This semester has been by far the most intense time of my life. I am taking 18 credit hours, working on two shows simultaneously and can sometimes hardly find the time to exist. With this, it has been absolutely vital to implement some de-stressing tactics into my busy schedule. If I didn't, I would have lost it by now. So, I'm here to help you survive this semester with my secret tips and tricks.

​1. Set aside an hour a week for doing something strictly for your own happiness

For me, this is watching "American Horror Story" Wednesday nights with my roommates. That's always been a show I loved and I set aside that time every Wednesday to be focused only on the spooky happenings in Ryan Murphy's screwed up nightmarish worlds. No homework, no obligations, no anything shall interrupt this time.

​2. Journal

I have always had a hard time sticking to journaling, but when I did, it was always very rewarding to be able to reflect on my feelings. However, if you'd like to try it too, don't let it stress you out to keep up with it. It's there when you need it, it's still there when you don't. It won't go anywhere and feel free to pick it back up whenever the time is right.

3. Go for a walk

If you can't find the time to do this, then take the long way to your class if you can afford it. I've always found that walking by myself has been great thinking time and it can be a definite way to reflect on your life and how it's going and consider ways to improve it or ideas that you may want to pursue.

4. Treat yourself

Stressing yourself out with trying to eat healthily or not spend money all of the time definitely doesn't help you in any other aspects of your life. Sure, you may get nutrition benefits or save a few dollars here and there, but the mental stress can be draining. Get the Starbucks every once in a while. Get your hair cut in the way you've always wanted to try. Things you want in moderation are never a bad thing.

5. #Selfcare app

I found this app over the summer and I. LOVE. IT. When you first start the app, there is a sun below the horizon and soothing music. You have to complete peaceful tasks like sorting clothes and massage and petting a kitty to get the sun to rise. Once it does, you earn a trinket of some sort to put on your altar and you can assign it meaning or decorate as you choose. You unlock more things to do as you go along like daily tarot cards and candle meditation and it's just generally a very peaceful app that is mindful of your stress and aims to help you fix it.

6. Wear cozy clothes as often as possible

I always get stressed AF trying to look nice. You can look cute and be comfortable at the same time and you certainly should. I used to do my makeup every day and put thought into what I wore, but it just ended up stressing me out in the end. I've gone nearly the entire semester without makeup and without caring too much about my appearance and I've started to like the way I naturally look more and feel more confident about myself. It's a win-win. I'm cozy and happy.

​7. Spend time with the people you care about

If you have a support system like me, you gotta make time for the people you care about. Even with my terribly busy schedule, my roommates/best friends will try and help me out and be less stressed. They are literally the best and I am so grateful to have them in my life. The people you care about are so important. Let people be there for you. Let people help you. It makes such a difference.

8. Go somewhere new to work on your things

Going to the same place to study always can be grueling. If the weather permits, shake it up and go outside one day. A change of scenery could be just what you need to shake off your daily stress.

​9. Watch ASMR videos

Soap cutting videos REALLY get me going. There is nothing more satisfying than watching ASMR videos in a quiet room alone. They're quick and in plenty and can really relax you. Some are even designed for certain things. My favorite is and forever will be the soap cutting ones, but there are a plethora of other sounds to relax you. Find what works for you.

​10. Get some more sleep

If you can manage it, sleep will work wonders in your life. We all need it to survive and it's so likely that you aren't getting enough. Try to get even a half hour more sleep a night if you can manage it and see how your life improves. It's so important.

​11. Don't procrastinate

I am so guilty of not following this tip. I am probably the worst procrastinator of all time. I will start a task to procrastinate another and start procrastinating that task. I once procrastinated TAKING A NAP. It's really easy to get into this bad habit, but your life will improve so much if you work ahead and stay on top of the things you need to get done. Nothing is more stressful than almost not meeting a deadline all the time.

​12. Choose happiness

I completely understand that mental illnesses exist and there are actual things that prevent people from being happy. However, in general, I believe that happiness is a choice. You can choose to let negative things and circumstances get you down. You can choose to be unsatisfied with your current situation. You can choose to have a negative outlook about things.

On the flip side, you can choose to appreciate the little things. You can choose to take your circumstances and look at the bright side of them. You can choose to see the world as a positive place where you can truly thrive. It's all in the way you look at it. Try changing the way you think about the things that happen in your life and watch how quickly your happiness increases. Let go of the things you can't change and work toward the future you want. It's your life and you're in control of your own happiness. Your mindset is everything.