Now more than ever, students at Marquette are facing overwhelming amounts of stress. Between virtual and in-person classes, constant schedule changes and an overall uncertainty while living during the pandemic, students are experiencing unprecedented levels of school-related stress. For students currently struggling to cope, here on some self-care tips to better cope with stress.
1. Establish a consistent sleep schedule
Sometimes staying up late to finish homework is necessary, but it should generally be avoided. On average, teenagers ages 13-18 should sleep about 8-10 hours per 24 hours, according to the CDC. Academic performance is important, but one’s physical health should be prioritized over GPA. Sleep is a vital function for the body, and restricting it can cause heightened anxiety, depression and a negative impact on academic performance. If you’re finishing your project and it’s 1 a.m., go to bed. Your body – and your grades – will thank you later.
2. Address Your Mental Health
When you’re feeling overwhelmed, it is important to take a moment to identify how you’re feeling. By understanding your current mindset, you are better equipped to find ways to respond to your stress in a healthy way. Some methods for reducing stress and anxiety include journaling, mindfulness, grounding and positive self talk.
“Grounding is our skills rooted in sensory experience. It helps to root you in the Here and Now, and it helps you to be present in the moment. One way to do it could be noticing five things that you can see in your room that are blue. Or three things that you can touch, or noticing the temperature and texture of your clothing.” -Sarah Perry, Psychologist
3. Set Realistic Goals
It’s good to strive for your best work, but sometimes it simply isn’t possible. Do the best you can given your situation. If your essay is due Friday morning and it’s Monday afternoon, feel free to be a perfectionist. If it’s due Friday morning and it’s 10 p.m. Thursday, do a “good” or “adequate job” and don’t sacrifice your overall wellbeing in search of perfection.
“If you’re having trouble with your own emotions and thoughts, it’s really hard to achieve anything else until you get that part of your life in order. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. It is okay to be vulnerable, especially now. It is okay to not know what you’re doing, and it’s okay to not know what tomorrow is going to look like.” -Sra. Thiess
4. Practice Deep Breathing
Try to refrain from rolling your eyes. Deep breathing is talked about for a reason! No, It is not an instant cure to stress or anxiety – it takes time and practice – but taking the time to focus on your breathing can significantly reduce physical and emotional stress.
5. Take Breaks
Although breaking away from school work may seem counterproductive, giving yourself some breathing room between work loads is vital to reducing schoolwork-induced stress. It’s also important to make time in your daily life to do what you enjoy.