People aren't lying when they tell you that A Levels are the most stressful years of your life. I am constantly battling to keep on top of homework whilst doing sufficient amounts of revision and doing things that make me happy, too, like seeing friends or writing blog posts. Sometimes, even the tiniest thing can tip you over the edge when your stress levels are high.
With stress comes the search for effective coping mechanisms that don't make you feel guilty for not doing what you're meant to be doing, something that can stress me out even more, and I'm currently on the search for the perfect techniques. Here's a quick list of everything I've found to be effective so far...
Do Something You Enjoy
This is probably the most obvious 'stress-reliever' there is, but if you're like me it's not that easy to switch off when you know there's a pile of work needing to be done. Some days I will do four or five hours straight of revision/work and will still kick myself for watching the TV for two minutes, so the way I give myself a break is to be productive in other ways. This means I don't feel like I'm wasting time. Being 'productive' while doing something I enjoy for me is usually writing a blog post, playing with makeup, reading a magazine specific to my interests or watching a beauty vid on YouTube - all of these methods usually motivate me and are a reminder of what I want to do (Journalism). Obviously your hobbies will be different to mine, but I find being productive in a different sense is a way of using my time efficiently and usually stops me from beating myself up a few hours later.
I am absolutely aware that not everyone has money to throw away, but I work (or worked, as I'm taking time off for exams) super hard to earn the money that I do and every now and then I like to treat myself. This can be buying a new beauty item to play with, or having a nice day out. Obviously you don't have to spend heaps of money, sometimes for me 'indulging' simply means buying a £1 Cosmo magazine.
Eat and Drink good
On the whole, I eat healthily with the occasional treat/cheat day. Eating good makes you feel good on the inside, in my opinion. I'm not saying that directly cures stress, but it does make you feel better. I don't usually drink anything that's not water, but recently a cup of peppermint tea when I wake up makes me feel like I can conquer my day ahead.
Another typical 'stress buster', sorry, but it's true that exercise reduces stress. One of my New Year's Resolutions was to exercise more and I find that it really relieves me and once I'm done exercising, I'm more focussed on my work.
This is also a very common tip for reducing stress, but it is honestly worth it. I make To-Do lists like it's my job. They come in so handy when it comes to organising your headspace and having a plan of action for the day or week. I tend to stick to a typical routine when I get home of doing homework and then revising, but sometimes there is too much to do in that small space of time. So, I make a list for the next day or for the rest of the week which allow me to see how doable everything is. It's also a good way of 'chunking' up bits of work, so it seems like you have less. Keeping on top of work is also a good idea, but obviously it isn't always that easy.
I hope this post gave you some good stress-busting tips! How do you relieve stress? Let me know with a comment! Thanks for reading.
PS: For anyone who reads my blogs regularly, I am about to be thrown into exam season so may not post until after they're all over. My posts definitely won't be as regular as they usually are. Thank you for being patient!
Why I Took A Break from (near enough) everything
Social media has a huge influence on many people's lives nowadays. A few weeks ago, I realised it had practically taken over my life, so I took a few weeks away from the timelines and decided to just enjoy everything else. The final year of A Levels are insanely stressful and this can really take a toll on every other aspect of life. This definitely isn't one of my normal posts, so please be patient with me...the best ones are on their way!
I've never been one to be very open when it comes to talking about my feelings and my mental health (and I idolise those who are brave enough) but I hit quite a low point a few weeks ago. Scrolling through my Instagram feed and looking at people whose lives are noticeably more luxurious than my own, I realised social media was one of the things that got me down. There was no determining factor or moment, I just suddenly decided to delete Instagram, Twitter and Snapchat (I had to keep Facebook as that's where I communicate with my work). This was in the second to last week of February.
The absence of Snapchat lasted less than a day. It is pretty much my only means of communication when it comes to keeping in touch with my friends - do people really text anymore? - so I soon became bored of not having any conversations on the go.
I also don't want this to be taken the wrong way, I don't want to seem like I'm sat on a high horse acting prestige because that's really not the case. I have started using Facebook a lot more since deleting the other apps, so it isn't like I've stopped using social media completely. I think my problem was, I was tweeting around 5 times a day, constantly refreshing my timeline, always trying to keep up with Instagram stories, and I wasn't focussing on important things. The amount of times I would sit down to do some A Level work and I'd spend the next half an hour scrolling down my Twitter feed is embarrassing. I genuinely thought the world would end if I wasn't on top of my social apps.
Not using social media hasn't actually made a huge impact on my life. I don't have 'FOMO' like I thought I would, the only thing I think I've missed is seeing other people's blogs. On this 'hiatus' (shall we say) I actually spent a lot of time on YouTube; I've always loved beauty vloggers and I found that I much prefer watching videos like these to aimlessly scrolling down a network feed.
With stopping social media came stopping blogging. This wasn't intentional, but I decided not to post anything until my socials were back so that I could advertise them and get the views I want. I didn't see the purpose in posting blogs when only a few people would see them, because I knew that would disappoint me immensely. With that said, I've actually been blogging non-stop - probably more so than before. I've been writing like there's absolutely no tomorrow and I can't wait to get those posts out to you. Just give it time!
By the time I have uploaded this post - which was written on 7th March - I will be back up on social media (probably where you saw the link) and my blog posts will be up weekly like normal. I can't promise I will post every week because exams are getting closer and I may not have the time to make a blog post I'm genuinely happy to upload - I don't want to half-arse my posts for the sake of providing content. In terms of social media, of course I'll be posting again but I hope I won't prioritise it the way I used to. Social media isn't real life or human interaction, it's simply a bit of fun when used in a healthy way.
I really tried to shorten this post down because it had potential to be ridiculously long, so I thank you for taking the time to read something that isn't what I'd usually post. Don't worry, there are beauty and fashion bits coming up very soon!