There are tons of ways to deal with the stress of everyday life. If you look up "how to de-stress," you will often find lists that include things like "take a long, warm bath." While this may work for some people, it definitely does not work for everyone.
Personally, sitting in a bath and trying to forget about the things I need to do makes me more anxious than actually doing the things I need to do. I have five different things I do when I am stressed that help me to relax before trying to be productive.
1. Make a list, but prioritize three things.
One way to de-stress is to make a list of tasks that are stressing you out. By making a list, you are emptying your brain. This "emptying" can help you to focus on other tasks or aspects of your life.
For me, making a list of all the things due for the week on Sunday definitely reduces my stress about getting them done or forgetting about something. After making the list, prioritize three things for each day. By prioritizing tasks, you are breaking down the big thing(s) that may be stressing you into smaller, manageable sections.
2. Propagate a plant.
Help improve the health of a plant by propagating it.
One thing that helped me de-stress in college last year was taking care of my plants. My roommate and I had about thirty plants on our windowsill. I always joke that keeping something alive other than myself made me feel better, but it really did.
When I got overwhelmed during finals, I propagated one of my succulents. This definitely helped me focus on something other than organic chemistry for a few minutes. Focusing on something other than my finals for a few moments was healthy for me and my plants.
3. Try a new craft.
Crafts such as knitting or embroidery can be extremely relaxing.
Once I finished finals and was waiting on final grades, I found myself stressed about grades and being unable to do anything about it. I tried, but ultimately couldn't not think about it, so I decided to learn how to knit. YouTube is a beautiful thing, and it taught me how to knit in five short minutes. After I learned a few basic stitches, I already started planning projects for myself and my friends. Learning how to knit didn't let me stress about my final grades and it taught me a new, useful skill.
4. Make a new dish.
Trying a new dish in the kitchen can be a relaxing way to try local flavors.
After I came home from college, I found myself at home for most of my meals. I had to cook anyway, so I started trying new dishes using produce from a local farmer's market. I also started trying new kinds of spices and styles of cooking. I didn't realize how relaxing it was until I started cooking for some friends. It was really easy to talk to my friends and comfortably cook a meal for them.
5. Have a Netflix binge.
Every college student knows the struggle of sitting down to study and finding yourself four hours into a marathon of your favorite show. The Netflix binge is completely effective at taking your mind to another place for as long as you allow. Personally, I only let myself watch Netflix before bed or while folding laundry while I was at school, but it was one of the most relaxing activities I found at school. If you are stressing about an event this weekend or the grade for the paper you just submitted, find your favorite show and some snacks to de-stress.