Stress is one of those things that some take seriously and others don't. It's something that for many, can affect your weight, skin, mood, how you react, and your overall state of mind. Others find stress easier to handle and aren't affected as sincerely.
For me, it depends on the types of stress I'm going through. Family-related stresses tend to throw me off-balance much more than educational stressors. Friendship or relationship problems tend to stress me out to the point of distancing myself or blowing up. And educational stress can easily be pushed under the rug to be dealt with later since it's less important to me.
These are a few ways that can hopefully help you when you're going through a rough time in your life. Whether it's finals week, family drama, a breakup, or something else, at least some of these ideas can allow you to unwind, unload, and ultimately de-stress.
1. Watch the sunset while listening to music.
After a long day, if I'm lucky enough to be home before the sun is down, watching the sun slowly go away and nighttime come into view is extremely relaxing for me. It's a time to think about nothing: no problems, no issues, nobody. You don't even have to think about yourself. During this time, it's easy for me to think about the nature of the sun itself, how awesome it is to live in a world where things like sunrises, sunsets, the sky, clouds, and even colors exist.
I'm not trying to get spiritual or anything, it's just peaceful to embrace and realize. It's a freeing experience and when listening to the right kind of music, is even more amazing. As someone who already has a few playlists set for times like these, I value having my own space to truly soak up one of the most common, yet most taken for granted, experiences.
2. Go outside and do something active.
I know this sounds cliche, but going outside, especially on a beautiful day, can be rewarding. It can take you out of your current stressed or worried mindset and transform it into one that's carefree and happy. Even if those feelings just last until you go back inside and face reality again, that time is precious. Your mental health is just as important as your educational, family, and work life. They can be put on pause for a few seconds or minutes depending on how much time you have to spare. Try to find some time to embrace the world you live in, nature and all.
3. Cook a meal.
I love cooking. It's an activity that allows me to only think about food, which I find is an awesome feeling. Whether you cook a full-on meal or just make something easy like a sandwich or crackers and cheese, do it! I like cooking full meals with a side dish, vegetable, and protein. This allows me a few hours to myself to do something I love. And at the end of it, I have a delicious mouth-watering meal to indulge in that I made it all by myself!
4. Unload your jumbled feelings in word form.
Writing helps me release my feelings, irritations, and problems in my life. It's my purest form of how I feel and how I unload. I get more from doing this than from talking to someone about it. Whenever I'm stressed or I feel like I'm going to explode with emotion, the first thing I think of is "I want to write." And so I do.
Typing or writing helps me unravel the mixed and confusing feelings in my head and/or heart and turn them into a readable format with sentences that make sense. It's like some sort of secret power that gives me freedom from unwanted stress and burdens.
5. Rewatch your absolute favorite TV show or movie.
Watching my favorite shows, like "The Office" or "Switched at Birth," is one of my favorite pastimes in general. But this activity hits different when I watch a show to take me away from the stresses of daily life. Whether I just need to laugh or contemplate on the silly, minuscule, and fake situations the characters go through, watching these shows helps me see my problems as ultimately solvable.
I'm reminded that the reality of my problems shouldn't consume all of myself. Just like TV shows are a compilation of acting, editing, and details put together behind the scene, so are my problems, in a way. My problems grow from my perspective, overthinking, and whoever they affect. Ultimately, my life will be okay.
6. Eat junk food.
Ahhhh my favorite one. I'm kinda biased when it comes to eating junk food when I'm stressed because I do it even when I'm not. But it's still important to mention!
When you're stressed, it can feel like there's nothing that can help take the weight off of your shoulders. But if you're like me, a complete foodie who can be cheered up by the smell of McDonald's fries or a picture of donuts, then hopefully snacking on your favorite foods can be something to relieve some stress.
7. Vent to someone you trust.
While going to someone will probably never be my first option, it's still available. I'm lucky enough to have one person I can turn to when I truly need to vent. Venting helps me get things off my chest, but more importantly, it allows me to see what I'm going through from a different perspective.
Sometimes I can get so wrapped up in ONE situation or ONE feeling that it encompasses every aspect of my life and mood. It's not a great feeling and causes me to feel a heavy, invisible weight. When I talk about it to someone and ask what they think, it opens my eyes to a reality I couldn't see before.
Having someone you trust is key to this idea. Be careful who you choose to hold your information, feelings, and opinions. Not everyone can keep them safe or give you mature advice.
8. Take a boujee bath or shower.
Although I haven't done this in a while, taking a bath with music playing, a couple of candles lit, and bubbles surrounding me is so peaceful. You could even have your favorite show playing or munch on some snacks. Pampering yourself just because you can is a great feeling.
If you don't have a bathtub, long, hot showers work too. Just standing under a steamy stream of water, allowing your body to relax, is a great feeling. This is something that could be incorporated into your week to help wind down for the day.