Stress and how to (realistically) cope with it

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Stress is something we all deal with yet isn’t really talked about or even explained. Everyone shows stress in different ways, and people tackle it in different ways as well. For me personally, I sometimes work better under a bit of stress and often do my best work under pressure. This way of working, whether that be at school or college, won’t be for everyone though – and even a healthy bit of stress can sometimes go a little too far.

If we accept that stress is just a normal part of growing up now with exams, schools, social media and so much more, we should accept how normal it is to talk about dealing with it and what we all can do to keep stress to a minimum!

Here are my top 5 tips for dealing with stress;

Understand why you’re stressed – This might sound obvious, but for me whenever I start to feel stressed it really helps if I departmentalise everything to see what specifically is causing the stress. Stress isn’t always work or school related though, so make sure you investigate other areas of your life to see where it’s coming from. Once you understand why you’re stressed, you’ll be in a better place to appropriately deal with it in a way that will work for you.

Make practical changes and get organised – This one can be hard, and no one is suggesting you stop going to school or college to avoid the stress that comes with it! But, if there are ways you can reduce your work load or spread it out more evenly, this may help. Talk to your teachers to see if extensions are possible or make a timetable for when you’ll do each activity or piece of work you have to do. It may sound like an extra step, but often keeping organised will help you keep on top of things and even writing out a to-do list can empty your brain of the pressure of remembering everything!

Balance your school or college life with your social life – This tip will be really important to carry with you into your working life too, so a good one to master during school or college! Although it’s important to keep on top of your work, it’s just as important to put some time aside for yourself and for other positive things in your life like friends and family. Whether that be spending time on your own doing some retail therapy, taking part in a sport or simply catching up on the latest series, making time for the things you love will not only make you more productive in your time scheduled to do work, but will also give you an activity to look forward to throughout the week. Motivate and reward yourself often.

Talk to others about how you’re feeling – For multiple reasons, stress isn’t talked about as much as it should be. Some may feel that saying they’re stressed makes them sound incapable of their workload, whereas others may not talk about it because they assume it’s normal and just a part of life that everyone is expected to deal with. It’s certainly not, and I’ve found talking to others about why you’re feeling stressed is a great way to lift some of it off your shoulders. Chances are, your friends and family are also stressed about something too, and together you can talk about different ways of dealing with it and how you can make some practical changes together too. Talking is often a useful way to deal with many issues, so let’s all be more open about how we’re doing!

Find little everyday ways to unwind – Some daily life stresses may be unavoidable, and to an extent stress is just part of life! This doesn’t mean we should just put up with it though. There are tonnes of simple little ways to unwind, whether that be at the end of every day or for 5 minutes between tasks and activities. Even spending these 5 minutes can help your mind unwind, give you chance to relax with something you love or act as a nice break if your mind needs distracting. Need some inspiration? Here’s a list of some of the Got Your Back team’s favourite ways to unwind and de-stress.

  • Listen to music, sometimes all you need is to blast your favourite song on repeat
  • Scroll through photos on your phone to look back over your favourite memories with friends and family
  • Get active, even if this is just going for a walk to clear your mind
  • Write things down – this could be a specific to-do list to keep you on track or a place to write down how you’re feeling
  • Talk it out, just a quick catch up is sometimes all you need
  • Organise other parts of your life – re-organising your wardrobe and having a good clear out of your space is always therapeutic
  • Bake something, even if you’re not very good at it!
  • Get creative, paint, draw, write a short story, take some photos – anything that lets your ideas run wild
  • Have a lazy day re-watching that series for the 23rd time so you can recharge
  • Do activities with animals – dog shelters always need volunteers to walk dogs (what better way to relax than by spending time with dogs!?)
  • Make plans – whether that’s a shopping trip with friends, a gig or plan to get a new piercing having something nice to look forward to is always rewarding!

What would you add to the list? Let us know in the comments!

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