by Jennifer Ewen

Stress is an inevitable part about being both a student and a healthcare professional. It’s very important to be able to cope with stress in order to perform well in both your professional and personal life. Here are five ways to manage your stress so you can do your best work possible, both in-class and on the job.

  1. Manage your time. Whether you’re trying to map out enough time to get all your reading done for class, or making sure you’re doing everything you need to on the job, managing your time is extremely important. Keeping a list of everything you need to do is very helpful - whether it’s keeping a calendar, using post-it notes, or using your phone, being able to see all that you need to do will help you organize your time to get it done. Keep in mind what your top priorities are in terms of due dates and importance, and make sure those are at the top of your list. Once you have a plan for what you need to get done, it’ll be a lot easier to keep on top of it.
  2. Get enough sleep. It’s important to sleep even when you feel like you don’t have time. The majority of people need at least 7-8 hours of sleep to function well. A little known fact about sleep is that the brain actually processes things you’ve learned throughout the day into your long term memory while you sleep! If you don’t sleep enough, you’ll have less focus and not perform as well as usual, which will only make you more stressed out. It will also be much harder to cope with your usual stress, since tiredness can lead to irritability and negative thinking. Take the time to get enough sleep, since it will help you cope better with your everyday stresses.
  3. Take time to do something you enjoy. Whether it’s reading, watching Netflix, or catching up with friends, make sure you allot yourself time every day (or every other day) to do those things. It’ll be even more worth your while if you do something that makes you laugh, since the benefits of laughter range from a decent core work out to a happier mood. Even if it’s only a half hour, enjoying yourself will give your brain a break and lead to more positive thinking, which will help combat stress.
  4. Focus on the positives in your life and every situation. By training your brain to be more positive, your stress levels will go down. Stress is a combination of worry and negativity, which can be dealt with by making yourself be more positive. Instead of stressing yourself out more about an exam by thinking you’re going to fail, tell yourself you are capable and will do fine since you’re studying. Knock down every negative thought with positive reinforcement about yourself and your abilities.
  5. Do some form of exercise every day. It’s even better if you can do your exercise outside with the sun shining, whether it’s a walk, run, or yoga. Being out in the fresh air will help you calm down, which in turn will lower your stress. Even if you exercise indoors, you’ll get the calming benefits and positive thinking from the workout. If you focus only on the movement of your body, the song playing, or the birds chirping, being in the moment will give your brain a huge break from stress. By doing this regularly, you can train your brain to focus more on the moment rather than worries about the past or future that lead to stress.