness, food, or beauty. Remember that no one is perfect and you have exactly zero obligation to be perfect. You certainly don’t have to be happy 24/7, which is another weird norm that’s exploding at the moment. Don’t have time to cook super healthy meals every night? It’s ok. Allow yourself to be bad at some things or to put some things at the bottom of the priority list. My bedroom is a mess most of the time, but that’s because I decided to prioritise something else above cleaning it. Usually work or sleep. Not everything needs to be top priority or done to perfection.
- Don’t listen to bad advice.
People love to offer you direct advice that you haven’t asked for. Typically these are people whose lives are very different from yours. It also tends to be people who are either unsuccessful and don’t care, or people who are really good at the very few things they do. It’s really easy for people who don’t need to do well to say that you shouldn’t care so much. It’s really easy for people who don’t have 352 things scheduled in the next month to say Hakuna Matata. If you think advice you’re getting simply isn’t helpful, don’t listen to it.
- Allow yourself little luxuries
I go out for breakfast several times per week. This means I can get work done during that time and that I end up actually eating. Yes, it’s costly, but it’s less costly than me losing my patience with clients because I’m hungry. It is also the only chance I have to grab an actual meal on really busy days. Some nights I allow myself to take some time off and watch a show on Netflix instead of writing. I allow myself as many coffees as I want. I allow myself more chocolate than I probably should. However, these are all things I’ve realised that I need to be able to maintain an insane schedule. You need to be nice to yourself sometimes.
- Know your value.
No, this isn’t just about negotiating your pay rate. Not everyone is able to do that, but that doesn’t mean you should forget your value. I was able to negotiate better terms with one of my jobs because I insisted that I needed better conditions to be able to do the job well. I’ve stopped letting people walk all over me when it comes to social interactions. When you don’t have a lot of time to give, it is better to give that time to people who deserve it. If people around you make you feel worthless, it might be time to cut them out of your life. You are worth more than letting yourself get burnt out because other people demand too much of you. This is not just about saying no, it’s also about saying “yes, if…”. No matter if it’s work, studies, or social stuff, know your value and forget the people who don’t.
- Stay healthy
I’m hardly a poster child for healthiness, however I do try to minimise the harms. You don’t have to be some sort of fitspiration nut, refuse to eat carbs, or swear off alcohol altogether. Just try to keep an eye on your health and do things to treat your mind and body with respect. If you have a free afternoon, go for a swim or a walk. One of the best things you can do for your body is to go for a 30 min walk everyday. Walk to the store and catch the bus home when you’ve bought groceries. Walk to the bus. Those are all things you can do that are relatively easy to work into even a busy schedule. Drink plenty of water and grab a salad for lunch every now and then. Little things sometimes go a long way.