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  • Writer's pictureEllie Hales

Dealing with stress...

Updated: Jun 10, 2022

I have found that finding a work/university balance has been difficult recently. Learning how to juggle working multiple jobs alongside university deadlines is trickier than I imagined. At Undergraduate level, when deadlines were looming, I would take time away from work but due to the lack of student loan at Master's level, this just isn't an option. This push and pull between completing assignments, working towards my career and needing to pick up cash in hand bar shifts to make rent has been stressful.

It is due to this that I decided to ask for an extension to the Critical Review module. I wanted to be able to give my all to the module, but I have been struggling to make time for reflection, let alone carrying out the research that I intended to. This extension will give me time to focus on this module solely, and will also allow me to reflect on my time in Cannes, which I'm hoping will be a defining moment for my personal growth.

Something I have become aware of by taking on freelance roles, is how I need to approach my mental health. Previously, I had always been contracted to roles for years at a time, which meant everyone knew each other and understood each other's struggles. Whist managing venues, I was often the person people came to to discuss their mental health struggles, and I would arrange for people to take time off or alter their responsibilities if needed. Now that I am self employed, or employed for organisations on short contracts, I am in charge of managing my own stress and it is more difficult to express if I am feeling overwhelmed or anxious to people I only interact with for short periods of time.

I have realised that this is something I need to be considerate of going forward and I have a few ideas I will implement to protect my mental health:

  1. Reflect - take time to reflect on how I am feeling regularly, aim to keep a diary to track patterns

  2. Remember to say 'no' sometimes when asked if I could take on extra work - although I want to gain as much experience as possible I have a tendency to take on too much at one time

  3. Create routines and plan ahead - know what I need to complete each day so that I don't feel panicked

  4. Switch off - allow myself to take time out, socialise without checking emails or feeling guilty

  5. Be realistic - remember that I am only at the stat of my career, I am already developing my practices positively, there is no need to rush.

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