It's been so long so I've written a blog post!! I asked for blog post ideas the other day and literally 60% of the suggestions were 'dealing with stress', which is great because that's all I feel at the minute. I had a little break from Instagram and blogging because I just felt so overwhelmed with everything going on - I used to think I was a great multitasker, but the last few weeks have shown me that isn't the case.
Christmas was the nicest break from university; I'm sure I've mentioned this before on my blog but home really is such a safe place for me - I never feel anxious and rarely have low periods as I love my job and I love being with my family but for some reason, university has become a big old trigger for me. I love living with my best friends but apart from that, being at uni makes my anxiety sky high and I find myself feeling isolated and generally down in the dumps.
To add insult to injury, I've had exams and an assessment centres and now I'm desperately trying to finish my dissertation whilst also working and prepping for important meetings with the same deadline at the end of the month. The idea of finding a grad job is just ANOTHER stress in my irrational panics, and whereas usually I would be shouting from the rooftops if was asked to come in for an assessment, I was invited in for a grad job and all I feel is dread and anxiety. I just don't see how I can handle that this month, with everyone else going on.
It's a pretty shit feeling because if I wasn't anxious in general, I reckon I would be able to handle it - but I am, so I can't. It's difficult to not feel frustrated with my brain when it feels like it's working against me, but it's time like these when I have to remember to cut myself some slack. It's normal for me to feel stressed; I'm in my final year of university whilst also working in a job that requires a lot of prep - surely it would be weird to not feel a bit stressed, and sometimes stress can be good! I (and anyone else this applies to) need to stop villanising my feelings and seeing them as a negative, or seeing myself as weak just because I don't feel calm 100% of the time. Don't punish yourself for feeling overwhelmed.
On the other hand, I (again, please take this in if you need it) need to know my limits: my dissertation is extremely important and so is my job, so if an assessment centre that requires a presentation and god knows what else comes along and it doesn't seem viable, it's okay to say no - mental health needs to come first. I know this can feel disappointing; I haven't exactly been inundated with job offers, so I know that I'll kick myself for passing up interview experience/a great opportunity with a good company, but there are other jobs out there - is this one really worth compromising my diss/my job/my mental health? It's important not to make a brash decision, work out the pros and cons but it's okay to say no, feeling chaotic and over-committed is not doing you any favours - don't feel guilty if you genuinely can't handle something.
I would say my biggest tip for dealing with stress is don't overwork yourself - I know people that stay up till 4am on a piece of work if necessary; it's just not good for your mind! Make sure you take regular breaks, try and get a normal amount of sleep - don't miss meals, don't just work work work. If you throw all aspects of routine out the window, your brain just doesn't do what it's meant to, and that can then affect the rest of your body. Make sure you take care of yourself as well as whatever is causing you stress; the two need to go hand in hand.
Last but not least, don't forget self-care - make sure you schedule in some you-time. Have a bath or a nice long shower, watch your favourite show or make yourself your favourite food. Put on a face-mask (classic self-care tip), or just sleep. Do something that focuses on you and your needs, and that makes you feel good after. You don't need to be working 24/7 to produce something good, you need to invest in yourself to be at your best.
Thank you all for reading! Hopefully this has helped if you are going through something at the mo.
Mind Charity - What is stress?