Feelgood Friday – Destressing in Results Season
So, it turns out that stress really can turn your hair grey. Researchers at Columbia University Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons have confirmed this week that psychological stress can affect hair pigment. Fortunately, the same study suggests that a reduction in stress can cause the opposite effect, so now might be as good a time as ever to sit back and take a load off!
At EmployabilityUK, we know that the journey into July can represent a particularly stressful time both for those with whom we work and those who work with us. This is because so many of those closest to us find themselves in that limbo-like state whereby exams are over and done with, but there is still a while to wait for results. Others are waiting to embark on their first job, or perhaps even their dream job, and results can make all the difference.
For those that find themselves greying prematurely, and even those that aren’t, we bring you Feelgood Friday and four great ways to cut down on stress between now and results day.
1. Take a Moment to Focus on Your Goals
The idea of planning for the future may seem difficult when so much hinges on those same results that are causing so much stress. However, with over a month to go between now and results day for A-Level and GCSE students, the last thing you should do is put your life on hold.
The contents of that envelope may have a considerable bearing on where you go next, but there is plenty of room for progress in between.
Financial security should always be a priority, and there is no time like today to start looking for a summer job. Dedicated platforms like StudentJob.co.uk represent a great place to look, and old favourites like Indeed and TotalJobs currently have an influx of roles designed for employees that will only be there for the summer.
Even if you feel like you’ve worked hard enough this year, it is also possible to tackle additional courses and qualifications. Of course, we all hope for the best in terms of results, so it’s best to seek out opportunities that complement your grades, no matter what they may be. For example, a language course on Duolingo might bring your goals closer to fruition, or a free course on digital marketing, YouTube or WordPress from HubSpot may round out your skills and propel you in the right direction.
2. Don’t Be Afraid to Switch Off Completely
The job is now done for most people, and nothing you can do between now and results day can change your grades directly. Of course, deciding not to worry about it is easier said than done, but switching off from anything involving anything to do with education can be a great way to recharge and destress.
After an academic year of being in a particular place at a specific time, don’t ignore the opportunity to set your own schedule. Have a lie-in. Plan a day of doing nothing in particular. Spend your time on what matters to you, even if it doesn’t matter to anyone else. The art of distraction works in many scenarios but rarely is it more valuable than taking your mind off something challenging to ignore.
3. Reset Your Sleep Schedule
Stress and sleep don’t mix. Unfortunately, consistent sleep patterns and student life rarely mix either. With more free time on your hands, now is a great time to focus on getting enough rest and reaping the benefits.
The American Psychological Association refers to a vicious cycle of stress and sleep. Get too stressed, and you’ll find it difficult to sleep. Don’t get enough sleep, and you’ll find yourself more susceptible to stress during your waking hours.
This is not the first article to recommend at least eight hours each night, and it won’t be the last. It’s a worthy goal, but often an unworkable one, and not just among students. If the opportunity presents itself, don’t forget how helpful power naps can be.
If you have trouble with sleep schedules and feeling rested, there are various apps out there that can help. If you have a smartwatch, the likes of Fitbit and Apple provide sleep data and personalised guidance, while the Calm app can provide everything from sleep exercises to guided meditation.
4. Devote Time to Getting Organised
Many job descriptions nowadays require an ‘organised’ individual. In the workplace, that often means turning up on time, managing your own diary and essentially taking care of the basics without being prompted.
At home, the definition changes slightly. At EmployabilityUK, we often discuss using scheduling tools, vision boards and all manner of other techniques to focus on what matters. Being organised means having a plan. Don’t overstate the value of a tidy desk – as Einstein once said, “If a cluttered desk is a sign of a cluttered mind, of what, then, is an empty desk a sign?” Tidiness does not necessarily mean organised. Direction and strategy convey organisation.
If you have upcoming commitments, plan ahead. If you have free time, fill it with something specific, even if that ultimately means doing nothing. When keeping stress to a minimum, scheduling doing nothing at all can reap incredible benefits.
The best thing anyone can do when waiting on something, and feeling stress from anticipation, is to mix doing something enjoyable with occasionally taking time to relax. Remember, nothing you do between now and results day will change the grades on the paper, but they do not need to define what happens over the next month. Grow in other ways, take time to yourself and consider the freedom and flexibility a reward for a job well done over the past ten months.