Six Ways To Relieve Stress

Six Ways To Relieve Stress

Let's stop joking about it and start ending it.
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Stress, stress and more stress. It is all we seem, myself specifically, to talk about and focus on. For some of us, that's what our world revolves around. We write blogposts about it, we laugh at memes involving it. Heck, we practically allow it to control our lives. But what if we stopped allowing it this control? What if we actually started working to manage our stress levels and enjoy the things we're doing. According to a lot of psychologists, most stress can be prevented with better planning and time management, but before any of that can happen we have to learn to tame the stress we currently have. Here are six solid ways to start relieving your stress:

1. Listen to music

When I sit and think of all the great times I've had in life, a majority of them had a catchy song playing in the background. In the words of the great Taylor Swift, "people may not always be there for you, but music always is." Once you find your genre/artist/band/style/soul song it is almost impossible to not allow it to affect your mood. When you find yourself drowning in the demands of your world, take a minute to pause life but play your music.

2. Call a friend

You don't have to talk about your stress, it would probably be better to talk about something completely unrelated. Call up your guys and gals and ask them about how they're doing or what is going on in their life. Sometimes distractions are the best way to advert your stress and calm yourself down. If you can't avoid the topic of stress coming up then feel free to get it off your chest. The power of saying how you're feeling is relieving and a good friend is the perfect way to do this.

3. Exercise

It sounds painful (to me at least), but too many studies have shown the positive correlation between a healthy mindset and a healthy body for me to ignore this one. Maybe you're in to lifting weights, maybe you're a runner, maybe you're into something of slower pace like walking or yoga. Whatever your workout fancy is, take an hour to escape from what's causing you anxiety and allow your body to release all those healthy endorphins.

4. Take a deep breath

It sounds silly, but sometimes a simple long breath in and a long breath out works magic. Just taking a few minutes to sit back and relax allows for better oxygen flow, your muscles to relax, and for your mind to clear up.

5. Start enjoying the simple things

Find pleasure in that short conversation you had on the concourse or that candy bar you snacked on a few minutes ago. It is so easy to let the larger things like school assignments, club commitments, and friendship woes to control our mind that these little breaths of fresh, sweet air, get lost in the shuffle. Make a conscious effort to find joy in your storm.

6. Read scripture

Nothing makes me calm like the word of our Lord. Start your day off with a devotional, write encouraging scripture in your planner, and make time during the day to turn to God. The bible is full of advice for the troubled heart and always does wonders for my stressed soul. Above all, if anything can conquer the monster of stress in your life sweet Jesus can.

Cover Image Credit: ttlearning.com

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5 Perks Of Having A Long-Distance Best Friend

The best kind of long-distance relationship.
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Sometimes, people get annoyed when girls refer to multiple people as their "best friend," but they don't understand. We have different types of best friends. There's the going out together best friend, the see each other everyday best friend and the constant, low maintenance best friend.

While I'm lucky enough to have two out of the three at the same school as me, my "low maintenance" best friend goes to college six hours from Baton Rouge.

This type of friend is special because no matter how long you go without talking or seeing each other, you're always insanely close. Even though I miss her daily, having a long-distance best friend has its perks. Here are just a few of them...

1. Getting to see each other is a special event.

Sometimes when you see someone all the time, you take that person and their friendship for granted. When you don't get to see one of your favorite people very often, the times when you're together are truly appreciated.

2. You always have someone to give unbiased advice.

This person knows you best, but they probably don't know the people you're telling them about, so they can give you better advice than anyone else.

3. You always have someone to text and FaceTime.

While there may be hundreds of miles between you, they're also just a phone call away. You know they'll always be there for you even when they can't physically be there.

4. You can plan fun trips to visit each other.

When you can visit each other, you get to meet the people you've heard so much about and experience all the places they love. You get to have your own college experience and, sometimes, theirs, too.

5. You know they will always be a part of your life.

If you can survive going to school in different states, you've both proven that your friendship will last forever. You both care enough to make time for the other in the midst of exams, social events, and homework.

The long-distance best friend is a forever friend. While I wish I could see mine more, I wouldn't trade her for anything.

Cover Image Credit: Just For Laughs-Chicago

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Burnout Doesn't Just Affect Those In The 'Helping' Professions

Burnout refers to stress and exhaustion and it is commonly felt by those in "helping" professions - doctors, nurses, and EMTs, but burnout can affect anyone, no matter their job, career, or college major.

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When I was a senior in high school, I did a project about burn-out in emergency medical technicians. My mom is an EMT, and I spent a lot of time with her at the station. I would help her and her partner disinfect, wash, and check the inventory of the ambulances while she was on shift. I would help them make dinner, which, sometimes, she would be called away from.

It wasn't always dinners she would be called away from though. Sometimes she's woken up in the middle of the night, called away to a scene. And they aren't always "walks in the park"; sometimes they're violent accidents - cars flipped on their sides in the ditch.

Even though I spent an entire semester of my high school career researching burn-outs for emergency medical technicians, I didn't realize burn-out could affect college students in similar ways.

I wish I had all of that research about burnout in EMTs still handy, but I remember vaguely that burnout is a major reason why EMTs don't last very long in their careers. Burnout is a serious issue.

At this point, if you're wondering what "burnout" is, it's a state of chronic stress that leads to physical and emotional exhaustion, cynicism and detachment, and feelings of lack of accomplishment.

Signs of emotional exhaustion include chronic fatigue; insomnia; forgetfulness/impaired concentration; increased illness; loss of appetite; anxiety; depression; and anger. More information can be found here.

Signs of cynicism and detachment include loss of enjoyment (which can be mild, like not wanting to go to class or being eager to leave, but it can quickly lead to all areas of your life, including the time you spend with family or friends), pessimism, and detachment).

Signs of lack of accomplishment include increased irritability, and lack of productivity and poor performance.

People also report having less investment in interpersonal relationships; this may be because people feel like they have less to offer, they have a diminished interest in having fun, or have less patience with people.

I know all of my friends are ready for spring break to get in gear. My friends have told me about their plans about visiting their boyfriend for the week, their family vacation to California, and so on, getting away from their stressors.

Last week I had a "mini-spring break" - I spent the weekend with my best friend. We laughed a lot, and I didn't spend a second worrying about homework. I got away for a little while, and last week I was pretty on top of my game.

This week? Not so much. It took me hours to come up with an article idea and executing it took over two hours. I have been struggling to do my homework and going to classes. I've been bogged down with all my "adulting responsibilities."

Burnout is a serious issue - it affects everybody from EMTs to college students. Remember the basics: get enough sleep, eat right, and exercise, are the first steps in getting back on track.

It's important to recognize what exactly is stressing you out. With that, writing down at least one way to modify that situation to reduce its stress, and implementing it into your routine. Psychology today recommends taking breaks between big projects, although I know as a college student that's not always an option. It also recommends controlling screen time.

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