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Trusted Advice for Academic and Professional Success

Stress Management 101

Friday | April 3, 2020 | by WES Advisor

stress management

As an international student or immigrant professional, it can be very easy to succumb to daily stressors. These might include professional or academic stressors, such as a challenging project or a looming deadline; or personal stressors, such as an argument with a loved one or struggles with cultural adaptation.

Luckily, there are many simple practices you can implement into your everyday life to manage your stress, so it doesn’t become a burden. Read on to get stress management tips:

Prioritize Self-Care

Especially during challenging, uncertain times, you have to prioritize your health and taking care of yourself. Why is self-care so important? Because if you aren’t taking care of yourself, it’s difficult to have the energy and motivation to care for others. Self-care might look like reading a book, watching your favorite movie, listening to music, or doing whatever brings you joy and calm.

Meditate

Meditation is when you take a few minutes to slow down the activity of your mind. If this seems daunting, don’t worry. You can start small by finding a quiet place where you feel comfortable and scheduling a few minutes for yourself each day to sit and calm your mind. As you become more accustomed to sitting in silence, you can try and increase the number of minutes each day you spend meditating. You can get more tips on meditation for beginners here.

Schedule Free Time

Although it may seem silly to “schedule” free time for yourself, it is something that is very important to your mental well-being. It also helps you stick to a plan, giving you time to relax. That way, you don’t get too overwhelmed by deadlines or study sessions. Knowing that you have upcoming free time can also give you something to look forward to when you are busy.

Exercise

It’s not only a good way to stay in shape, but exercise is also proven to reduce stress levels. Exercise can help take your mind off of your worries as you produce endorphins and focus only on the movements of your body. If you don’t regularly exercise, try finding an activity (such as yoga, aerobics, biking, or climbing) you enjoy and start out slow, with manageable fitness goals until you work your way up to the level where you want to be.

Practice Being Grateful

Thinking about the things you are grateful for on a daily basis is very easy to do and can help you train your brain to think in a more positive way, which reduces your stress level. In fact, research has proven that people who write in a weekly gratitude journal have higher levels of optimism and are more effective in attaining their goals.

If keeping a journal isn’t for you, don’t worry, even the simple act of appreciating the positive aspects of your life each day can help keep you in a positive state of mind.

Simplify Your Schedule

Cramming multiple things into your day can lead to an increase in stress. See which activities you have planned that are perhaps not necessary to your success or your mental health, and try using these tips to simplify your schedule. Then, you can focus your time on the things that are the most important to you, helping you to be more productive and less stressed.

Organizing your notes and to-do lists with online tools like Evernote and Todoist, where you can access them anywhere, can help you prioritize and quickly write down items in the moment. That way you don’t forget your tasks and any thoughts that pop up during your day.

Reach Out for Support

Stress can overtake anyone, but luckily there are many ways that you can work to reduce it. It is often human nature to struggle to ask for help.

However, the simple act of reaching out—whether to a friend, colleague, family member, or mentor—to talk about how you’re feeling can alleviate some of your stress.

If you find that simple solutions still don’t work, consider seeking out a professional who can help you better manage your stress, such as a therapist or a meditation instructor. Many universities and workplaces commonly offer free sessions with these types of professionals, so it may be worth your time to contact your school or place of work and look into those options.

Related Reading

How to Deal with Academic Stress in College and Graduate School

8 Tips for Mental Health on Campus

WES Advisor is an initiative of World Education Services, a non-profit organization with over 45 years of experience in international education. We provide advice and resources for international students and skilled immigrants to help them make informed decisions about education, employment, immigration, and integration opportunities in the U.S. and Canada.