Everyone has experienced stress, some more or less than others, but it’s an unavoidable thing. There may be an overwhelming amount of work to do, problems at home or in the workplace and ultimately, it doesn’t seem like the light at the end of the tunnel will turn on anytime soon.

With the semester approaching the peak of stress weeks, assessment deadlines looming and exam studying haunting you, the stress can be very overwhelming. Sometimes you need to step back, take a deep breath and and slowly get through your set tasks. As they say, “slow and steady wins the race.” So here’s a few tips on how I deal with stress.

Make a list and tick it off

If you’ve seen the state of my laptop, you’ll see post-its with lists of things to do for the day. However, in saying that, I don’t always get them done, but it calms me knowing what I to be doing before the day ends. I love nothing more than colourful sticky notes on my walls, books and even in my car, knowing I actually make use of them.

Making lists is probably one of the fastest ways out of problematic situations. It doesn’t matter how big or small the task is, list them. Nothing will give you greater momentum than ticking something off a list.

Start with something small, something doable – it could be sending an email, or replying to a group conversation and work your way up. Prioritise your list and make the small things count.


Physical exercise can relief, reduce and prevent stress. Exercising releases endorphins that boosts your energy levels and makes you feel good, and can serve as a healthy distraction from your lists of things to do. You don’t have to be a fitness junkee or athlete to exercise, but simple fitness activities can all reduce your stress levels.

Get yourself up and start moving. Instead of using the lift, opt for the stairs instead. Take a break from work and dance for a bit, do some yoga classes. My usual car parking space is already at a far enough distance from campus, I have to walk through the Canberra cold and horrendous winds sometimes to get to my room. Spend at least ten to thirty minutes to de-stress and get up and moving from your seat. 


Regardless of the mounting work that sits awaiting your attempts at your desk, sleep is just as important as getting those assessments done. Not the sleep that becomes a refuge as well as a distraction, but getting enough hours of sleep to do productive work.

Just as exercise fuels your body, adequate sleep fuels the mind. Inadequate sleep will distract the mind, causing your mind to think irrationally and increase your stress.

Young adults need about 7-9 hours of sleep and sticking to a regular sleeping routine and pattern can benefit you a lot when dealing with stress.

Avoid caffeine and alcohol

I am a guilty coffee lover, but having too much caffeine can often result to crash mood and energy. Rather than reducing your stress levels, it will most likely increase them with the amount of effects it has for overdosing on caffeine. Alcohol serves the same purpose, acting as a depressant when taken in large quantities, and when taken in small quantities, it acts as a stimulant. Alcohol is not a helpful solution when dealing with stress, so I recommend you don’t drink any, for your sake.

Stay Positive and have a laugh

All in all, stay positive. As bad as it looks now, it’ll end someday, so keep your head up. Focus on what you’re doing now and make the small steps count. Surround yourself with positive people and people with like-attitudes of getting work done. And have a laugh, get some humour into your day; a good laugh goes a long way and as Charlie Chaplain put it “a day without laughter is a day wasted.”


Featured image by Andrew Imanaka under CC License 2.0