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.

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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An Open Letter To My Boyfriend

An open letter to the boy who's showing me how to love again.

An open letter to my boyfriend.. 4/10/17.

Dear J,

At this very moment in time, I am the most infatuated with you I have ever been, but I know this is so miniscule compared to how I will feel for you as time goes on. As we progress in our relationship and as the days fly by, I fall more and more for you every day. You show me how to make light out of serious situations, you make me laugh at the most stupid stuff, you introduce me to new music and art.

You make me believe in the good things coming and you make me want to live until I’m 90 and all of our present-day experiences will just be fond memories by then. You show me how to trust again, you show me how to love again. You prove to me every day that you care about me and that your intentions are pure. You’ve got a heart of gold and the most beautiful soul I’ve ever had the pleasure of experiencing.

I’m not one to be sappy and cheesy where I know the whole wide world can see it, but you make me want to try new things and get out of my comfort zone.

You push my limits in the best way, but you’re so understanding and respectful of my limits and boundaries. You show me new places and new food, heck, one day I may even try actual sushi.

You make me feel beautiful even when I know I look like a total egg. You tell me how beautiful I am multiple times a day, and I can’t thank you enough for that. I don’t feel the need to put my past on blast for everyone to see, but you know it and I hope you realize how much I appreciate you and everything you do and say.

I could talk about you forever and write a million words describing how I feel about you, but I think it would be too long for anyone to ever be able to read.

Like I told you awhile ago.. how I feel for you is what hopeless romantics always try to write about but they can never find the right words.

Thank you for everything you do every single day, thank you for being you, thank you for existing.

Thank you for being mine, J.

Us against the world, f&e.

- A

Cover Image Credit: Alix George

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Alone Time Is Necessary, And I Promise, You've Been Doing It Wrong

In a world that's constantly telling us who to be and how to feel, it's more important than ever to take time to figure out who we really are.

Let's talk about something mental health-related for a second.

Learn to put down your phone and embrace your solitude.

Watch the sunlight, and how it delicately washes illumination over everything it touches.
Watch the clouds, see how they roll across the sky, morphing in and out of shapes.

Watch the birds, as they dive between branches and buildings, outsmarting gravity.

Learn to shut off your screen, listen to the sounds that surround you.

Hear the laughter of a couple, as they stroll along the cracked sidewalk.

Hear the rush of air past your ears, perhaps a warm spring breeze, perhaps a bitter winter wind.

Hear the hum of cars passing by, each with their own unique destination.

"Alone time" isn't understood as it should be. It's such a rewarding, healthy experience— whether it's for five minutes or two hours. Alone time doesn't mean sitting in your dorm or room while scrolling through endless photos on Instagram, digging through the stories and posts on your Facebook feed, tapping through everybody's stories on Snapchat.

Alone time means it's only you and yourself, and it can often take place in public settings.

It might be uncomfortable for some, especially extroverts and those who maybe feel insecure being faced with the reality of themselves. But this is exactly why it's important. You will learn about your own unique, beautiful self in ways that social media and society will prevent you from seeing.

Social media influences us much more than we realize. It injects little subconscious beliefs and thoughts into our brains about what we should look like, act like, be like. It is so full of other people that it can't possibly show you who you are. That's why it's so important to take time to distance yourself from it at least once a day. Who you are is entirely inside of yourself. Finding who you are requires reflection and solitude, even if it means sliding into a cozy corner chair inside your local Starbucks and simply letting your surroundings wash over you.

Notice the people and scenes around you - notice how they make you feel or what they make you think. Then go a level deeper. Why do they make you feel such a way? Why do they make you think the things you do? Keep questioning yourself without any judgment upon your own answers. This might take a little time to understand or master, but it can help you understand or discover your own moods, personality, and internal conflicts. It's incredibly helpful because you'll find your awareness skyrockets and you'll be able to see how situations and people are affecting you on a daily basis.

If that level of effort sounds God-awful to you, good news! Alone time is even more diverse than this.

Think of hobbies or talents you might have that don't involve the use of your cell phone, messaging, social media, or internet.

Draw, read, write.

Play the piano, strum your guitar, sing your favorite song.

Run outside, go to the gym, practice your favorite yoga flow.

All of these things can be incredibly meditative, and amazing for your mental health. Simply stepping away from the influence of society, including your friends and family, will open up a world of healing for your mind.

This isn't to say that social media is evil—trust me, I'm quite addicted to it. Which means I know I need to take breaks from it, to remind myself of who I am, what I like, and how I'm feeling when nobody and nothing are telling me how to feel.

Find what kind of alone time you love and practice it. Make it a routine, maybe before bed, maybe during a break in-between classes. Find when and what works for you, because it's your time to be wonderfully selfish.

Cover Image Credit: Min An

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