I think it is important to stress that every single person on the planet suffers from stress. It is normal. It happens to everyone and it happens to them every single day. I would love to meet someone who has no stress whatsoever, which in all honestly, is probably impossible. Each individual feels and deals with all types of stress differently. Some people stress over an exam while others breeze through it. Some people stress over a job interview while others go in feeling extremely confident. Some people stress about what their significant others are doing and others have so much trust that they go with the flow.
However, the important thing for everyone to understand is... dealing with stress is incredibly important! Stress can affect a person's physical, emotional, and mental health! Some people get so stressed that they cannot even eat. Others cannot sleep, others cannot concentrate, and some feel so overwhelming stressed they have panic attacks.
As a college student, trust me when I say that I am the epitome of stress. I eat, sleep, breathe stress. However, after many years of cracking under the pressure, I finally found some ways to cope.
When I get stressed, I like to go to the gym and run for miles. It is a great stress reliever and does the trick when you need to clear your mind. A great perk is that it keeps you in shape! If you're not a runner, or you despise any and all physical activity, try taking a walk! Even a 10 minute walk around your house/apartment can help you mentality.
2. Ensure that you eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
Eat! Eat! Eat! First of all, who doesn't love food? Second of all, I cannot stress the importance of making sure you eat when you're stressed! Sometimes I get so stressed and anxious that I can't bring myself to eat and end up skipping meals. This ends up making me feel even worse, adding on to my stress. Do yourself a favor and take care of yourself!
3. Take a bubble bath.
This trick probably applies more to girls then guys but hey, everyone is welcome! Try turning the lights off, lighting some candles, and run a hot, bubble bath. Sometimes, I bring my laptop in with me and put on a show to keep me entertained. However, if you need a break from electronics, simply being in their alone can also do wonders! Another trick would be to play some relaxing and soothing music! This will help you loosen up and feel much more relaxed. Try doing a face mask while you're in there, target beauty and relaxation all at once.
4. Take a nap.
Some might view this as a bad idea, especially if you're stressed and cramming for a test. However, sometimes your brain and your body just need some time to rest. Take a quick power nap, even 30 minutes can make a difference. You can only study and cram for so long. When I tend to get stressed, I lose a lot of sleep and end up staying up so late. Taking a nap can help you gain back your energy.
5. Keep a planner/calendar.
Keep track of yourself! Some people get so stressed because they have so much to do and so little time to do it. It also doesn't help that everyone procrastinates. Having a planner or a calendar where you write everything down can really take you that extra mile. You won't forget any tasks or assignments and moreover, you can keep better track of time.
I know that meditating won't appeal to everyone. However, don't knock it until you try it! There are so many free apps that can walk and talk you through it. If you don't feel like downloading an app, try a Youtube video. I guarantee you there are hundreds of videos for you to look through. In some aspects, meditating is similar to napping. It will help calm and relax the brain and body.
7. Do Yoga.
Yoga almost pairs up with meditating. It also helps calm and relax your brain and body. It's all about finding your balance, physically and mentally. Furthermore, it will help you center your breathing and on top of that, it also pairs up with exercising!
8. Talk it out.
This one might be the most basic tactic there is! Talking to someone, anyone, can really make a difference. Whether it's a therapist, a counselor, a colleague, a friend, or your parents, talking it out can help you relieve the stress. Better yet, if you're stressed and stuck over some issue, perhaps talking it out can help you come to a solution. When I get stressed, or even angry, I love going on a good rant session. Scream it out, cry it out, talk it out! Do whatever you have to do.
9. Cry (if you need to).
Some of you might read this and skip right on. However, for some of us, probably most of the girls, will relate! Sometimes you get so anxious, so stressed, and so overwhelmed that you need to cry it all out. It is very cathartic and once you finish crying, you can move on. One time, I had three exams in one day and the day before, I spent the entirety of my day at the library grinding (more like cramming). At one point, I got so panicked and stressed about all of the information that I started crying for 15 minutes. Once I finished, I went right back to studying and felt 10x better.
10. Take the time to smile.
Smiling results in happiness and happiness results in less stress. They are all connected. Take the time and smile at others and hopefully, they'll smile back. It can make your day better and better yet, it can make someone else's day better also! Smiling plays tricks on the break, otherwise tricking you into being happy. Don't sit there 24/7 with a frown on your face!
11. Keep a positive attitude!
Similar to how taking the time to smile can trick you into being happy... keeping a positive attitude does the same thing! It helps you have better thoughts, react better, and do better! Trust me, being happy trumps being negative. This also means taking the time to take pride in your work, being confident in yourself, and believing in yourself! If there's a will, there's a way.
12. Keep a diary or journal.
Keeping a diary or a journal is very similar to talking it out with another person. However, this allows you to keep your private thoughts private. This doesn't mean that you still shouldn't take the time to talk to someone. This is just another alternative for you to deal with your stress. It proves very cathartic and allows you to get all of your thoughts out. Better yet, as time goes by, you can look back and see what difficulties you've overcome. It allows you to see your personal mental and emotional growth.
13. Avoid caffeine (or excessive caffeine).
Coffee, or any type of caffeine, can actually aggravate your stress. It can worsen your stress and anxiety, leading to panic attacks. Furthermore, as we previously discussed, it is important to ensure that you take care of yourself and get enough sleep. If you overdose on caffeine, you'll likely get little to no sleep, thus putting you even more on edge. Stick to drinking water! Stay hydrated.
14. Count to 10 (or past 10).
Counting has been proved to calm many people down! If you're stressed and feeling incredibly anxious, try counting to calm yourself down! Being stressed and anxious eventually escalate to panic attacks and no one wants those! If you find that you can't calm down, try counting with a friend. If your stress and panic is overwhelming, have a friend state various number out of order and have you repeat them. It's hard for the brain to focus on counting out of order and panic simultaneously.
15. Try coloring!
You can print out some coloring sheets or coloring book. Better yet, they make coloring books to help combat stress! These are designed specifically to calm you down and help you remain relaxed. It proves to be veery therapeutic and better yet, you can take it anywhere you go! If you're at work, school, the library, or even a coffee shop, take out your coloring book and take some me time!
16. Use essential oils or candles!
In all honestly, who doesn't love a great smelling candle? Or better yet, who doesn't love essential oils! They smell amazing and better yet, they help alleviate your stress and anxiety! There are certain scents that have proved to be therapeutic and instill a sense of calm. Some examples include lavender or rose! In other words, this is referred to as aromatherapy! Check it out!
17. Learn to say no!
Say no. No means no. Some people are too nice to decline others, going out of their way to help those who don't deserve it! Perhaps you feel to bad to say no or perhaps, you just feel like you can't. However, there comes a point when you need to stand your ground and stand up for yourself. If you're stressed and people take advantage of you, that will only make it worse for you. Learn to say no and learn to put yourself first. Moreover, learn to say no to other responsibilities. Yes, it is important to put yourself out there and try new things. However, first learn to juggle and tackle all of your previous priorities first! Or better yet, learn to drop some! If you can't handle it, then no big.
18. Avoid procrastinating.
This one might be the holy grail. Procrastination has never, ever helped anyone. Sure, we all do it because we know we can get away with it. In the end, however, you're really only hurting yourself. You wait last minute, feel all the stress and pressure, stay up late, and so on. However, knock things out when you can! If you have an assignment or big project due, do a little bit everyday. Don't knock out a 10 page paper the day before it's due (guilty as charged).
I cannot make this any clearer and I really cannot emphasize this enough... Dealing with stress is important! It is important for your physical, mental, and emotional health! It is healthy for your body and better yet, it is important for your academic and professional life!