1. Wake up and take time to stretch, think about the day ahead and remind yourself of your strengths.
Too often we rush into the day ahead, consumed by all the tasks that we want to achieve. Taking a brief moment of mindfulness can help you de-stress and put into perspective the temporary nature of certain sources of anxiety or pain.
2. Compliment someone.
Don’t just compliment someone for the sake of it, though. Be sure that you are giving a meaningful compliment without the desire for anything in return. If you see someone who appears to be especially stressed out or upset, consider what compliment might be most meaningful and mood-boosting for them.
3. Spend some time outside.
While the temperature is starting to drop, you still have some time before the snow comes our way. Reminding oneself of the beauty in nature and the simple pleasure which can be derived from spending a peaceful moment beside a tree listening to the sounds of the night or on a bench, watching the clouds overhead is a great way to reduce stress.
4. Laugh like nobody's listening.
I snort when I truly am laughing and if I am truly caught up in the deepest amusement of a moment. It took time for me to not feel self-conscious in my laugh, but I am so glad that I have come to embrace it. I hope that you can laugh without worry as loud as you want because it truly is therapeutic.
5. Listen to your favorite song(s) when you start to feel down.
Whenever I start to feel overwhelmed or sad about something, I try to redirect myself and cope in positive ways. In the past, I was an emotional eater and found comfort in food, which is unhealthy. Now, I look to prayer, exercise and music. I believe that everyone has at least one song that immediately lifts their spirits. I have a playlist of songs that make me happy and I keep it ready at all times for when I need it.
6. Smile and say hello to people around campus.
I wish that more people would smile at strangers here and I wish that more people would reciprocate the smiles that I give them on our campus so that I don’t feel like a total creep. There is a rare population of strangers that are willing to smile back, and most of them are the adults that I smile at. The act of smiling is actually scientifically proven to make you happier. If you don’t want to do it for me, do it for yourself.
7. Call your parent(s) or guardian.
Make sure that you spend some time actually talking to your loved one. It can become easy to fall into the habit of texting our family members back and forth between our busy schedule of classes, clubs and homework. However, being able to hear the voice of your family member and spending the time conversing with them is a gift that should not be taken for granted.
8. Treat yourself to your favorite coffee or tea and take a walk.
Spend some time by yourself and enjoy a solitary walk. You can use the time to reflect on your week, think about creative pursuits or just enjoy the act of walking without a destination.
9. Do something that is outside of your comfort zone.
I promise you that the greatest growth that we can make comes from being outside of our comfort zone. Try to put yourself in that place when you can and take calculated risks in order to become a more well-rounded and developed individual. It is OK to fail because if you leave the challenge having learned anything at all, you have grown.
10. Take a moment to forgive.
Let go of any burdens on your heart that you have carried with you this week, semester or year. Take a step into healing and realize that to carry resentment or hate toward any person is to poison your own spirit.