7 Ways To Cope Under Pressure
Whether it is at work, in university or at school, everyone has to struggle at times with stress and anxiety. So here are some proven ways to cope under pressure that I know from personal experience can seriously work for you.
Don’t try to do too much. Obvious, isn’t it? I know it goes without saying, but it is one of the biggest stress busters. Don’t give yourself unrealistic expectations of how much you can get done in a day. If you feel under pressure to over-perform, it is perfectly fine to refuse work to focus on other projects. Most employers would rather you performed a few tasks really well than attempting to do a lot of them and the outcome being mediocre. Communicate with whoever it is that you are reporting to on what jobs are the key priorities, and agree on a realistic timeframe so that you get the work that needs to be done most urgently completed. If you are self-employed or have a loose schedule, give yourself two or three things to focus on a day and a reasonable amount of time to do them in. When you’ve finished those things and that time is up, don’t do more – take the time to relax and not worry about the work. If you pace yourself to cope under pressure you’ll get through more than if you try to do everything all at once.
Take regular breaks. When you work, your mind can’t focus forever. The average brain can only concentrate 100% for twenty minutes at a time before it starts to get tired, so take small, regular breaks. Don’t get distracted by something else, just go get a piece of fruit or a cup of tea, then carry on. If you get stuck on something, take a break from it by moving onto something else you had planned that day and come back to it. But don’t feel that having a certain number of hours of work to do means you need to work for that long – if you do, the standard of your productivity will diminish with your ability to focus effectively, which will in turn just make you more stressed.
Give yourself time. The time you aren’t working in the evenings or at the weekend is just as important as the time you are. Give yourself time off as part of your schedule; that way you don’t feel guilty that you aren’t working. Use that free time wisely – keep your brain active with a book, a relaxing hobby or regular sport. Try to get involved in volunteering, societies or events that will take you away from your work for a few hours. This way you have that precious down time that will refresh you for when you return to work, but you still feel active and productive with your time. If you are under pressure to perform already, this can only be made worse by a feeling that any time you are not spending working is a waste; it means you can’t properly enjoy that free time.
Don’t think of everything you have to do. It is often daunting when you are sitting there at the start of a working day, staring at your packed diary or seemingly unending to-do list. Thinking of everything in one go will mentally overwhelm you and make you less likely to want to tackle your daily tasks, putting you in a bad mind-set for the rest of the day. Rank your to-do list in order of importance and take one task at a time – ignore the next one and the one after that until you’ve finished the one you are on.
Socialise as much as you can. Many people who are suffering from stress or anxiety feel they can’t talk to anyone about the problems they are having, or feel there isn’t anyone from which they can seek help. Find people to talk to, and let them in on what you are dealing with. This could be a partner, a friend, a colleague who may be going through the same pressures and experiences, even a parent may help you. Even if you aren’t that stressed, try to maintain a healthy social life to keep you from feeling alone with your problems.
Take care of yourself. It is amazing what an effect on a person’s mental state a few simple health measures can make. Drinking a lot of water, eating a balanced diet, exercising regularly, having a regular sleeping pattern might seem fairly standard, but integrating them into your day will improve your mental health to no end. You will feel fresher, more awake and ready for the day, and so all those challenges that face you will seem much more manageable.
If it works, do it. If you find anything that helps you learn or helps you works for you when revising, do that. The advice above has worked for me and many others, and so should serve as inspiration for you to understand how you personally can work most effectively with as little stress and strain as possible.