9 Steps To A Stress-Free Semester
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Health and Wellness

9 Steps To A Stress-Free Semester

Step one: Just breathe.

9 Steps To A Stress-Free Semester

Let me guess -- at this point in the semester, you officially stopped caring about your appearance during class. You know the absolute latest time you can set your alarm for without being late. And you probably have worn in your new planner to death already by writing in it religiously. Now that the semester is in full swing, many of us find ourselves a bit overwhelmed. Either we are taking 18 hours, joined one too many clubs or have three jobs. No matter what makes you the busiest of your friends, we are all going through the difficulties of college together, and that's what's so wonderful about going to a university.

This year I promised myself that I would not get stressed out... haha, if only I could keep that promise. But what I will be doing this year is taking steps to decrease my anxiety and stress levels. Below are nine ways to relieve stress, relax and unwind -- even if it is just for five minutes between classes.

1. Drink tea.

There are so many different types of teas, so no matter your taste preference, there is most certainly a tea for you. Chamomile has a soothing agent that acts as a nerve tonic and will help calm you down. My favorite is Yogi's Sleepy Time tea. I drink a cup every evening -- no excuses. Giving myself just a few minutes to relax and drink this warm stress reliever truly has made a difference.

2. Start a journal.

As I drink my tea, I like to write in a journal. The wonderful thing about journals is that everyone's experience is different. Some people like to keep an art journal where they can doodle their thoughts in a creative way. Others use it as a way to document their actions. Keeping a journal is a way for you to talk about what is stressing you out and also relieves the anxiety you feel. There are many websites that will help you start your stress-relief journal that can be helpful if you are a bit timid and don't know how to begin.

3. Take a deep breath.

We underestimate the simplicity of taking a deep breath. In college we feel an expectation to be busy 24/7 with no breaks. We go to class, practice, work and Greek events, and then on the weekend, our friends expect us to go out every night when maybe all we want to do is curl into a ball and eat ice cream under our covers. Well this is me saying STOP. Stop what you are doing, wherever you are, whatever you're doing, and breathe. Close your eyes and inhale deeply and exhale. Close your mind off from the rest of the world and focus on your breathing. You will feel almost instantly more relaxed.

4. Go for a walk through campus.

Enjoy the fresh air and the beautiful scenery. You will not only feel refreshed and relaxed, but also get to know the campus better. It will begin to feel like home.

5. Unplug.

Turn your phone off! It seems like such a crazy concept these days. We feel the need to be available day-in and day-out which is simply unnecessary. Today I challenge you to put down your phone. You may feel anxious at first or go to pick it up and mindlessly scroll through social media when you feel a twang of boredom, but that's okay! It will get easier, and before you know it, you won't even miss the expensive brick we call a phone.

6. Find your "spot."

Whether it is the local coffee shop, the steps at the highest point of the city or one of the many parks around the area, find a place that is special to you. This spot should be one you can go to when you are being pulled in 30 different directions and don't know where to turn. In my spot, I can sit and reflect on my life, take a breath and relax. It is a wonderful feeling to have a place to call your own and know that on the most stressful of days, it has the power to relax you.

7. Take an exercise class.

The power of exercise is one we typically forget. When we are stressed to the max, a nap seems like the logical way out. But exercise can be monumentally helpful to relieve your anxiety. Head down to your local gym and take an exercise class or just hit the elliptical. Most gyms offer all sorts of classes, so whether you're into yoga, aerobics, Zumba or killer cardio classes, they've got your back. Many have classes all day long so you can work around your school schedule!

8. Eat breakfast.

We tend to forget the importance of eating breakfast. Living in the residence halls and having to rush up to class seems like enough of a task some mornings, but adding a granola bar on your hike is a small change with a big impact. It will give you energy to start your day and the motivation to make your day a good one.

9. Smile more.

Ahhh the joy of seeing a smile! Even when you are not in the greatest of moods, simply putting a smile on your face when you pass by people will not only begin to change your mood, but also the attitude of those around you. The power of a smile can change a day. Try smiling more today and see what it does to your mood and your stress levels. With more joy in your life, tasks will seem bearable and even your busiest days will be happy ones.

As a great man once said, "Make it a great day or not, the choice is always yours!" (Randall Cooper)

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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