Here's the reality: life isn't always peaches and cream and school and work and relationships can sometimes make us really, really stressed out. It's not always easy to just sit down and relax when you have that constant to-do list running in your head. But, relaxing when you're really stressed is very important. Here are a few steps to get you started on that path to relaxation if you're struggling with where to begin:
1. Get Active
For years, my parents have always told me when I'm stressed to workout or go on a bike ride and breathe in some fresh air. I thought it was silly, until I put it into practice. Now I'm in college and every free chance I get, I go swimming or do some yoga or take a dance class. Working out kicks up your endorphins which are natural pain-killers, and it actually helps you sleep better! Sleeping better is a no-brainer -- it automatically relieves some of your stress. Another thing about physical activity is that it's practically mindless work -- you're only focused on your body (And if you do yoga like me, not falling over) so there's no time to worry about that to-do list lurking in the back of your head.
One of the things that causes me the most stress in life is thinking about what it is I have to get done, and how much time I have to do it. Meet with an advisor, finish a paper, make a doctors appointment, etc...These are all things on a never-ending list, along with others, that maybe you need to get done soon. Since beginning college, I've found that the most important thing to do is to prioritize. Keep a schedule or a planner, and map out everything that needs to get done right now, so that you can move on to the due-dates coming up later. Getting what absolutely needs to be done out of the way will help you relax a little more, and maybe you'll find that you do have time to go to coffee with your friends.
3. Take Some Time To Yourself
Whether you're an introvert or an extrovert, there's evidence that says hanging out for a little while by yourself can be really beneficial. Sometimes it's important to turn down the lights and take a little nap, or indulge in your favorite movie or book and sit by yourself for a while. It can be stressful to be caught up in a big group of people day after day, whether that's at work or at school, and sometimes you really need to get away from the noise. So put on some music and take some time by yourself to do something that you love.
4. Breathe, Breathe, Breathe
Last but not least, remember to take a deep breath. If it's the only thing you do, it's important. Get oxygen into your lungs and flowing through your body. It's essential to take a deep breath sometimes in order to calm down, de-stress, and re-center your mind and body. You got this!