Extra responsibility has many benefits in developing our skills and confidence. However, too much can leave us feeling stretched and stressed.
As a society leader and student you may face many conflicting demands. It can be overwhelming trying to juggle both society work and your course work as well as life!
When things get too busy, it is really important to step away, take a break and assess how you are feeling. This is called ‘being mindful’. Remember, there are only so many balls you can juggle at one time.
The Pressure Curve
Being mindful means taking a step back from the doing for a moment to pay attention to our thoughts and feelings and pin point ‘where’ we currently are on the pressure curve.
Regularly ‘checking-in’ on ourselves is a very powerful positive practice as it helps us to take control and make any adjustments needed to stay at the right point.
When there’s only 1 or 2 small things on your ‘To Do List’ you are likely to put off doing them. This is because there is no real urgency. You may feel unmotivated, tired and bored and so procrastinate, leaving things to the very last minute – once a bit of pressure has built up.
When your ‘To Do List’ is just right you feel great! Purposeful, motivated and satisfied, you’re performing tasks so well – you’re on fire! The danger here is that you can start to feel like a super hero and keep on saying ‘yes’ to things, but don’t forget – you can only juggle so many balls!
This is the point at which you perform best in and should be mindful to stay in. Always remember, it’s ok to say NO if it’s too much. If the tasks keep mounting up you run the danger of tipping over into the bad side of the pressure curve.
When your ‘To Do List’ becomes too much, time starts going faster and you may feel like you must go faster to keep up! This is where it gets dangerous as all mindfulness goes out the window. You work harder, faster, longer, when what you really need to do it STOP. Take a pause and see how you can reduce the pressure to get back to the good side.
Prioritising the list to put things in order of what ‘needs/must’ be done next will help you focus on one-thing-at-a-time. Speak to your committee to share out the urgent tasks, if they can’t help you some tasks will have to be dropped. Perhaps the plans were too ambitious (it’s easy to get carried away with excitement) now a few adjustments should be made to scale down the activity/event – this is far better than putting your mental health at risk.
Be realistic, if there are too many tasks that ‘need’ and ‘must’ be done right now, is this even physically possible to achieve by yourself? If the answer is ‘just about, if I pull an all nighter’ the real answer is NO.
The more you neglect yourself to get the work done (not getting enough sleep, eating poorly, drinking energy drinks, not taking breaks, not drinking enough water) the more you will run yourself down and the more difficult it will become to perform the tasks. You will feel stressed, confused and unable to concentrate. This is when we enter very dangerous territory!
No one should ever get to this stage. At this point you won’t care about the ‘To Do List’ anymore or sadly anything else. You will feel completely run down, over tired and angry and unlikely to even come into university.
Be mindful at every stage of the pressure curve, we NEVER want you to burnout.
Take note of how you are feeling, try to never go over the top of the pressure curve as this can spiral into burnout.
Where to get help?
Talk to the rest of your Committee, ask for help with the work load.
Prioritise your workload and break down tasks and projects into manageable bite-size chunks.
Ask the Societies Team for help and advice.
Talk to Union Support for free impartial advice on anything that is negativity effecting your university experience.