By Susannah Hutcheson, Regular ContributorSeptember 22, 2015
I have felt the stress this semester. For me, school started 2 weeks ago, and I already feel a little bit underwater. In today’s fast-paced society, I’m sure this feeling isn’t unknown to very many of you. Today I wanted to share a few tips that have been helping me feel a little bit more grounded.
Make a List:
Write down every single thing you need to do today and rank them from most important to least important.
As you go through your day, check off each of your tasks and try to knock out your big things first. It’s really validating to be able to scratch off items that you’re done with- and it also reminds you of the Spanish homework due at 11:59 that you would have otherwise forgotten about.
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Make a Playlist:
I love to have music around me all the time- while I drive, while I work, while I exercise. Some people aren’t like that, but I firmly believe that music can help everybody out. Get on Spotify, Apple Music, Soundcloud, whatever strikes your fancy- and make a couple of playlists. Make one for relaxing/mindfulness, one for studying, one when you need to get pumped up, one for driving long trips or when you’re in lots of traffic, and one for getting your thoughts together. The simple act of making a playlist is cathartic in itself, and it’s fun! Some little snippets of mine that you should totally check out-
Bethel Music’s “Without Words: Synesthesia”
James Bay, Ben Howard, Andrew Belle
James Vincent McMorrow
Michael Henry & Justin Robinett
Justin Bieber (But really. His latest songs are awesome).
Get Enough Sleep- and do it the right way:
Sleep is so important for healing your body and protecting it from sickness and exhaustion.
A helpful trick is to take 5 minutes in the morning to make your bed or at least pull the sheets up, and don’t get back in your bed until you go to sleep. There’s something relaxing about climbing into a neatly made bed. It trains your mind to associate the bed with sleeping- not mindlessly watching TV when you’re supposed to be doing your homework.
About 20 minutes before bed, cut off all of the electronics. This has helped me immensely- I go ahead and set my alarms, turn my sound down, plug in my computer so it’s ready for the next day, and then try to spend a little bit of time with a book or a devotional of some sorts. It helps to wind my mind down before I go to sleep. It also sometimes helps to take a hot shower or make a cup of tea before cuddling up in your sheets.
When I’m stressing out, I tend to lay in bed at night and worry about everything. I recognize that worrying is pointless, but it’s still a constant struggle. Worrying can mess with your head and with your well being. If you’re anything like me, your worst worrying comes when you lay down to go to sleep, when a bunch of stuff rushes into your head. Sometimes if I can’t go to sleep, I’ll set a sleep timer on my TV to calm my mind down, but I try not to do it because it tends to interfere with the quality of my sleep. The best trick I have for that is to download an app like Headspace, which helps quiet your mind and relax you for sleep.
Get Out of the House:
Even when your schedule seems impossibly full, like mine was last week, schedule in sometime to go catch up with your friends, attend a football game, or just cook dinner with your roommates. Don’t ever become so glued to your stress that you can’t get away from it- instead, know when to walk away from your to-do list and relax a little bit.
Pay Attention to Your Body & Your Soul:
When you’re not paying attention to your body’s cues and your mind’s desperate yearnings for a break, you’ll end up sick when your immune system gets angry with you.
Some of my personal tried and true tips are:
Take 30 minutes and move your body. Whether that’s popping in an exercise video, taking the dog around the block, or dancing to music in your room, get your heart pumping.
Feed your body well- not with a ton of processed crap that makes you dehydrated and hungry an hour later. Kale is, actually, quite good.
Try and find your purpose and nourish your soul- whether this be drinking a cup of tea alone with your thoughts, cracking open a religious text, or journaling about your day, your dreams, and your thoughts.
If you feel yourself getting sick, take advance action. Go to bed early, drink some herbal tea, and slow down- or you’ll be like me and end up stuck in bed when you tried to push through instead of letting your body heal itself.
Take care of your skin. Take off your makeup, no matter how much you want to lay down and go to sleep. Come up with some sort of a routine that works for you- everyone’s different. Wear sunscreen. Use coconut oil. Your skin is the largest organ on your body, and it deserves to be taken care of.
Write. Read. Run. Walk. Do what makes you happy.
And then, go kick some ass.
Have you been stressed lately? How do you de-stress on the tough days? Tell us below!
Susannah is a Journalism major, passionate about social justice and Jesus Christ. She loves cold weather, triple-shot lattes, and macaroni and cheese. When she’s not writing papers or baking cookies, you can find her Googling random things on the Internet or watching large amounts of reality television. You can read her ramblings at ileftamessinthekitchen.wordpress.com, or look at pictures of her coffee on Instagram: @susannah.beth.
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