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Since the pandemic began, I feel like we have all been a little more stressed than normal. I took advantage of this as a time to better my mental health and gain control of the stress that had come about in my life. As a result, I gained many valuable skills on how to manage stress throughout my life, and how to minimize any stress from manifesting itself and getting worse.

Plan Ahead and Make Lists

I have found that when I make lists and plan out what I need to do and when, I tend to get things done faster. This also gives me a visual aid on all of the things I have coming up like appointments, homework assignments, tests/quizzes, lunches and so many other things. Lists are very beneficial to me because when one thing gets done, I just check it off. This lets me see that I have made progress on all of the things I needed to complete.

Take Time For Yourself

Make sure you have your time. When you are trying to do too many things at once, either for yourself or other people, you will end up getting overwhelmed, and in turn, create stress for yourself. Make sure you know what things need to get done by when by planning ahead and making lists. Knowing what things are most important and knowing when you can take a break is crucial in alleviating undo stress in your life. This allowed me to calm down and focus on fun things to do - like crafts, reading a book, watching a movie, cooking, baking etc.

Exercise and Improve Your Diet

Being in shape helps to feel good about yourself, and when you are feeling good about yourself you tend to be more active and engaged in what you are doing. Motivating yourself to complete the list of things you have to do is a lot easier when you don’t need to force yourself to do it. Being able to place your health as a top priority is key in reducing stress.

Someone to Talk to

Make sure you have someone you can talk to about what is going on in your life - whether it be a parent, sibling, boyfriend/girlfriend, best friend, grandparent, counselor, professor etc. Being able to talk through things helps so much and makes you feel like you aren’t carrying the weight of everything on your back, all by yourself.

Even though these things may seem like small changes to you, or maybe they seem huge, they have made my life so much less stressful. Now, I am not saying my life is 100% stress free, but I have noticed by implementing these changes in my daily life, I have been able to relax more and stress less over many things. I would say start small though, pick one or two of these things to focus on at a time and when you feel like you have mastered those, then move onto another one or two strategies.

Nicole Caldara is a senior at Siena College with a Psychology major, a Business minor and a Human Resource Development minor. She plans on going into the human resource sector and hopes to get an internship right after graduating, while simultaneously working on her masters degree. She enjoys spending time with her family and friends, watching Disney movies, reading and baking. Follow her adventures on instagram @nicole_caldara!
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