We all have bad days. Maybe life has been emotionally overwhelming or school has been beating you down. It’s really easy to feel like giving up and sleeping all day is the better choice. And to an extent, giving yourself time to process stresses and anxieties is important. But once you’ve recognized that there is something going wrong, the next step is figuring out what it takes to pull yourself back up. Everybody processes stress differently, but in the spirit of finals week, here are some suggestions for ways to destress and remember that you can handle anything that life throws at you.
First, remember to breathe. Don’t overthink everything and don’t underestimate yourself. You’re a lot stronger than you think.
2. Drink some herbal tea or warm soup.
Chamomile tea with honey and a lemon slice is my go-to relaxation tea. It’s a simple (and delicious) way to take a quick break before getting back to work. And it’s perfect if you feel like you might be catching a cold.
3. Go for a walk.
Speaking of breaks, exercise and fresh air can make all the difference when you feel overwhelmed. I know that finding the motivation to move can be hard, so find a workout buddy or set up a reward system for yourself. And exercising doesn’t mean you need to run miles every day. Bundle up, go outside, and just watch the leaves change color. The planet has a lot of beauty to offer if you give it a fair chance.
4. Make a killer focus playlist.
Not going to lie, this is the first thing I did this morning (I had breakfast first, but, after that). With finals on their way and the beginning of dead week here at Cal, the most important study tool for me is music. Making a new playlist will help your mind stay focused. Instead of listening to the same songs every day, mix some old favorites with new loves. Ask around for some suggestions if you get stuck! My go-to motivational song right now is “My Shot” from the Hamilton soundtrack. ;)
5. One word: c-h-o-c-o-l-a-t-e.
Okay, so this one might not work for everyone, but it definitely helps me. You don’t have to have chocolate, but treat yourself every once in a while. Why? Because you freaking deserve it!
6. Decorate for Christmas.
I’ll be honest, I’ve been looking forward to Christmas since December 26, 2015. Breaking out the Christmas decorations early might seem cheesy, but I like to believe that it literally has the magical ability to make people smile. And if you don’t celebrate Christmas, decorate for any holiday or just redecorate your space. A change in your study setting can help you focus too.
Who says New Year’s resolutions have to start in January? Keeping a daily log can help you stay organized and is a relaxing break from the 50 pages of assigned reading you were supposed to do last month. One of the things that helped me most when I fell into a slump last year, was journaling. This one definitely doesn’t work for everyone, but it’s worth a shot. And there are a lot of different kinds of journals you can keep. All it takes is 10-15 minutes every day. You can write down your thoughts for the day, the things that you did, people you’re grateful for, or one positive thought every day. In the spirit of the holidays, counting your blessings every day can remind you of all the positive things and people in your life, and prepare you for that winter vacation.
No matter what you decide to do (or not do), just remember that there are people on your side. You don’t need to go through life on your own. Don’t be afraid to lean on the people around you for support. Good luck with everything and anything you have on your plate, and have one more quote for good measure: “The best thing to hold onto in life is each other.” –Audrey Hepburn