Earlier this week I was talking with my sister. She was feeling a bit stressed, especially since her semester finals are coming up. This is a pretty typical reaction to finals, or with any big project/opportunity/test on the horizon. She was wondering about some different ways to relieve her stress, and so I came up with seven ways to reduce stress (later that day, she texted me and told me that after following these tips, she was feeling much better):
- Continue to eat. Your brain and body are working hard. Obviously, your body and brain need fuel to operate and to operate well. Unfortunately, when we are stressed, our appetite is one of the first things to go. Still, try to find ways to get some nutrition. I find that healthy smoothies and shakes can be extremely effective in these situations.
- Drink tea. A nice warm cup of tea always soothes me and make me feel better. Two of my favorites, especially when I’m a little stressed, are mint and chamomile. Both are relaxing and tasting.
- Take breaks. You can’t work non-stop for hours on end; you will burn out. Take a short break to get up, move around, rest your brain, and refresh. I usually like to take a five or ten minute break every hour, and every few hours I stop completely for an hour or so. In college when I was pulling all-nighters to finish an essay or project, I almost always took a break around three in the morning to play some video games. My productivity and concentration was always higher after these breaks.
- Listen to soothing music. This one is a tremendous help for me. I always find that when I listen to some relaxing music, my brain stops racing so much, my breath slows and deepens, I can think clearer, and I just feel better. Obviously, people have their different music tastes, but I usually go with some reggae or Frank Sinatra (classical music is a big one too, but for some reason I am not a huge fan).
- Exercise. Whenever I am stressed, I always find a way to workout. It doesn’t matter if I have three tests the next day, a huge presentation, or a final interview to prepare for; I am going to find a way to exercise. There are so many benefits: the endorphins boost my mood, I have to focus on working out and not on my stressors, and afterward I am too tired to be stressed. Always find some time to get a workout in.
- Go on walks. This relates somewhat to exercise, but I always find it nice to get outside, walk around, and appreciate the world around me. This is not so much for the workout but for enjoyment–your problems and stresses start to seem a lot less troublesome and important.
- Smile and laugh. When all else fails, find a way to get a smile on your face; laughter is the best medicine.
I hope these tips can help you manage and relieve stress in the upcoming weeks and on into the future. You can do it!