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Thursday, October 31, 2013

Managing Stress in College: An Action Plan

From Smart Kids with LD

October 28, 2013

Having a learning disability in college means dealing with a lot of stress. I made this diagram of all of the aspects of my life that have to be managed to keep my stress level as low as possible.

This is what works for me, but everyone is different. Use this template to devise an action plan that works for you.

Inside: My college has single rooms, which give me private space to de-stress. Items from home make my room comfy: lots of big pillows, photo collages, candles (flameless). I keep my room organized with storage bins and an extra clothes rack.

Outside: I bring my laptop outside to study and I also walk to a nearby café for a relaxing change of scenery.

Day: I have insomnia, which makes keeping a regular schedule even harder. I try to stay away from caffeine, or at least not drink anything caffeinated after noon.

Night: I try to go to bed at the same time every night during the school week. I set an alarm on my phone for 30 minutes before bed to turn off all electronics (they stimulate the brain), and mute my cell phone. I sleep with a fan running—it’s relaxing, plus the sound helps drown out dorm noise.

Time: The BIGGEST factor! Starting EARLY and PLANNING AHEAD are the biggest ways to reduce stress. I have a dry-erase calendar of the entire semester on my wall so I can see big papers, projects and tests all in one area.

I carry a planner with me at all times. I make a To-Do list for every week, breaking up reading and writing assignments into manageable daily pieces. I review my class notes every week so I don’t have to relearn everything before tests.

Extra: Something that gives you joy. I take acting class every week, and I love it!

Reward: After working hard I reward myself by watching movies or favorite TV shows on Netflix.

Eat/Drink: I am a picky eater, so I keep PBJ ingredients in my room in case the cafeteria menu is bad. I keep a water bottle with me to keep me away from caffeine and soda when I am thirsty.

Move: I sign up for a PE class every semester, so I exercise 3-4 days/week.

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