Stress Management


Sometimes you find yourself staring at a random piece of paper and think to yourself, “It would look so much prettier shredded.”

Chances are: that isn’t a random piece of paper but your homework assignment – or some extracurricular activity you signed up for impulsively because you were naive and thought you could finish that on top of your academic workload. And chances are: no, sweetheart, you can’t shred that.

(Freddy Krueger’s modus operandi might just be a demonstration of impractical stress relief, now that you think about it: that lucky nutcase.)

It’s difficult to be happy when you are constantly bounded by an intangible sense of anxiety that your work is never going to be finished. You turn your gaze elsewhere, and you see other people completing things and being productive, and you get all cranky because really, how dare they have their lives together when you don’t.

This is about the moment you grab a McDonald’s paper bag and begin wheezing into it because heaven knows how you are going to survive the semester, especially with finals looming around the corner. You are torn between watching your newest drama addiction and ripping your hair out because the mountain of things you have to do is snowballing and drama-watching should be the last of your priorities. Is this horror ever going to end?

Yes, it’s possible even without a Time-Turner, though it would certainly be helpful.

The first step is to expel the excess stress you have. There’s a reason why we say ‘stress out’ instead of ‘stress in’; you do not internalise your stress like taxes internalise negative externalities.

Need an outlet to vent your violent, pent-up frustration? Get a stress ball and squeeze the heck out of that thing – personally, the cuter those things are, the better. The psychological theory behind cute aggression is not just plain nonsense; it has truth in it and can help in expelling the tension accumulated in your body. Even the Toysmith Squawking Chicken can do the job, especially with their annoyingly loud, high-pitched screeches. The sounds of agony that it releases will probably do a good job of substituting your personal need to scream shrilly, though I would advise against doing that in the hall. You will probably get kicked out for noise pollution – we all know how soundproof our walls are. (They aren’t, just for clarification purposes.)

Music is also great for relieving stress. Of course, you don’t start blasting EDM music at 3 am in the morning just because you need a form of stress relief (You go to Zouk for that). While music preferences are entirely subjective and some of our tastes can be occasionally questionable, for the majority, the soft lull of classical music can really help soothe our very tired souls.

Even if you are not a sporty person, doing some physical exercises can help in relieving the swelling balloon of frustration you have lodged in your chest. You may argue that it’s a waste of time when you can probably cram like, five pages more of subject material into your head, but you can revise content you have studied even while exercising. Running on the bridge to UTown with your slippers slapping underneath your feet in a very maniac-like manner can also be an excellent form of stress relief.

As long as you don’t fall, that is.

The advantage of doing quirky, eccentric things in the middle of the night is that no one (no one awake, anyway) can judge you for what you are doing, and can significantly lower the risk of you being sent to NUH Singapore for a long overdue psychological examination.

Remember to give yourself time to relax, if you are a hardcore mugger; on the other hand, if you are a hardcore procrastinator, remember that final is not as far away as you would like to believe. Both examples can invite stress to come in massive waves. Rant to your friend, eat some good food, take a nap, or call the helpline; whichever method works for you, take it. It’s unhealthy to keep stress pent-up in you especially for prolonged periods of time.

We are only human.