It’s week three, and the semester is already ramping up. As we approach midterms, which are closer than you may realize, it is more important than ever to make sure you are taking care of your mental and physical wellbeing. In universities, we talk a lot about ways to cope with stress, but less often do we hear about practical ways to prevent stress from piling up. As a senior myself, I have a few practical ways that I use to prevent or lessen stress before it gets too overwhelming.

You may often hear, a good way to manage stress before it begins is to own a planner and use it frequently. This approach can be very helpful, but it can also leave you even more stressed about whether or not you are properly utilizing it. It is the idea of structuring out your assignments, work schedule, and sticking to it that is key to lowering stress. This not only applies to school work, but to chores and personal care. If you keep up with cleaning your space you can promote a low stress environment. Whether you use a planner, sticky notes, an app, or some crazy convoluted method that no one else can decipher, as long as you are keeping yourself on track you are going to help prevent stress for future you.

Another fan favorite to decrease stress once it’s arrived, is “me time.” I am by no means condemning personal time or self-care of this sort. In fact, it is very important to your health to have downtime away from work or others. But, when you’re at a deadline crunch and freaking out, that “me time” can get progressively less relaxing. Tying back to the planner, book yourself out some designated downtime to relax and step away from your work. I’m not just talking about setting aside time to eat, sleep, do chores, etc. I mean truly giving yourself time to do ABSOLUTLY NOTHING, except whatever you want. You may not think you’ll be able to fit it in, but you’d be surprised at just how beneficial fifteen minutes here and thirty minutes there can be to your mental and physical wellbeing.

Go outside. I’m not kidding, just go do it. Getting your body moving is an amazingly easy way to clear your head and lift your mood. Whether you go to the gym for half an hour or walk a lap around the dorms, getting the blood pumping and changing up your environment can really help improve your mindset before you slip into that second or third existential crisis of the day. If getting outside isn’t available to you, opening a window and doing some light stretching is also very beneficial and can work in the same way.

While I can’t cover all the ways you can help prevent or reduce stress before it comes, I hope that these tips were helpful. These are some of the tools I use myself in my own self-care regime and, because everyone processes stress a little differently make sure to listen to your body and do what feels good for you. I wish you all the best of luck and less stress for the rest of your semesters.

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