For many, the start of school has been exciting; after almost two years of virtual learning, students have been isolated and in need of in-person interaction with peers. However, for some, school is stressful and anxiety-ridden; especially if he/she/they are taking rigorous courses. Amongst all the stress, it is important to find time for yourself. Too often, people have a preconceived notion that reducing mental stress takes an exorbitant amount of time. However, “treating yourself” can be as simple as taking five minutes to meditate, or setting aside time for screen breaks. Although the day may seem to fly by, there is time -- it is just about how effective you are using it. Below are some tips for finding balance in a hectic life.
1. Procrastination -- Do you work well under pressure?
Procrastination can be very tempting, and let’s admit it--- all of us have procrastinated at some point in our lives. If you are able to work well under pressure, then cuts. But for others, it is difficult to emit his/her/their best work in a limited time. Although there are thousands of articles on the web that dictate whether or not you should procrastinate, you know yourself the best, so plan accordingly.
2. Put away your phone!
Research published by the University of Chicago demonstrates that “[a phone’s] mere presence reduces people’s cognitive capacity.” Thus, it is crucial to work in a different room/area than where your phone is located. DMing, snapping, and browsing, social media has an inconceivable way of luring viewers in for long periods of time. Do not fall for this trap! With busy schedules, it is necessary to limit screen time so you can allot sufficient time to rest.
Meditation is a great way of decompressing and refocusing your mind. My favorite app for meditation is Calm -- it offers breathing and meditation exercises, soothing music/sounds, sleep stories, etc. Furthermore, we must debunk the myth that therapy is only for “crazy” people. Regardless of your age or mental situation, therapy is beneficial -- as long as you are willing to share your feelings.
4. Treat yourself
Rest breaks help stimulate productivity. If you have something to look forward to, you will have more incentive to work. Eat your favorite ice cream, spend time with friends, and read a favorite book! Do what makes you happy; you deserve it.
5. Sleep -- you need it!
Sleep deprivation is real. The CDC recommends that teenagers ages 13-18 should sleep “8-10 hours per 24 hours.” Unfortunately, many students sleep fewer than eight hours a night. Lack of sleep not only affects you physically, but also mentally; continuous sleep deprivation exacerbates depression, anxiety, and bipolar disorder. Listen to your body!