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Tidying Up and Winding Down: Tips for stress management

“Tidy room, tidy mind”

Throughout GCSEs and A-Levels, as well as starting out at University, I’ve found that living by the motto “tidy room, tidy mind” has worked wonders for keeping on top of life and reducing stress. I know this might sound like something your parents would nag you to do, but it’s always worked in my favour. Being faced with a messy room when you’ve come home from a long day is only going to make you feel more stressed and demotivated to get stuff done, so get tidying!

Getting ahead of yourself

If I’m finding myself stressed out about having a busy timetable, having a diary I can carry about in my bag with me is essential for keeping on top of things. Personally, I find myself often being a sucker for writing to-do lists (or 20) so that I can visually see a list of things I need to get done, and then I can cross them off as I go. Writing super long lists isn’t going to make you feel motivated, so begin with writing 3-5 things and go from there.

Time management

Having upcoming exams and assignment deadlines can be stressful at the best of times, so I find it useful to organise myself so that I know exactly what I need to be doing and when. Making a revision timetable can be super handy during the exam period, and this can be especially useful for making sure I am dividing my time equally across all my subjects or modules. Alternatively, to avoid feeling stressed about getting a whole 8,000-word essay done the night before the deadline, I give myself smaller deadlines which are more manageable. For example, after I’ve written 1000 words I tend to reward myself with sweets or a 10-minute break scrolling through social media or a show on Netflix.

Having some ‘you time’

Although your studies are important, finding the balance between working and relaxing is so beneficial for staying healthy and happy. For me, there is no better feeling then being able to get into bed of an evening with a hot chocolate and film knowing I’m up to speed with my work. Retail therapy is always one of my ‘go to’ hobbies when I’m feeling stressed, especially when my friends come along too. I also find that if I am feeling particularly stressed about anything, I like to go for a walk to clear my head and get some fresh air which makes coming back to an assignment or revision much easier. It’s all about working hard and playing harder!

About Alex Winfield

a.l.winfield@student.reading.ac.uk'

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