It’s okay to step away from work

Meetings, work, class, homework and studying. These are a few of my daily activities, and I know many other students are dealing with similar stressful schedules. These appointments and planned studying times are usually scheduled back-to-back, all leading up to 8 or 9 p.m. Then I go home and do more homework, write a paper or study for that midterm before crashing at midnight.

Day after day of this routine can cause stress and sleepless nights. It’s my senior year, and it seems like time is going by faster than ever; all I had planned for this semester was hanging out with friends, fixing up my resume for potential employers and studying occasionally. However, that’s not what my schedule looks like. Currently, my planner for this week contains at least three sticky notes of to-do lists, lines filled with things I need to study or remember and a note reminding me to call my mom.

Senior year is exhausting. After watching a video about vacation and leisure in other countries, I realized how little downtime Americans get. In France, employees get five weeks of vacation time, as opposed to the standard two weeks in America. This past weekend, I didn’t touch my homework until Sunday afternoon because my family came to town for Homecoming. Sure, it was a little more stressful since I had less time to focus on homework with my family diverting my attention, but the distraction of their company made me take a step back and realize that I don’t have many more fun work-free days left in college.

Taking the time for myself really helped refresh me for this next week. I enjoyed not focusing on appointments, homework or term papers. Taking time to relax is crucial for stress levels, even if it means nothing more than lying down and staring at the ceiling or taking a walk around campus.

Teachers should also be more understanding of students with anxiety and other stressors such as work and projects in other classes. It seems like professors schedule tests at the same time as homecoming and fall break. Not only does this add stress, it also causes students to not enjoy the traditions and fellowship with other students.

Letting your mind rest can help you relax, reduce anxiety levels and even reduce levels of fatigue, according to The Mayo Clinic. One of the best ways to do this is by taking frequent study breaks. When I have a big paper or test to study for, I turn off my phone and study for 25 minutes, distraction free; then, I take five minutes to relax and rest my mind. Another way to study is by studying for one subject and then take an hour to chill out. There are other ways to relax as well — taking a day off from studying to enjoy your hobbies such as running or reading is one example.

Now I am making sure to manage my time better in order to enjoy my last year at Baylor. I am trying to commit to fewer activities and fitting in time to study during the day instead of at night. I think everyone should enjoy his or her time in college, not look back and remember stress and anxiety.