- October 23, 2023
- Posted by: Igbaji Chinwendu
- Category: Project Writing Guide
Managing Stress in Project Writing: 5 Factors exposing students to stress & anxiety and 7 steps to manage them
Humans often experience stress and anxiety in various aspects of our lives. However, as students, we are saddened by various academic tasks that stress us out and put us in a state of anxiety. This includes but is not limited to attending lectures, assignments, and examinations. Nevertheless, among the various academic tasks of students, project writing ranks at the top of the major stressors.
Hardly is there any student, irrespective of their education, who doesn’t feel any stress and anxiety when it comes to their final project, thesis, or dissertation. Thus, it is crucial to provide you with some tips on managing these situations, especially in project writing. However, before delving deep into this post’s essence, let’s look at stress and anxiety.
What is Stress and Anxiety?
Stress is a psychological and physiological reaction to demands or pressures from the external environment. It is seen as a natural response when people consider a situation overwhelming or challenging. Some common signs that you are stressed include but are not limited to sleep disorder, difficulty concentrating, irritability, muscle tension, and increased heart rate. However, some stress levels are inspiring and can improve performance. Still, chronic or excessive stress can have a devastating on the mental and physical health of individuals.
On the other hand, anxiety is an apprehensive or uneasy feeling about the outcomes of known and unknown future events. Its common signs include racing thoughts, restlessness, and excessive worry. Anxiety can be triggered by conditions that are either general or specific.
What Project Writing-Related Factors Expose Students to Stress And Anxiety?
Project writing is never an easy course, but it is inevitable if you must complete your academic program. However, students are exposed to several factors that can contribute to their stress and anxiety levels during project writing. These include but are not limited to the following:
- Time Pressure
One major factor that stresses students is the pressure of completing their projects within a stipulated timeframe. The thought of not being capable of meeting project deadlines is capable of increasing students’ stress levels.
Project supervisors often want their students to turn in quality research projects. Hence, perfection is often the goal of students in their project writing to get good grades. These strive for perfection often the anxiety and stress levels of students.
- Uncertain Expectations
Uncertainties about what is expected of students in their projects often result in confusion and anxiety, especially if your supervisor is either impatient to guide you clearly or does not often have the time to guide you through the process. These uncertainties regarding students’ expectations often make it difficult to plan and write your project effectively.
- Poor Time Management
Time management is vital if you must turn in quality project work within the stipulated timeframe. However, a lack of effective time management skills can make project writing difficult and significantly contribute to stress and anxiety during project writing. Poor time management can manifest in various forms, including poor task prioritization and procrastination, which can overwhelm students, increasing their stress levels.
- Lack of Confidence
Undoubtedly, most students dread project writing, which is a clear manifestation of self-doubts and loss of confidence in completing their projects successfully. This situation often leads to anxiety. This loss of confidence can emanate from fear of failure, negative prior experiences or hearing the negative experiences of others.
Stress and Anxiety Management Tips During Project Writing
Having explored the various factors that can cause stress and anxiety during project writing, it is time to provide you with some tips on managing them. Hence, here are some tips for managing stress and anxiety in the context of project writing:
- Project Planning and Organization
Developing a detailed project writing plan and timeline can significantly reduce stress and anxiety. Dividing your project work into smaller components or tasks with a particular timeframe for completion can make the workload more manageable and stress-free if followed effectively. This method can also assist you in maintaining focus and tracking your output.
- Set Achievable Targets
Avoid setting unachievable targets and expectations for yourself. Rather, set targets that are attainable within our limits. You also need to know that perfection is not always achievable and target doing your best instead of aiming for flawlessness.
- Engage in Self-care Practices
Taking care of your mental and physical well-being is vital in managing anxiety and stress. Participating in stress-reducing and relaxation-promoting activities like spending time with loved ones, deep breathing exercises, meditating, and other recreational activities can help reduce stress and anxiety. Furthermore, avoiding excessive consumption of caffeine and alcohol, maintaining a balanced diet, and prioritizing sleep can also go a long way in reducing stress and anxiety.
- Effective Time Management
Create strategies for managing time effectively to avoid feeling overwhelmed. Prioritize tasks according to urgency and importance, and apportion specific timeframe for your project. Evade procrastination by setting achievable deadlines for every task and being accountable to yourself.
- Seek support
Project writing can sometimes be very tedious and confusing; hence, do not hesitate to seek support where and when necessary. Discuss your project-related concerns with your supervisor and colleagues for new ideas, and if there are matters of personal concern, discuss them with your close friends and family members who can provide you with social and emotional support. In addition, you may consider seeking professional counselling if not you are not getting adequate support from family and friends.
- Challenge Negative Ideas and Thoughts
Low self-confidence and negative thoughts can add stress and anxiety when writing your project. Thus, you must practice and develop the habit of abstaining from negative thoughts and energies and focusing on positive ones. Substitute self-criticism with self-compassion and remind yourself of prior achievements and capacities.
- Take Periodic Breaks
It is crucial to take breaks periodically when writing a project to avoid “writer’s block” and writer’s cramp” to maintain productivity. Participate in leisure activities that help you reboot, such as listening to music, taking a walk, or playing video or indoor games.
Stress and anxiety are common physical and mental occurrences; don’t be scared when you exhibit signs of stress and anxiety. However, it is hoped that you find these tips useful so you can embark on your project writing in a stress and anxiety-free manner. Furthermore, it is important to note that the tips for managing stress and anxiety herein can be useful when encountering similar conditions in different contexts.