10 Ways To De-Stress After A Busy Day

10 Ways To De-Stress After A Busy Day

You can't forget about your mental health in the chaos of it all.
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With a little over a month of school left, it's hard to stay focused, especially when the essays, group projects, exams, and presentations start to pile up. If this is your first year of college then you're probably overwhelmed and second-guessing your major or minor. Even seniors, like myself, still deal with the daily stress of the piles of coursework given. Yet, there are days when you realize it is all worth it. Like times when you get that A on the exam you studied all week for or when you go to present your final presentation and it actually goes amazingly well because you prepped for days. My favorite is when the material that I'm learning starts to make sense and I'm able to explain to others and have conversations about the topics we went over in class.

But what are we as students supposed to do in the mean time? Chances are you won't receive good news every day, or even every week. You must find ways to de-stress daily, especially when you feel overwhelmed and are on the brink of having a mental breakdown. I've compiled a list of 10 simple ways to de-stress after a busy day.



1. Cozy up with a hot cup of tea.

I'm a born and raised North Carolinian, so the only tea I grew up with was ice cold sweet tea (with a couple pieces of lemon, please). But after a semester abroad in England, I learned to appreciate a hot cup of tea. It's the smell, the taste, and the delicious scones that you can pair it with it that make it a yummy and effective stress reliever.

2. Practice one hour of yoga.

This is my favorite and most recommended form of stress relief. Yoga is a "practice" and by that I mean it's something that evolves over time, with lots of self-love and patience. It's a great way to push yourself, physically and mentally, without exerting too much force. Yoga also reminds me not to be so hard on myself. Life itself is a practice that has evolved over time, so it's important not to let our stress or troubles get the best of us.

3. Drink a glass of wine (if you're 21).

I love coming home after a stressful, long, and super busy day to some yoga and a glass of red wine. Invite some of your closest friends over and make it a wine/pizza night (but don't forget the cheese and crackers)!

4. Invite a couple of your close friends over for a game night.

My favorite board game of all time is Scattergories. It's a fun way to think critically, make use of your creative talents, and laugh with friends over the crazy answers you each come up with. Other people enjoy video games, but that's never been my forte. It's amazing how stress relieving a game can be, probably because you're not focused on your homework, job, or other daily demands. You're able to put it on the back burner and have some fun with friends!

5. Take a walk in your neighborhood or through campus.

I love living off-campus because on nice, sunny days I can choose to take the 20-minute walk to campus. While doing so, I put my headphones in and jam to my "Chillz" playlist. I love getting lost in the lyrics and clearing my mind before the chaos begins.

6. Have a 30-minute dance party.

There's never NOT a great time to bust out into a dance party. My favorite time of the day for one is when I'm getting ready for school. I just have to remind myself to have fun throughout the day, no matter how dense or boring a class or assignment may be. And if I can't find any reason then I take a 30-minute break to dance around my apartment to my most uplifting beats.

7. Clean one room of your house (or dorm).

This might sound odd, but bear with me. Earlier this week I was so overwhelmed with readings that I was looking for ways to distract myself in order to avoid the readings. It's not a good idea to avoid your homework, but I took a 30-minute break and cleaned my bathroom from top to bottom. When I was finished, I not only had a spotless bathroom, but I had a clear mind and was able to get back to the readings.

8. Do some crafting or coloring.

The adult coloring books are so much fun! Or you could always turn to a YouTube tutorial to learn how to draw a mandala and then color it in afterwards. It's so relaxing and doesn't take up too much time from your busy day.

9. Meet a friend for a cup of coffee.

Even though our days are busy and we barely have time to sit still, we still somehow make time to stop by our favorite coffee shop each day. Why not invite a friend to join you and make it a 30-minute coffee date. It's a nice break from the day's demands and it's an energy booster, so that you can keep going.

10. Watch a TED talk.

Ted Talks are only 10-20 minutes in length. Sometimes at the end of a very stressful day I make a hot cup of tea and watch a Ted Talk I've never seen before. You learn something new and useful with every talk. Each talk is so inspiring because if one person can get up in front of a crowded room and cameras, then I can finish my homework.

Cover Image Credit: http://www.themonkdude.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/Meditation-Banded-Sunset.jpg

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To All The Nurses In The Making

We tell ourselves that one day it'll all pay off, but will it actually?
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I bet you’re taking a break from studying right now just to read this, aren’t you? Either at the library with friends or in your dorm room. Wherever you may be, you never get the chance to put your books down, at least that’s how it feels to most of us. It sucks feeling like you’ve chosen the hardest major in the world, especially when you see other students barely spending any time studying or doing school work. The exclamation “You’re still here!” is an all too frequent expression from fellow students after recognizing that you’ve spent 10-plus hours in the library. At first it didn’t seem so bad and you told yourself, “This isn’t so difficult, I can handle it,” but fast-forward a few months and you’re questioning if this is really what you want to do with your life.

You can’t keep track of the amount of mental breakdowns you’ve had, how much coffee you’ve consumed, or how many times you’ve called your mom to tell her that you’re dropping out. Nursing is no joke. Half the time it makes you want to go back and change your major, and the other half reminds you why you want to do this, and that is what gets you through it. The thing about being a nursing major is that despite all the difficult exams, labs and overwhelming hours of studying you do, you know that someday you might be the reason someone lives, and you can’t give up on that purpose. We all have our own reasons why we chose nursing -- everyone in your family is a nurse, it’s something you’ve always wanted to do, you’re good at it, or like me, you want to give back to what was given to you. Regardless of what your reasoning is, we all take the same classes, deal with the same professors, and we all have our moments.

I’ve found that groups of students in the same nursing program are like a big family who are unconditionally supportive of each other and offer advice when it’s needed the most. We think that every other college student around us has it so easy, but we know that is not necessarily true. Every major can prove difficult; we’re just a little harder on ourselves. Whenever you feel overwhelmed with your school work and you want to give up, give yourself a minute to imagine where you’ll be in five years -- somewhere in a hospital, taking vitals, and explaining to a patient that everything will be OK. Everything will be worth what we are going through to get to that exact moment.

Remember that the stress and worry about not getting at least a B+ on your anatomy exam is just a small blip of time in our journey; the hours and dedication suck, and it’s those moments that weed us out. Even our advisors tell us that it’s not easy, and they remind us to come up with a back-up plan. Well, I say that if you truly want to be a nurse one day, you must put in your dedication and hard work, study your ass off, stay organized, and you WILL become the nurse you’ve always wanted to be. Don’t let someone discourage you when they relent about how hard nursing is. Take it as motivation to show them that yeah, it is hard, but you know what, I made it through.

With everything you do, give 110 percent and never give up on yourself. If nursing is something that you can see yourself doing for the rest of your life, stick with it and remember the lives you will be impacting someday.

SEE ALSO: Why Nursing School Is Different Than Any Other Major

Cover Image Credit: Kaylee O'Neal

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How A Podcast About Murder Helped My Mental Health

And a community that sprang forth became my lifeline.

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Sometimes I wonder what it's like to live without mental illness.

To wake up in the morning and feel secure in your body, your thoughts, your actions, and your relationships.

I don't have that luxury, and neither do 43.8 million Americans in any given year.

So why is it so easy to convince ourselves that we're alone?

I struggled with mental illness before my childhood trauma, which made me an easy target. The effects of my abuse magnified my genetic predisposition to mental health problems. Members from both sides of my family suffer from some type of mental illness. I would never want to offend any relatives of mine, so I won't disclose the number, but let's just say, it's a lot. As for my ancestors, I know a maternal great-grandfather hit my maternal grandfather, and the wife of the aforementioned great-grandfather was an agoraphobic. She mostly only drank tea and ate toast and was rail thin so it's not hard to reach the conclusion that she had an eating disorder.

I am very fortunate in that I grew up in a family who didn't hide from their mental health issues. My mom realized she had anxiety when she was in her very early 20's and was open about it - which for the 1980's was not common. She is the most genuine person I know, and part of that is because she doesn't pretend everything is always perfect.

So, even though my parents were always supportive through my struggles, pushing me to achieve my best while also assuring me that it was okay to take a mental health day from school from time to time, I still felt like I was the only one in the world that felt the way I did.

I won't bore you with the details, but most of my memories from my childhood have to do with anxiety, depression, food, and body issues. I remember telling my parents I had, "that lonely feeling again." Which, was the feeling of my heart in my stomach - the feeling of isolation and sadness and impending doom - something I still deal with today. One of my first words was "safe." I was convinced my parents would die in a car accident. I was five standing in a mirror calling myself fat, I was ten swearing an Oreo would be the last thing I would ever eat, I was eight hoarding food. I was seven, afraid I would crush the horse I was riding because of my weight. I was 12 the first time I made myself throw up.

Anxiety, depression and eating disorders have been woven into the fabric of my being. And working to untangle those threads is a daily struggle.

I'm a firm believer in therapy and medications if that is what's best for your journey. I don't believe in blanket diagnoses, or one size fits all meds. I was hospitalized three times in high school at an inpatient mental health facility, and for me, it didn't help. The final stay, after attempting suicide, journaling was my vehicle out of the darkest place I had been yet.

"I wrote my way out."

When I was 18, I found my way back to God. Recovering memories of being abused is brutal and with my history of mental illness, I don't know what I would have done if I had uncovered the abuse before June 14, 2017. I truly believe that God's timing is always perfect, and I had reached the point in my life where I was ready to receive my truth.

Two months after recovering the memories, I stumbled across a little Podcast called, My Favorite Murder. At that point, Karen Kilgariff and Georgia Hardstark had been releasing episodes weekly for a little over a year and a half. I was hooked and binged the catalog of episodes.

Not only did it make me realize my love of true crime, but I found an amazing community of some of the most wonderful people I've never met.

What makes Karen and Georgia's Podcast so special isn't the crime. No, it's them. It's their authenticity, their rawness. Their openness about their struggles with addiction, anxiety, depression, body image issues, and their flaws. It's their championing of survivors of abuse and attacks, their support of women, and their dedication to End the Backlog (there are hundreds of thousands of rape kits untested, this organization helps fight that).

Although their opinions sometimes differ from mine, they've created this beautiful space of inclusiveness on the radical notion that as long as you're kind and respectful, you are welcome.

The main Facebook page has hundreds of thousands of followers and pretty early on, people started making spinoff groups, made up of Murderinos (MFM fans) for specific interests. Like apps, there's an MFM spinoff group for anything. From cat lovers to craft enthusiasts to local groups (heyyyy 'Here's the Thing, 518 Everybody') to religious groups (Looking at you 'Thou Shalt Not Murder!'). I joined the latter two groups and loved the little communities.

But then I thought, "Wow, I would really love to join a group for Survivors of abuse." To my surprise, there wasn't one.

I had reached a point in my healing journey that I needed to talk to people who knew what I was going through.

So, I shoved down my negative self-talk that told me no one would want to join a group I made and created a spinoff group.

And Survivorinos was born.

It's been four months since I clicked "create." In that time, we have almost 450 members and this past month I made three strong women moderators to help keep the community running.

For someone who writes a lot and often has (too much) to say, Survivorinos still has me at a loss for words. I started the group because I needed an outlet to vent things that I couldn't say to my friends or family. I needed to share intimate details of my life with people who understood. And what I found was a monumental revelation to me: so many other people needed the same thing.

This community is filled with nothing but love. In a world filled with negativity and fighting, this little corner of the Internet remains focused on helping their fellow man. The stories are heartbreaking, but the comments are uplifting. Love and prayers are sent, advice is given, and memes and animal pictures are abundant.

Now I can't imagine my life without Survivorinos.

Karen and Georgia say all the time how lucky they feel, that their Podcast has turned into this ever-expanding network of humans caring about one another. But it's us, the listeners, who should be thankful. I know I am. Because they took the leap and started this podcast, I found a group of people I didn't even know I needed.

Stay sexy, and keep destigmatizing mental illness and the effects of abuse.

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