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Let us de-stress together!

You know the feeling when you are slumped over a desk and your hands are pressed into your temples. You slowly feel a dark shadow loom over your shoulder as an eerie voice whispers in your ear, reminding you of your inbox filled with unreplied emails and the stacks of reading material that need to be covered within the week. You feel your eyes glaze as you stare into your laptop and the feeling of helplessness consumes your body as you try to hold back the tears, but you feel trapped in the cycle of ‘eat, study, sleep.’ What do you do?

A: Cry.

B: Indulge in your favourite ice cream.

C: Vent to your friends or an inanimate object. 

D: Burrow under a mountain of blankets.

E: All of the above.

Instead of freaking out, why not flip the switch and take control of the situation? Let us break the repetitive cycle of ‘eat, study, sleep’ and take a few minutes to de-stress.



Take a moment to acknowledge your thoughts and express it; maybe in the form of writing or talking. Personally, I have found this tactic of deconstructing my feelings to understand what made me think negatively, a method to be recognised. I then create an action plan which contains the lists of tasks that need to be completed. To take this activity a step further, I adopt a traffic light system where I identify which tasks have high priority. For example, if I believe that a specific task holds a higher value, I would highlight that in red. Alternatively, if it holds a low-value, it would be assigned green, whilst mid-level would be highlighted in either yellow or orange. This method allows me to put things into perspective. I then revisit this list later when I feel calm.



I have found that when I am stressed, I am harsh on myself because I throw myself in a pit of unworthiness and begin to question my ability in my academic studies. When this happens, acknowledge it and change your pace. I have two suggestions which can help: meditation and exercise. This can help you change your mundane routine of ‘eat, study, sleep’ to an empowering schedule. This combination allows me to channel my energy productively because my mind is not racing at the speed of light.



Once I feel that I have unloaded a bulk of stress, it is time to pamper myself. My favourite activity is to apply a sheet mask, sip on a matcha latte and indulge in a film or a television show. I strive to create an atmosphere where I feel free and what comes to mind is my childhood memories, when I would be glued to my television watching Studio Ghibli movies. I either watch Howl’s Moving Castle, Spirited Away or Grave of the Fireflies. If a sheet mask, matcha lattes and watching Studio Ghibli movies are not your thing, you may find other activities such as a bubble bath or painting your nails a better fit. 



If you still feel daunted by the heavy shadow that looms over your shoulder reminding you of work, I recommend diving into a creative outlet. I have recently enjoyed cooking, in particular, baking desserts as I enjoy the process of creating aesthetically pleasing but also tasty food (well I try to achieve this, but sometimes I fail). Otherwise, you may find painting or drawing your forte. These activities remind me of my nursery days when all I would do is run around the playground and draw on the floor in chalk. I recommend that you try various creative outlets to find what you enjoy, as this can help maintain a healthy balance and break the cycle of ‘eat, study, sleep.’



Now that you have a clearer perspective, it is time to take action! Look at the tasks that you jotted down and pay close attention to the high priority tasks as these are the activities you need to complete first. Once you have completed each task, cross it off and have a break where you indulge in your favourite activity, whether it be treating yourself to a box of chocolates or dancing in your room. Then you can return to your tasks and continue the system where you complete a task and reward yourself for that activity. You will soon find you have completed all the tasks and a grin will be plastered across your face from the sense of fulfilment by taking action.


computer with tea and two notebooks
Photo by Gabrielle Henderson from Unsplash

I want to thank you for joining me on this journey to de-stress and I hope this can guide you in finding your perfect system.


Joanna has graduated with a Public Relations and Communications degree at the University of Greenwich and is continuing her studies at King's College London pursuing Digital Asset and Media Management. She enjoys drinking a matcha latte, travelling, binge-watching tv shows whilst endlessly scrolling on social media. Say hi to her on Instagram or LinkedIn!
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