How to: For a Less Stressful Lifestyle

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The "wise" Maya's calendar experts were wrong. No sentimental moments of: "Goodbye Earth! It was good with you!". I hoped so badly in a new version of the world which would be installed afterwards and would have some essential improvements and updates. I will start from the hours of the day. 24 hours? Seriously? I either feel that I am living a ghost's life and I can't make it it such few hours with all my errands, or that I have time to do everything, but in fact I don't do nothing really good, 'cause I don't have time  to be devoted to anything. As a undergrad I try to squeeze within some -really short- 24 hours a 8-hour competitive and demanding lab life, a decent social life, my friends and once in a blue moon some valuable time for myself, to catch up with my hobbies and to relax a little bit. AND I know that I am greedy, but I need desperately at least 8-hours of good night sleep to run all these errands during the day.

Plaka, Athens // Περιοχή Πλάκας

Plaka, Athens // Περιοχή Πλάκας

So, we summarize to the fact that I am a busy bee. I complain sometimes (like now?) that I can't make it, but I think I like it that way. I couldn't bear the not-having-anything-to-do situation for a long period of time. However, that doesn't mean that you have to split blood from the fatigue to be happy. There are some tricks to live your busy life without flirting with wearing a straitjacket. And now that this difficult semester ended, here's what I gained:

1. Get organized!

Start from organizing your thoughts by writing your obligations down. In that way you have a clear picture of what has to done and that's is the half way of completing them. Then organize your workplace, you can't be productive if your concentration is distracted by million crap things around you.

2. Prioritize and deal with the real serious for you things.

I know that your life is busy too and you are so enthusiastic about everything that you wish you could have time for all of them, but don't do it. Especially when you feel that your time margins narrow, prioritize! Deal with what can't be postponed and in the meantime everything else can wait. 

3. Forget multitasking, go for monotasking.

You have tons of work to do and you consider multitasking a great solution right? But how efficient is, really, this multitasking? There are some super taskers for sure, but the bad news are that they are the 2% of people these who can control a multitasking environment, without destroying everything.

4. Finish what you start and fight the procrastinator in you.

  If thousands of thoughts are running in your mind constantly for things that have to be done, start doing them now. Try to finish with every task you start as soon as possible. You may think you will have time in the future, but in fact if you leave everything for the last minute, right before the deadline three more serious obligations will appear. And then "a tragical one" will be a light description of your situation.

Plaka, Athens // Περιοχή Πλάκας

Plaka, Athens // Περιοχή Πλάκας

5. Stop scaremongering.

It is perfectly reasonable and expected that in phases of excessive pressure and fatigue, you may start thinking that everything will go bad in the end, that all the hard work and your time will be wasted and that you do not deserve this. In other words, you may start behaving like you've already failed. By having such negativity, you wreck even more your already fragile psychology, which is responsible for the half of your success. Whenever you catch yourself thinking like that, try to take a step back and do a calm review of your course by far, make a better work plan and hang out more with that.

6. First work, then pleasure.

Many people have the tension to start doing irrelevant, fun and almost all things apart from their main serious project in the time being. I know that by doing so you try to avoid the excessive stress, but instead you multiply it. Because when you stop outsmarting yourself and you realize how little time you have, uh there comes panic! Let aside the fact that such an attitude won't be appreciated by your uni/work circle.

7. Take a walk!

Give yourself a break. However if this first-work-then-pleasure won't work for your stubborn brain, do something that will really relax you. Staying in front of pc/tv it's not a good idea. Basically, try to go out of your working place and forget for a while everything that stresses you. Try walking in a nice neighborhood of your city (like Plaka in Athens, see the photos). You will feel very refreshed, believe me.

8. Reward yourself!

Promise to yourself that after that after every small or big project, you will dedicate some time to do something you really like and do it. Many people work more efficiently if they have a visible target, especially when it is accompanied by a reward that they really crave. The reward can be anything from a book that you want to start reading, to a visit to some antique shops, to a coffee break with some friends that you haven't seen in a lot of time, or to a little trip. It could be everything.

So, I hoped that I helped you to deal with the excessive anxiety, what trick do you have when you are stressed?

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Despina Kortesidou

Despina Kortesidou, a master student (hello neuroscience!) and a born adventurer, founded In Whirl of Inspiration, back in 2011 when she was (just) a biology student. She loves sharing advice for eating healthier, or inspiring you to cover yourself with plants, color and confetti. She started teaching , recently, online courses for those loving food, plants and everything in between, and she has the time of her life. She has a soft spot for cheese, elder people and overanalyzation.