In the midst of our jam-packed daily schedules filled with working, volunteering, and studying, we often forget to take a step back and breathe. In today’s world, it is easy to get caught up in our daily hassles that stress us. But taking so much stress is harmful for the body and has many negative consequences. So as APs and Finals season is now in our sight, I thought I would share some ways I deal with stress and negative emotions.

1. Make a plan, not a to-do list

The difference between a plan and a To-Do list is that a To-Do list just shows everything that you need to do (and may stress you out even more), whereas a plan also includes how to approach or tackle everything that you need to do. Make lists, categorize, and write out what you need to do in order to eliminate that stress and set realistic goals. For example, if I need to bring up my Biology grade, I write what my current grade is, set a realistic grade goal and then try to figure out why I am not getting the grade I want.

Once I figure that out, I make a plan how to fix my grade- it can be going in for extra help more, studying for the tests earlier, or doing homework on time. Set a schedule for yourself and set realistic time goals as well: take into account all of your extracurricular activities, jobs and other classes when making the schedule. I would also recommend that you actually write out your plan so you can visualize and remember it more. I would suggest using a physical agenda/planner or the sticky notes app on your laptop.

2. Write

Sometimes it is helpful to just write out your feelings when you are feeling stressed. It judgment-free outlet that could help you relax. Just grab a pen or paper or open up a word doc on your computer and just free write. You can always throw away the paper or delete the note later but this method helps release the negative and stressful energy that may be building up inside.

3. Talk to someone

Talking to someone helps because they might be able to offer some perspective and advice to help deal with your stress. We get so used to seeing things our way, talking to someone may help you consider things you didn’t before. They may help you realize how insignificant something may be or may be able to help work through your stresses with you. Whether it is your parents, siblings, or best friend, the person you talk to will likely be supportive, positive and encouraging, giving us a boost.

4. Go to the gym or for a walk

Physical exercise releases endorphins which boost your mood. It is a healthy and fun way to feel better and release negative energy. It will help clear your mind and come back refreshed and energized ready to tackle your stresses.

5. Take a nap

It isn’t uncommon for a student in high school or college to be sleep deprived. Sometimes our sleep deprivation can often prevent us from thinking clearly. Taking a nap will allow you to wake up fresh able to think more clearly and allow you to escape the world for some time. Plus, who doesn’t love naps?

6. Take a moment for yourself

Whether it is going to the movies, the arcade, or the mall- do something you enjoy. Take a step back for your mental health. Sometimes we just get so burnt out it adds to our stress. Giving yourself time to do what you want gives us the much-needed break we deserve. This will allow us to be more willing and ready to tackle anything that is ahead of us. Reward yourself, you have worked hard up until now!

I hope these tricks will help you!! Good luck with whatever you have ahead of you.