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5 easy ways to manage your stress

1. Accept there is no such thing as a stress-free life

Unless you have no responsibilities or cares in the world, you will have some stress in your life. It's just a fact. However, you can always manage your stress. Just because you get tense and anxious at times, it doesn't mean those feelings have to consume you. Stress only becomes a problem if you don't deal with it in a healthy way.

2. Use a planner

We tend to get stressed when we feel we don't have control or when we feel overwhelmed. Having a planner or a calendar is an effective way to stay on top of things. If you are a student or have a job, having a way to plan out your day and to mark important deadlines is crucial. Write down appointments you have, and if you're a student, use the planner to mark your assignment due dates and make a study schedule for tests and exams. This is a tool that puts you back in control and you are less likely to panic if you know what's coming up and are prepared.

3. Cut toxic people out of your life

This was a very tough but important lesson for me to learn. We get to choose the majority of people we have in our lives. These people should support you and make you feel good about your potential in life. Getting into a fight with a friend or significant other is normal but if you always feel like they put you down and are causing a lot of negative emotions, REMOVE THEM FROM YOUR LIFE. I lived with someone I thought was a good friend my second year in university but she was dismissive, gossipy and treated our home like it was hers alone. Moving out and cutting ties with her was one of the best decisions I've ever made.

4. Follow an exercise routine

Exercise is very important - not only for your health but for your mind. Exercise releases endorphines and puts you into a happy, peaceful place. I have been a ballet dancer for the past 10 years and I absolutely love it. I take the RAD (Royal Academy of Dance) exams so not only am I artistically expressing myself but I am doing so with purpose and a goal. We are all different so nobody is going to like the same type of exercise but there is something out there for everyone! Find a form of excersise that you like and try to do it on a regular basis!

5. Practice mindfulness and self-awareness

Being self-aware is really important. Many people including myself have certain self-defeating tendencies. I can get completely overwhelmed by bumps in the road, large and small. It is very important to be honest with ourselves because we can't change other people. We can only make adjustments in our own actions. You unknowingly could be doing something that is creating a lot of unnecessary stress. Some common examples are overthinking and pessimism that can lead to negative self-fufilling prophecies. Meditating or using mindfulness is a way to connect with yourself and help you de-stress. Take a couple of deep breaths and relax. Focus on your breathing. Most of the stress in our lives is only temporary so taking a moment to focus on the present instead of reliving the past or worrying about the future is very freeing. If you want to meditate but have trouble getting into that mindset there are a lot of good meditation apps that take you step by step through the process.