It’s the most wonderful time of the year, and for many people like myself it is also the most stressful. The mound of homework sitting on my desk never seems to dwindle, my college application just doesn’t seem to be perfect enough, and no matter how many times I clean my room it ends up messier than before. The fact that it is pitch black by 7 o’clock makes me feel rushed and adds to my stress as I feel I should be getting ready for bed. I try to finish as much work as I can everyday but it’s inevitable that the list of things to do will outweigh the time I have to do them.
We’ve all been there once or twice elbow deep in a chip bag, zoning out to reality television because we are too stressed out to do anything else. It seems to hit us at the worst possible time and instead of finding yourself in a rut there are many easy ways that can help us ease and even prevent our stress. In stressful times I have found five things that I rely on to help me de-stress, hopefully you can use some of these tips to make your day run a bit smoother.
1. Get out! The first thing I do when I start feeling stressed is remove my self from the situation. Whether you’re in the middle of a paper or trying to meet a looming deadline, physically removing yourself for at least five minutes can help you detach from the stress so you can reevaluate the situation. I suggest going outside to get some fresh air, take deep breaths to help you clear you head and then get back in the game!
2. Make a “to do” list. It may seem like something that will just take up your precious time but by writing down the things you need to do in order of most important to least, and the times you will do them, will help you feel structured. Everybody needs structure in their life, especially children, but as we get older our parent set structure may start to sway a little, that is where your in-depth to do list comes in. The last item on your list should be some form of reward, like a soothing bubble bath, or a dinner date with your friends!
3. Exercise! Now you’ve probably heard this many times before but its true that exercise is one of the most helpful stress reducing methods. Regular exercise essentially burns away chemicals called cortisol and norepinephrine that are responsible for causing stress. Vigorous exercise also releases chemicals in the brain like dopamine, serotonin and the wondrous endorphins that keep you feeling safe and happy. There’s no doubt about it that you feel better after exercising so try to making room 2 to 4 times a week for exercise lasting longer than 20 minutes.
4. Relax and take it easy. During the week I find the only time I really have time to relax is the ten or twenty minutes it takes me to fall asleep in my bed, because of this I devote a day to relaxation. My day of relaxation is Sunday, when I regroup on sunday I feel prepared and optimistic about the week ahead. I am a yoga junkie so on Sunday mornings I take an hour or so to connect my body and mind through some light yoga, then I finish the work I have left over from the week. Once my work is done, I relax until my head hits the pillow. Some of my most rewarding ways of relaxing are cozying up with a good book by the fire, taking a candle lit bubble bath, or drawing some simple sketches. When you are relaxing just remember to try to stay away from the television and junk food.
5. Clean space, clean mind. One last simple and easy tip for reducing and preventing stress is to keep your living space clean. Studies show that when your room is clean, you sleep better. Crazy right? Maybe not, if you think about it when your room is messy you are subconsciously reminding yourself to clean it, so when it is clean your mind is at ease, thus you will sleep better, and when you get a nourishing night’s rest you are sure to be less stressed.
By using these methods of de-stressing I can say that I have been able to prevent and cope with my daily stressors. I may seem like a crazy woman with a million different to do lists, that will be caught every once in a while on her porch doing breathing exercises, but after all I would do anything to reduce stress. I hope you take these methods of de-stressing into consideration and have a safe and stress-free holiday!