Guest Post by Elle Wells: 5 Stress-Busting Tips for the New Year

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The holidays are over—and even though it’s back to school, it doesn’t have to be back to stress! Start the new year off on the right now with these tips from HOG guest blogger Elle Wells on ways to manage your stress and workload:

1) Exercise Breaks: So what if you just had sports practice? Take a break from your English reading every page and do some sit-ups, or walk your dog or dance. Doesn’t matter—just get moving! Natural News says that exercise burns away the chemicals called cortisol and norepinephrine that cause stress. So take one minute of exercise every 10 minutes (or 10 minutes of exercise every half-hour)—you’ll feel less stressed, and your work will show it too.

2) Plan ahead: Yes, we all hear it all the time and still procrastinate anyway, but do try to plan out your work schedule early so it doesn’t build up and become a mountain of work. If you know on Monday that you have a lot of assignments due the following Monday, START NOW.  Maybe you know you’re going to procrastinate anyway at home (see #3), so go find somewhere quiet at school to get your work done, so you have more time for your paper at home. If you know you’re going to be busy and recognize this ahead of time, you’ll find ways to get your work done.

3) Be honest with yourself: If you know you’re a procrastinator, admit it. When planning out your time, give yourself extra time to procrastinate, to do your exercise breaks (see #1), to go on the computer, catch up on TV shows or take a nap (see #4). Be honest about when you’re going to get work done. Don’t tell yourself you’re going to get it done on the bus, after you get home from an away game at 10pm or early the next morning. Know yourself: if you’re not a morning person, don’t plan to get up to get your work done, and likewise with being a night owl.

4) Rest: 
If you think staying up till 4am to get your paper done is going to help you, it’s not. Your work isn’t going to be your best, you’re going to be exhausted the next day and do poorly at school for it. This goes back to planning ahead (see #2) and being honest with yourself (see #3). Don’t put yourself in a position to have to stay up all night to finish your work. It’s not going to pay off—you may have it done, but it won’t be good quality and you won’t have a good day the next day or even the next week until you can catch up on your sleep. Mark Mahowald, a professor of neurology at the University of Minnesota Medical School says any amount of sleep deprivation will diminish mental performance. So sleep! Take a power nap and wake back up to finish your work if need be.

5) Have a good escape: Have something you do everyday or every week—something that will for a moment let you forget about your homework and school. Maybe it’s sports, drama or watching a movie. Whatever it is, it should be something that makes you 100% happy. This will give you more motivation to get your work done and will put you in a better mood when it’s time to sit down and tackle your work.

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