How to Stay Sane: A Promising Guide to Stress Management in the IB DP

Written By Rash S.

Introduction

You must be thinking, here is another cringy blog written about stress management. How am I supposed to practice it when the DP workload barely permits me to do so? Doesn’t thinking about effective stress management add more to the list of things I must account for instead of decreasing my worries? I understand these questions and often still feel myself feeling that way as well. Thus, precisely because of these concerns, in this blog post, I attempt to move beyond the generic advice that is usually given for stress management such as taking time out for yourself and various types of recommended exercises. I uncover why stress management is vital, hopefully providing you with newfound insights and reflect on its fruitful benefits. Furthermore, I discuss stress management specifically under the light of the IB DP. I end by directing you to various substantive methods you can use to manage your stress levels.

 The Importance of Stress Management

Stress management is not only necessary for good grades but it is required for your mental and physical health as well. It may appear to be counterintuitive in that it may seem more effective to start studying or delve into the activity that you have to complete immediately instead of taking a walk or penning down your thoughts, for example. However, if the racing thoughts and bottled-up feelings are not dealt with through a healthy and sustainable method, they remain in the backdrop, either consciously or subconsciously, affecting your mood and productivity. Therefore, it is pivotal to learn the skill of stress management, to maintain a healthy and fulfilling relationship with yourself and those around you.

Furthermore, effective stress management is a slow process; it must be learned and acquired through practice. Hence, begin attempting various stress management techniques as soon as possible, finding the ones that are most suitable for yourself and practicing them until they become second nature. The sooner you can do this, the easier time you will have in adapting to various situations in your life; may this be having to interact with a “bad” teacher, adjusting to university, and/or liking yourself a little bit more. Whilst I have mentioned the long-term effects of stress management thus far, it is also linked to positive short-term outcomes such as improved concentration and mood. Nonetheless, keep in mind that the activities you select for stress management must be employed properly and consistently for them to actually work. You will not see immediate changes, but rather eventual ones.

Stress Management in the IB

1-Invest in Hobbies & Turn them into CAS

Being able to register some of your hobbies for CAS will enable you to satisfy some of the requirements for it without it feeling like a burden. You can cultivate your hobbies, try new activities, and attempt to do “targeted” activities, which may arguably be the most difficult to do, yet, it yields the potentially best results. It involves keeping university applications in mind and engaging currently in activities related to the program that you would like to take at university. This will help your CV and essays stand out in your university applications and will allow you to gain some work experience in the field you would like to pursue. For instance, if you are interested in Political Science, joining a debate team and/or volunteering for a feminist organization can help as it allows you to develop relevant skills that the university admissions office team is searching for in candidates. Moreover, it can aid you in starting to build a network and may provide you with clarity regarding potential career prospects that the degree you aspire to attain offers.

2-Time Management

Inevitably, time management is crucial for stress management and is deeply intertwined with it. Hence, necessities such as getting sufficient hours of sleep, eating well, and exercising are essential foundations for successful time and stress management. Planning well can aid you to avoid (often unnecessary) anxiety. I suggest using Google Calendar to organize key deadlines, remember meetings, and lock in leisure time such as hangouts with your friends, and so on.

Additionally, choose an appropriate place to study or complete tasks to maximize your productivity. If you are someone that cannot study at home, going to a library or a cafe, for instance, could be a good option. It will keep most distractions out of sight and seeing others’ work will motivate you too to focus.

3-Effective Stress Management Techniques

For academic stress and to help you excel in any subject, I recommend getting a tutor if you have not tried this yet. They can clarify any doubts, provide new strategies and techniques for exam writing, and boost your academic confidence. As for mental health, try to reach out to your school psychologist. They are there to listen and can refer you to mental health services outside of the school setting as well if they find it necessary. Meanwhile, I would like to refer you to this website for some self-help resources.

 Conclusion

I hope this blog post was not too cringey to read 😉 I hope it was thought-provoking and that you found it to be incisive. Whilst it is true that trusting the process and being patient are needed, keep in mind that things don’t just happen and you must make them happen. We wish you all the best in your IB DP journey and all that life has in store for you in the near future 🙂

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