Ways to Relieve Stress

It appears that nowadays, many use the excuse of “busy-ness,” to validate lateness, inability to make or follow through with plans, and other such things. I must admit that I have fallen into this trap. But let’s get real. We are ALL busy. All of us. Not one of us is not busy. Some can handle more amounts of stress and events than others, but in our own ways, we are all incredibly busy. Now, being busy and having stress appear to possess correlation. I have not looked at the actual statistics, but based on popular opinion, those with many things to do are stressed about those many things.

Below are guidelines and tips to follow when you’ve had the week that takes the cake on stress, or even if you’re preparing for a known hectic week.

Make sure you have a plan, but also understand that you can only plan so much. I tend to get caught up in my planner and detailed to do lists. When plans change, I may get frustrated, irritated, or overwhelmed. Please know that you can plan every single detail of the day, but that may only harm you. Leave empty space and room for problems or changes. Unexpected tasks or events will pop-up, and life is frankly uncontrollable, no matter how hard the human race attempts to make it otherwise. Do your best, but don’t drive yourself crazy.

Listen to the music that brings joy to your soul. The days when everything is going wrong, and complete overwhelm has taken over my life, are the days I have a hard core jam session in my car. Belt out a great song, listen to rap with a great beat, or get into that classical piano. No matter what you listen to, make sure you love it, it envelopes your feelings, and that it puts you in a better mood after.

Get spiritual. As a Christian, taking time to pray and read my Bible puts me in a state of peace and calm. But you don’t have to be a Christian to get spiritual. Taking a moment to sit in silence is beneficial, as well as listening to calming music or the great outdoors. Your soul is a part of you that also needs rest and renewal. If you keep neglecting that part of you, you will fade and become overwhelmed faster than ever.

Stop it with the caffeine. Take a break from the coffee, soda, and energy drinks, and try out water or decaffeinated tea. Remember that hydration is key, and drowsiness may very well be the result of dehydration and excessive caffeine. Full disclosure, I am a massive hypocrite when it comes to this tip. Though I don’t love the taste of coffee, the creamer and sugar are my life line. Unfortunately, caffeine does not effect my body in the way it does for most people. If anything, I drink it to enable to placebo effect of being more awake and alert. When thinking objectively, water makes me feel better at the end of the day, and has zero calories–a plus when it’s a long day and you are non-stop drinking sugared coffee by the gallon.

Enjoy the healthy side of life. Similar to the previous tip, step away from the grease, the fast-food, and the “easy way.” Eat some fresh fruit, or a nice salad. When there is a particularly busy day, the tendency to stop at Tim Horton’s has unfortunately almost become routine. Though it is one of the healthier fast food markets, it is a large waste of money when food is sitting in the fridge at home. Take that literal five minutes the night before to prepare a healthy meal, and even some snacks. You’ll feel better about what you’re consuming, and have those extra dollars in your account.

Work it out. Go for a walk during your lunch break, make exercise a priority, or practice yoga. This semester, though I am busier than ever before, it has become a priority to go to the gym and complete an hour of cardio after my classes are done. Once my early rising starts making an appearance again, I am hoping to knock out the work out early in the morning instead. I may even do an early morning workout, and an after-classes workout…But that is very much in the future.

Change your perspective on the situation at hand. This may sound contradictory, but comparing yourself to those less fortunate than yourself may aid in humility and thankfulness penetrating your mind. It’s easy to become overwhelmed when looking at more successful individuals, but when you observe those who do not possess much, you refocus yourself, and realize that the stresses you are worried about may merely be temporary road blocks. Just keep on pushing. It is not as bad as it initially seems.

Make a list of all of the tasks you have accomplished. Be proud of yourself and all that you have done. Do not start to think about everything left to do, but remain positive, and focused on all the good you have done.

Be in your feelings. This is what my significant other thinks I like to do, and he is not wrong. Immersing yourself in those feelings, allowing tears to fall and anger to spew,  will enable the release of emotions and the relief of your system from that pressure. And it feels great.

With these words, go off into your busy, crazy, hectic lives, and attempt to manage your feelings in a healthier way. Don’t let the stress get you down, and remember to do your best, but also take a break. Keep striving for greatness.

~Laura Swanson

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