The fairy lights above my head twinkle and my pumpkin pecan waffle candle fills the room with a sense of autumnal calm. At 11:48pm I am finally able to start preparing for the day and week ahead. This week is mid semester exam week, and I know that I am not the only one feeling as though I am rushing from place to place and frantically writing out sticky notes with to-do lists and important due dates.
With papers, exams, projects, and extracurricular meetings filling the week, it’s easy to get overwhelmed. There are some days where it feels as though everything is going wrong, and that it may not actually be possible to get everything done. A year ago, stress would be filling my mind and body as I desperately tried to manage all that was thrown my way. My mind would never cease to plan, think, and worry until the week was over and I finally got my chance to rest.
This year I am trying to do things differently. Stress takes a significant toll on my overall well-being, and chronic stress almost always results in a physical illness of some sort (a cold, migraine, etc.). Though my schedule has been much more involved and hurried than last year, I make a conscious effort to not stress until it is (and if it is) absolutely necessary. I listen to my body’s needs, as well as those of my mind, and take those into consideration.
There are definitely times this week when I have felt on the verge of letting open the floodgates of stress, but I’ve taken the time to focus on what is important and on nourishing my body and mind. As I have mentioned before, switching to a vegan diet means that I have to be much more cognizant about how often I eat. I think it was easier to skip meals last year, but now my rumbling stomach reminds me to take time to eat and refuel.
I have also made an effort to connect with those around me, especially during this time of stress. It’s easy to stay in your own world of assignments and schedules, but reaching out to others can provide a much needed stress release and great memories. You could make someone’s stressful day that much better by connecting and sharing a laugh. 🙂
I am also trying to use my time as efficiently as possible. There have been quite a few nights this year where I have gone to bed at what are considered morning hours, and the next day I am struggling to focus and get through what needs to be done. While that may happen this week, I try to use every hour of time intentionally so as to avoid exhaustion. By working intentionally towards my goals and requirements, I allow myself the time I need to relax and unwind, and go to bed at a reasonable hour.
In times of stress I have also developed the habit of counting my blessings, and thinking through all that I am grateful for. A hot shower. A comfortable bed. Everyone who supports me. Access to healthy meals. There are so many things that I am grateful for in every day, and focusing on these daily blessings rewires my brain into positive thinking and joy. 🙂 I am also still keeping my habit of nightly journaling, so that I can reflect on and remember this great time in my life. Now that the weather is getting colder, I have started the habit of drinking a cup of hot Yogi Detox tea while journaling. It’s the perfect way to unwind and relax, and has prevented me from getting the sickness that is traveling around campus this semester!
No matter where you are in your life right now, I hope that you are doing well! Let me know ways you deal with stress in the comments below, I’m always looking for new suggestions!
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