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Coping with the stress of uni deadlines

29th March 2016

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It's that time of year: the dreaded university deadline dates are fast approaching. In approximately 10 weeks I will have to hand in five lengthy assignments and undertake a practical exam, and obviously, the pressure of getting the best grades possible and juggling a part time job and a social life can create a lot of stress.

I'm certainly no expert when it comes to managing stress - I have my moments, I break down and cry over all the work I haven't done yet and how I don't think I can do it anymore. It's natural to feel immense stress and worry over university deadlines and work. But how do you handle it?

With only a number of weeks to go I feel the pressure of hand in dates looming and I find I need to remind myself that I can handle the stress. I may not be an expert and use all the right coping methods but I often find I feel in control and relaxed about my assingments.

In short, I ensure that I keep myself in the right frame of mind to get work done. So here are some of my tips on how to cope with the stress and pressure of those dreaded hand in dates.

Start Early. It may sound rather obvious - but just get on with it. If you start getting drafts done as early as the Christmas holidays it can make a huge difference. I did this in my first year, although in second year I have to admit I have slacked ever so slightly. But getting drafts done so early on can really take the pressure off later in the year.

Starting early could also mean starting early during the day. If you get up with the intention of doing some work get on with it straight away - don't procrastinate for hours then finally get started at 5pm. Just get on with it.

Eat. A planned couple of hours of doing assignments can turn into a hardcore day of essay writing once you're on a roll. If this is the case then don't stop fully, but do make sure you take some breaks in the day to eat and relax. Make sure you have your three daily meals and keep snacks nearby for when you're working.

It's very tempting to put big bags of crisps and chocolate bars by your side to chomp on, but snacks like these may actually make you feel sluggish and make the process more tasking. Opt for fruit or nuts; something light that will keep up your energy levels.

Stay Hydrated. If you don't keep yourself hydrated you'll become tired and irritable and the stress will get to you. It'll become difficult to concentrate, you'll lose motivation - no good when you're trying to write an A-grade essay.

So, put a ban on energy drinks and fizzy pop. They're full of sugar and will be no good for you; again they'll probably just make you feel sluggish and bloated. Always have a bottle of water to hand and opt for deacf coffee or tea if you're in need of a warm beverage.

Get Enough Sleep. Everyone requires different amounts of sleep and everyone's body clock is different, but if you don't get enough sleep for you you'll end up feeling completely demotivated and won't be in the mood for doing anything. Try to get at least seven hours a night to ensure you're feeling refreshed the next morning. Make sure you're not staying up until 5am doing your work. You'll be much more productive during the day.

Get Rid of Distractions. Your phone, the TV, Facebook, and everything else that can distract you - get rid of it whilst you work. Don't have anything on around you; turn off your phone. The fewer distractions you have the more work you will get done, and the lower your stress levels will be.

Work With A Friend. This won't be everyone's cup of tea, but doing work with a friend can really alleviate stress. They know exactly what you are going through, so you can support each other through the pressure and help each other out. It will also make the assignment process more enjoyable. Set up a uni work 'date' and take off to a quiet coffee shop to get on with some work. Promise yourself a pizza and movie night once your work is all done for the day; it'll make the process a lot less stressful and less of a burden.

Treat Yourself. Set goals for yourself, and everytime you achieve one treat yourself. This will make the process less stressful and more rewarding. Everytime you get an assigment completed, every time you achieve your goal for the day, treat yourself. Whether it's buying that new dress (that is usually my treat), or going out with your friends at the weekend, or as simple as indulging in your favourite food that night - treat yourself.

Take A Break. With so much work to do and perhaps holding down a part time job too, it can be difficult to find time to take a break and relax. But you must ensure you do this. I aim to always have at least one day off week from doing any uni work. When you have time off make sure you do something you enjoy; it'll take your mind off any stress that you're feeling and relax you.

Make sure you still have a social life too. Go out and do things with your friends, have family days out. Don't let the work take over your life, and don't let the stress rule you - ever.




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