15 Things To Do To De-Stress

15 Things To Do To De-Stress

Did you make the time to unplug today?
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Everyone gets a little bit stressed sometimes. Here are some tips on how to help relieve that negative energy!

1. Write in a planner/journal

Writing in a planner or a journal is a great way to de-stress. By putting all of your thoughts into one place you do not have to worry about forgetting to do something throughout your day. Rather than being stressed trying to think of the many tasks and things that you have to get done writing in a planner or journal solves this problem.

2. Clean/organize


Whether this is your room, car or even your closet it is a good idea to clean out and organize your belongings. When things are messy it is much harder to find what you need which leads to stressful situations of rushing to find something. Save yourself the hassle and get your things in order.

3. Read a book/magazine

Reading a book or a magazine is so relaxing. Whenever you need to take a break from the stress of school or work pull out your favorite book or magazine and start reading!

4. Go to the gym

Going to the gym to workout is a good way to relieve stress. When you exercise your body releases endorphins which generates positive feelings. Therefore you will feel much better after you workout.

5. Take a break from electronics

Try and carve out at least an hour in your day to take a break from your electronics. Taking an hour to unplug before bed can calm your mind and help you to have a more restful night of sleep.

6. Take a walk outside

Walk in your neighborhood, walk in a park, walk on your old high school track or on a nature trail or beach. Just get outside to enjoy the weather and nature. Being outside also has the added benefit of giving you your required amount of vitamin D for the day.

7. Play with a pet

Whose pet doesn't like to play? Take the time out of your busy day to play with them.

8. Listen to calm music/color

Create a playlist of mellow songs that make you feel good. Turn on this playlist whenever you are feeling stressed and color at the same time. These days adult coloring books can be found in a variety of stores; the Dollar Tree, Michaels, HomeGoods and Barnes and Noble.

9. Meditate/yoga

If your schedule allows it, try and take at least fifteen minutes when you first get up in the morning to meditate and do your stretches. It is a great way to wake up your body for the day. Even taking a yoga class at your local studio is known to help relax your body and mind.

10. Take a bubble bath/light a candle

It goes without saying that taking a bubble bath after a long school day or work day will relax your body. Lighting a candle or throwing in aromatherapy soap or bath salts will help to make your bath that much more appealing to your senses.

11. Eat dark chocolate

It is a fact that consuming dark chocolate can help to lower stress levels. So purchase your favorite type of dark chocolate and treat yourself to a little bit each day.

12. Drink a hot cup of tea/hot water with lemon

Studies prove that drinking something hot helps to soothe your throat therefore making you more relaxed and stress-free. I recommend trying chamomile tea or sleepy time tea to help aid you in getting a restful sleep.

13. Enjoy a spa day

Take the time to book an appointment at your local spa. Choose spa menu items: massage, facial, manicure, pedicure, seaweed body wrap and/or deep tissue massage.

14. Use stress relief lotions/sprays

Looking for some good stress relief products? Try Bath and Body Works body lotions, body washes and sprays. They come in a great variety of scents such as; eucalyptus spearmint, lavender vanilla, orange ginger, black currant vanilla, and black chamomile. I guarantee they will instantly make you feel more relaxed when being used. (They are currently running a special online).

15. Take a nap

It is a known fact that taking a nap for at least 20 minutes a day will help to reduce stress levels. It doesn't matter when you take a nap so try and squeeze one in when it is convenient for you. Whether it is between a class or during your lunch hour it is a great way to renew your energy.

Cover Image Credit: unsplash

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Yes, I Had A Stroke And I'm Only 20

Sometimes bad things happen to good people.
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Recently, I read an article on Cosmo that was written by a woman that had a stroke at the ripe old age of 23. For those of you who don't know, that really doesn't happen. Young people don't have strokes. Some do, but it's so incredibly uncommon that it rarely crosses most people's minds. Her piece was really moving, and I related a lot -- because I had a stroke at 20.

It started as a simple headache. I didn't think much of it because I get headaches pretty often. At the time, I worked for my parents, and I texted my mom to tell her that I'd be late to work because of the pain. I had never experienced a headache like that, but I figured it still wasn't something to worry about. I went about my normal routine, and it steadily got worse. It got to the point that I literally threw up from the pain. My mom told me to take some Tylenol, but I couldn't get to our kitchen. I figured that since I was already in the bathroom, I would just take a shower and hope that the hot steam would relax my muscles, and get rid of my headache. So I turned the water on in the shower, and I waited for it to get hot.

At this point, I was sweating. I've never been that warm in my life. My head was still killing me. I was sitting on the floor of the bathroom, trying to at least cope with the pain. Finally, I decided that I needed to go to the hospital. I picked up my phone to call 911, but I couldn't see the screen. I couldn't read anything. I laid down on the floor and tried to swipe from the lock screen to the emergency call screen, but I couldn't even manage that. My fine motor skills were completely gone. My fingers wouldn't cooperate, even though I knew what buttons needed to be pressed. Instead of swiping to the emergency call screen, I threw my phone across the room. "Okay," I thought, "Large muscle groups are working. Small ones are not".

I tried getting up. That also wasn't happening. I was so unstable that I couldn't stay standing. I tried turning off the running water of the shower, but couldn't move the faucet. Eventually, I gave up on trying to move anywhere. "At what point do I just give up and lie on the floor until someone finds me?" That was the point. I ended up lying on the floor for two hours until my dad came home and found me.

During that two hours, I couldn't hear. My ears were roaring, not even ringing. I tried to yell, but I couldn't form a sentence. I was simply stuck, and couldn't do anything about it. I still had no idea what was going on.

When the ambulance finally got there, they put me on a stretcher and loaded me into the back. "Are you afraid of needles or anything?" asked one EMT. "Terrified," I responded, and she started an IV without hesitation. To this day, I don't know if that word actually came out of my mouth, but I'm so glad she started the IV. She started pumping pain medicine, but it didn't seem to be doing anything.

We got to the hospital, and the doctors there were going to treat me for a migraine and send me on my merry way. This was obviously not a migraine. When I could finally speak again, they kept asking if I was prone to migraines. "I've never had a migraine in my whole life," I would say. "Do you do any drugs?" they would ask. "No," I repeated over and over. At this point, I was fading in and out of consciousness, probably from the pain or the pain medicine.

At one point, I heard the doctors say that they couldn't handle whatever was wrong with me at our local hospital and that I would need to be flown somewhere. They decided on University of Maryland in Baltimore. My parents asked if I wanted them to wait with me or start driving, so I had them leave.

The helicopter arrived soon after, and I was loaded into it. 45 minutes later, I was in Baltimore. That was the last thing I remember. The next thing I remember was being in the hospital two weeks later. I had a drain in my head, a central port, and an IV. I honestly didn't know what had happened to me.

As it turns out, I was born with a blood vessel malformation called an AVM. Blood vessels and arteries are supposed to pass blood to one another smoothly, and mine simply weren't. I basically had a knot of blood vessels in my brain that had swelled and almost burst. There was fluid in my brain that wouldn't drain, which was why my head still hurt so bad. The doctors couldn't see through the blood and fluid to operate, so they were simply monitoring me at that point.

When they could finally see, they went in to embolize my aneurysm and try to kill the AVM. After a successful procedure, my headache was finally starting to subside. It had gone from a 10 on the pain scale (which I don't remember), to a 6 (which was when I had started to be conscious), and then down to a 2.

I went to rehab after I was discharged from the hospital, I went to rehab. There, I learned simple things like how to walk and balance, and we tested my fine motor skills to make sure that I could still play the flute. Rehab was both physically and emotionally difficult. I was constantly exhausted.

I still have a few lingering issues from the whole ordeal. I have a tremor in one hand, and I'm mostly deaf in one ear. I still get headaches sometimes, but that's just my brain getting used to regular blood flow. I sleep a lot and slur my words as I get tired. While I still have a few deficits, I'm lucky to even be alive.

Cover Image Credit: Neve McClymont

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There Is A Science Behind Blacking Out, And It's Actually Scarier Than You Think

Science confirms, blacking out is actually a bigger deal than you think.

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Have you ever woken up from a night out with your friends, confused how you got from Point A to Point B, or wondering why you blew up your ex's phone? Chances are you might have experienced alcohol-induced amnesia, more commonly referred to by college students as "blacking out." Although you have no recollection of what happened last night, this does not mean you passed out or were unconscious, actually, it's very likely that you could've held a conversation with some of your friends throughout the night and acted as if everything was normal.

With social drinking becoming more of a trend, blacking out is not uncommon among young adults, however, it is rather misunderstood.

While blacking out seems harmless and carefree, it is actually very dangerous, especially if your friends are unaware of how much you have had to drink and don't realize that you might need to be watched over.

There are two types of blackouts; en block, also referred to as a complete blackout, is when you wake up with no recollection whatsoever of the events that took place during the time that you were drinking. This occurs when information cannot be transferred from short-term to long-term storage during a drinking episode. You can sufficiently keep information in short-term memory to engage in conversations, drive a car (which you shouldn't do if you've been drinking any amount of alcohol), and participate in other activities. Nonetheless, this information is lost due to the brain's failure to transfer the person's short-term memory to long-term memory storage.

There is also fragmentary-memory loss, which means that you have some memory of some of the events that took place during the time of your drinking. This type of blackout is more common and occur when memory formation is only partially blocked. Unlike complete blackouts, fragmentary blackouts permit the recall of all memories that were stored during the drinking event, however, it might require some prompting or jogging of your memory.

Studies on blackouts show that although alcohol is required to initiate a blackout, alcohol alone (no matter the quantity) is not enough to cause a blackout to occur. Some studies show that it is possible for people to blackout even when they aren't at the peak of their alcohol consumption. There are several factors that affect blacking out, including drinking on an empty stomach or consuming a large quantity of alcohol in a short amount of time, due to the fact that this would raise your blood alcohol content (BAC).

Studies also show that women are at a higher risk for blacking out even if they consume less alcohol than their male counterparts. This is due to the fact that women have less water in their system in comparison to men, causing alcohol to be less diluted in their bloodstream.

Women also have a significantly lower concentration of alcohol dehydrogenase (ADH). Alcohol dehydrogenase (ADH) metabolizes alcohol before it passes into the bloodstream. In turn, women have a higher blood alcohol content and experience greater intoxication than men.

Lastly, women, in general, have more body fat than men. Due to the fact that fat does not directly absorb alcohol, they maintain higher concentrations of alcohol in their bloodstream in comparison to men.

Besides causing damage to your memory, there are several risks associated with blacking out. According to a study performed by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, college students who reported blacking out found that students often participated in risky behaviors such as unprotected sex, driving, and vandalism or destruction of property.

That being said, next time you decide to go out with your friends, remember to drink water and avoid drinking on an empty stomach. Although blacking out has become somewhat of a trend among young drinkers, the risks associated with it aren't worth it.

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