How to deal with stress during an online semester

Hey my loves,

the entire world is still dealing with this pandemic and while everyone’s life has been influenced by it, one that has influenced me the most is the shift in how my College deals with it. It is now my second semester with just online classes and I don’t know about you, but I find online semesters a lot more stressful. While I do think it is necessary to deal with this pandemic accordingly, and I am for online classes, I do feel like some of the lecturers, as the students, are overwhelmed with the situation and how to deal with it.

But, why?

First of all, a lot of the work lays with us, the students. If the lecturer decides to do an asynchron class, which means no video calls or uploaded video presentation, we have to do a lot of work to show that we do something for this class and did enough to gain the credit points. But even if the class is synchron, which means you have video calls or chats each week at the same time, you have to do a lot more than usually. Or at least, it feels like it. For a lot of students, even me, this means more stress and a lot of planning. And for a lot of students this is hard, because they do not know how to plan everything right.

I currently have nine classes, two are for my electives, which means I have seven classes for my major. I plan on writing two papers and take one oral exam, the rest of the classes I am doing for the credit points. This is a lot for a semester and I know that, but I have reasons for this. I am a semester away from starting my master thesis and I want to give myself enough time and space to do it right, which is why I want to have a pretty full semester now. I could have done it differently, but I personally am pretty organized and have found ways to deal with the stress.

Here’s how to deal with stress during an online semester

Almost everything will work again if you unplug it for a few minutes, including you.

Plan everything out

I personally find it very helpful to have a weekly to do list. I like to write my task for each individual class with deadlines down and add things like home stuff to have an overall view. I also like to assign time slots in my calendar to the individual tasks. I plan the synchron classes and the asynchron classes the same, if I have a time slot free between classes where a asynchron class is assigned I will use this time to take a break but also to start the work for the asynchron class. It’s also a great feeling to tick off the to do list. Sometimes it gets overwhelming to see what you have to do in a week, so I like to make sure to categorize them in order of importance. Under each class I put the thing I definitely have to do and which needs the most time and then move forward to the next thing.

Take breaks

Breaks are very important especially when your doing all the work from home. In between classes I have around thirty minutes that I usually spent snacking, watching YouTube, shake my legs or do something at home that does not involve College work. I also make sure to have a lunch break around the same time every day that way I keep a routine down. For more about my daily routine, check out my blog entry from the other day:

It’s okay to ask for an extension

This is a difficult time and it is a stressful time, which is why a lot of lecturers a willing to give some extra time on your hand-ins and exercises. Just be truthful. It happens to the best of us. Accepting that you cannot do it all is sometimes the only way to accept the stress and deal with it properly. But, if you have a good plan and stick to it, it won’t be often that you will have to ask for more time.

Make sure to eat right

It sounds stupid, right? But, I have found that if you take time out of your day to prepare a whole meal and a healthy one at that it helps with keeping up your stamina. I like to eat at least two times a time a meal with vegetables or fruit. Meals and snacks that are well balanced keep your mind sharp and your energy level highs. Try to avoid highly processed food and too much sugar, I also found that I like to keep my caffeine intake low. If I do drink a coffee I like to keep the number at one.

Set boundaries

It is so easy to just keep working into the late hours, but a good night sleep is very important in stressful times. I personally do not work longer than around 7 pm. Everything over that just keeps me up at night. Sometimes, especially when you have something due, it can be difficult to stick to this timeframe, but for most days of the week I like to make sure that around 7 pm I am closing my laptop.

Do something besides College work

If you have a lot to do it is hard to find time to do something other than your College duties, but it is so important to make some time for family or friends or a hobby. I personally like to go for a walk or meet up with a friend to cook and watch a movie. But, whatever works for you is the best. I would suggest doing something physical, because we do tend to sit for a long time.

What do you like to do in stressful times to calm yourself? Let me know in the comments I would love to know.

I wish you all a wonderful day!

XoXo, Jasmin

Online Semester – Tips & Tricks

Hey my loves,

Like many of you I am bound to stay at home and have my summer semester at home. This is a scary time, so I thought it would be nice to tell you some of my tips and tricks on how I organize while studying and working from home. 

I am actually doing two master’s degree so my situation might be a little different than yours, but I feel like what I am about tell you applies to pretty much every college student. My semester was supposed to start early April, but because of the current situation my college decided to push the start off the semester for two weeks. Both my colleges actually pushed their start date, which meant I had a little bit more time to get adjusted to the new normal.

Now, I had a pretty rough period of adjusting around the end of March, but I made quick changes with my situation, so I could bare the situation a lot easier. If you want I can write a post about how I stay sane during this quarantine. Let me know in the comments.

Schedule your day

I know, everyone keeps saying this, but this actually does help. If you have a set schedule for each day you are likely to be more motivated and get stuff done. My lecturers have for the most part decided to not use any form of Zoom, although a handful does like to keep that option open. If you have classes that are on Zoom that actually helps a lot, because you need to sit at your laptop and actually do some school work. But, if your situation is like mine, here’s how you can schedule your day.

Set an alarm 

Sleeping in sounds good until you have to go back to normality. What I like to do is to set an alarm each day, even if it is a late one, just so I get out of back and start my day. 

Take time in the morning for yourself

Now, I’m normally an out of bed in my clothes and makeup and let’s-go type of gal, but since I am home I can actually take some time for myself. What I like to do is, first thing, is to wash my face or shower and put on some casual wear, sweatpants are totally okay. It helps me so much to wake up and feel productive if I get a little ready, so on some days I even put on a little bit of makeup, mostly for the days I have a Skype Call for work. I would do it normally, so why not in Quarantine, too.

Separate eating from work

One thing I learned is: take time to make a decent meal and eat it not while you’re working. It is so easy to just snack all the time or not eat healthy during this time, so taking time out of your day to cook and prepare good and nutritious food is so helpful. But, in my case cooking everyday can actually be difficult because I am that busy, so what I like to do is on the days I have a little more time I cook a bunch more so I have leftover’s for the days where I don’t have the time.

Write a To-Do List

Writing down each task you want to accomplish is essential for me. I like to do a weekly to-do list and write down deadlines next to it, so that I am free to do each day what I want to do but also am reminded of what definitely has to be don. If you get what I mean. And also, checking of something of a physical to-do list is just SO satisfying. Don’t you think?

Limit your work time

It is so easy to overwork yourself at home. Trust me, I know. While it is sometimes hard to get motivated, once you are it’s easy to stop yourself, because, well you basically have nothing stopping you. So what I like to do, is make sure to stop at a decent time each day. If I have a later start to the day I let myself work a little longer, and vice-versa. 

Go outside.

Confusing, right? But, you are actually for the most part allowed to get some fresh air into your system. I like to go on a 20 to 40 minute walk each evening, just to move my body a little and get some fresh air. If you are not allowed to do so, open a window and do a quick workout at home. Physical activity is so important especially for your mental health.

Make time to talk to people.

I know what gets me into a good mood and that is talking to friends and family, before, after and during work. It just gets me motivated. Talking to a friend is so helpful, because you can motivate each other. Just find what works for you.

Don’t stress yourself.

The most important thing during this whole thing is: DON’T STRESS YOURSELF. Seriously, if you don’t get something done, if you are stuck in front of Netflix an entire day, if you eat crappy: that is okay. This is a difficult and weird time and we don’t have to be perfect and productive each day. Be verbal about what you need and what you can do. If it’s too much, just tell someone. It helps.

I hope I could give you a good insight into my day and that some of the tips may help you too.

Stay safe.

XoXo, Jasmin.

My Last Semester as a Bachelor Student

Hey my loves,

Over a week ago I started my last week as a bachelor student. It’s finally the time to finish this and write my thesis. I can’t believe that I finished all of my exams and only have some courses left. It’s so weird thinking about the last six years especially about how far I’ve come. Honestly, never thought this time would actually come, but here it is.

I have a tough three and a half months ahead of me, but even though I might moan a lot about it, I’m ready for it.

A dream written down with a date becomes a goal.

A goal broken down into steps becomes a plan.

A plan backed by action becomes reality.

Greg Reid

I have a to do list that is as long as my arm and I have to make so many decisions in the next few week, which kind of scares me a lot. But change is good sometimes, change sometime needs to happen. And I feel like this is one of those times where I need to move on.

My bachelor thesis is official registered and I have a due date. It is kind of super exciting to finally get into that phase of the work, but it also means I do have to work twice as hard as the last few months.

Are there any blog post regarding writing a bachelor thesis or papers you would like me to write? Let me know in the comments.

I wish you all a wonderful day!

XoXo, Jasmin.

The best view comes after the hardest climb.

What I Learned from my Social Media Detox

Hey my loves,

So, it’s been a while, huh? Now, I wanted to share my experience about my month off of social media with you. I decided at the end of December 2018 that I needed a little break from social media, just to focus on my work for College as well as to concentrate on my mental health. 

Here’s what I did:

  • I rearranged all my apps into folders on my phone and shut down all notifications. The only noise my phone was making was when I got a phone call.
  • Rather than to completely shut of the notifications from WhatsApp and iMessage I let the messages pop up without making a sound, just so that if I were to pick up my phone I would see that somebody messaged me. I didn’t want to cut of contact to my friends, since I am not in school anymore so I rarely see everyone.
  • I also did not go on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or Snapchat for an entire month. I did open Instagram once, but mainly because I’ve forgotten to turn of the notification count on it and got a message and it drove me insane not knowing what was going on. After that I turned that off, too.

Here’s what I learned:

  • Taking time off of social media is extremely hard and you need a lot of self-control. For the first few days I felt so much FOMO (fear of missing out) that I almost quit, but I kept telling myself: “Girl, it’s just pictures, it’s just some stupid news. You don’t have to see everything.” And that actually helped quite a lot.
  • I learned that I cherish a message a lot more when I actually take the time to properly read and answer and that I don’t need to answer right away. That the “sorry for answering so late”-feeling I got before, what just absolute garbage. I am not obliged to answer my messages with a certain time frame, I am not obliged to answer them at all. I answer, because I want to.
  • A lot of social media is fake. A lot of news are fake. A lot of what is shared is absolute nonsense.
  • I miss sharing moments with friends who cannot be there.
  • I like being connected to the world.
  • Being “offline” is the best way to re-center yourself and get a fresh perspective on things.
  • Sometimes a little deflection isn’t the worst, but not always necessary.
  • Put your phone down, when you want to go to sleep.

Have you ever gone a month offline? Tell me in the comments, I would love to know what your experiences were.

I wish you all a wonderful day!

XoXo, Jasmin.

How I Deal with Stress – An Honest Answer

Hey my loves,

a couple of weeks ago I talked about how I managed to write three papers simultaneously, as well about my personal development story, so I thought it was about time that I talk about how I deal with stress. This also comes at a time where a lot of things are happening and I am under a lot of stress.

honesty.png

As I am writing this I am laying in my bed dealing with the last bits of my cold that knocked me out an entire week and has put me back with work for college a lot more than I would like. The past three, almost four, weeks haven been stressful on so many levels. About three and a half weeks ago I had a bad fall, which ended with me in a cast on my foot and pain in my arm. My doctor prescribed me rest and I took it, for three days instead of the two weeks he told me to. But I am almost healed now and do not have much pain anymore, so all is good. But that kinda just started a mountain of new stressful things. As college has started again in the beginning of October I found it hard to find a balance between eating right, taking time for myself, working out, as well as maintaining the oversight about the work I have to do for College. So instead of using my new learned tools I tumbled down a path of unhealthy choices and no-time spend for myself which ultimately led to me being irritable, in a bad mood and not taking care of myself enough. The stress level only got higher when I was not able to workout because of my fall.

Well, long story short, PMS kicked also in, harder than it had been the last six months and I was, and for most of the week, I still am a mess full of anxiety attacks and mood swings, but weirdly enough this week of being sick with the cold is turning everything around again. Last week I turned 27 and I had two of my best friends with me and we had the most fun I had in a while. We had a dance session for almost an hour and it just felt so good to feel my body and to exercise, quite frankly. But the day after, I got sick and hit with it hard. But instead of letting myself get dragged down by it even more I decided enough is enough, the moments I feel better I do something for myself. In the past two days, where I have been feeling a lot better, I even had mini dance session of ten minutes for myself. And, let me tell you, how good that felt, even though I was exhausted after it and fell straight asleep.

Now, this post is supposed to be about how I deal with stress, but the truth is: I do not know. Because every time I think I have an answer to it, something new comes up and throws me off-balance. But what I do know is that if you keep a positive attitude a lot of the things might not be as bad as they seem. And sometimes it is okay, not to be okay.

But one thing I want to make sure is that my PMS is not getting as bad next time as it was this time, and in order to do so I have to make sure to put my health, mentally and physically, first again. As soon as I am no longer sick, I will get back into a routine workout situation and as of this week I am trying to figure out a way to incorporate healthy lifestyle and food choices into my busy life again. Basically, I started WW again, just to keep myself motivated to eat healthy and to eat at all. Most of my days I simply forget or am too tired to cook or eat at all, and that’s not a lifestyle I want to live.

So I guess my tip for you would be to take it one step, one day at a time and just realize that you do not have to be on your A-game all the time that it is okay to put yourself, your health and your mental health first.

I hope you all have a wonderful day!

XoXo, Jasmin.

How I Dealt With Stress While Writing 3 Papers Simultaneously

Hey my loves,

Last week I talked about my personal development story so I thought it would only be fitting to talk about how I deal with stress in a little bit more detail and especially focus on how I managed to write three papers simultaneously and prepare an oral exam.

Now the ideal procedure is to write one paper after the other and have about two months to finish each of them. Well, I didn’t have that pleasure, I had to write them simultaneously and two of them actually had their due date in the same week. But I managed to do them, and I actually did pretty good.

And here’s how I did it.

how i deal with stress.jpeg

I made an individual plan to follow for each of the papers, as well as one for the oral exam. The only thing I didn’t to is set myself due dates for certain aspects, because I, for myself, know that it does not work for me. And, because usually you have at least two or three problems with the paper – may it be just phrasing problem or a blockade.

Here’s what I did before I enrolled my papers:

  • I discussed with my lecturers possible topics and then I researched it.
  • I compiled a list of literature that I wanted to check out and then I actually went into the library and copied anything that was remotely connected to my thesis.
  • After reading all of the secondary literature I wrote out the citations on my computer and then organized them after the sub-topics. That way it was easier for me to keep an overview of the citations.

I did these steps for all four exams. And then I enrolled my papers, the enroll-time for the oral exam is only four weeks before the date.

Here’s what I did after enrolling:

  • I made sure to only work on one paper on a day. This meant that I wouldn’t have as much time as I should have, but allowed me to have a better overview of my work.
  • I also made sure to spend some quality offline. Meaning I spent time with friends or family that gave me enough space to never feel burned out. I feel like the time I spent with them or went into the gym gave me the needed energy.
  • I am a person who works and does not like to stop until a certain thing is achieved. So on the day I was working on a paper I set myself mini goals, approximately so far apart that I could take a break for lunch and be finished around dinner time. That way I was able to finish two to four sub-items each day, sometimes more, sometimes less.
  • I also made sure to write with the correct formalities, so that I would not have to alter them after I was done. Furthermore, I made sure to write down every secondary literature into my bibliography as soon as I used one. Also in the correct and asked for formality.

I also had a friend proofread for me, which was super helpful, because most of the time after writing so much, you don’t see your own mistakes anymore.

Here’s how I dealt with the stress:

  • As I said I made sure to spend quality time offline with friends and family.
  • In also liked working out on the days I worked on my papers or go for a walk just so I get a little bit of exercise that day.
  • Furthermore I made sure to eat good and healthy meals, so my brain was fueled with energy and had the tools to work in overtime.
  • I also made sure to never work longer than 9 pm. So that I had enough time to switch off my brain and have some me-time before bed.

I hope that this gave you a good insight on how I deal with stress especially in regards to College time management and stressful finals time.

I wish you all a wonderful day!

XoXo, Jasmin.