It’s a beautiful, cool, sunny day in the middle of cow and corn country. I’ve done all the normal human things a Saturday usually entails: woken up, showered, breakfast’d and lunched. And now I find myself sitting in my room, listening to the wind, the (unnecessary) fan, and Vampire Weekend.
Thursday and Friday were my first days of class, and surprise, surprise — I already have homework. But I thought before I get cracking on that, I should share with you all my six cures to feeling overwhelmed. Interested? Keep reading.
6. Take a walk When I’m feeling overwhelmed, sometimes (actually, most of the time) the best thing I can do is remove myself temporarily from whatever it is that’s stressing me out. And on a beautiful day like this, it’s nice to get homework, worries, and school out of your lungs and some crisp, fresh fall air into them, instead.
5. Take a nap I for one can never be productive if I’m about to fall asleep. Coffee and Diet Coke can stave off sleep to an extent, but when the caffeine wears off, where am I left? Probably fighting to keep my eyes open or slumped on the sofa. If there’s one thing that the child care I’ve provided over the years has taught me, it’s that taking a nap has a very beneficial outcome for all parties involved. Try it — but be wary of naps after about 4pm, or naps that last too long: those will mess with your circadian rhythms.
4. Call a friend or your mom, I’m sure she’d like to hear from you, too. Frankly, it doesn’t matter who you choose to call, but stopping your daily grind to catch up with a far-away friend has definite de-stressing potential. Call a friend you haven’t talked to in a while, a friend who lives out of state, call your parents to check in, call your grandma, even call your roommate to see if she can grab a quick coffee. Talking to someone is a quick and pretty simple way to take your mind off of your stress factors without you having to do really anything but be present.
3. Bake something Pretty much any methodical, trivial task with instructions and/or general guidelines is a stress reliever for me, so baking is right up my ally. I don’t know what it is about numbers and ratios and directions that makes me feel less overwhelmed… maybe it’s just the end product. While baking works for me, you might enjoy doing laundry, or assembling your latest purchase from IKEA — just something to keep you busy with a clear start and finish. I’ve got this recipe in mind for my next project (slash when I have all the ingredients).
2. Clean your room Let’s be real, I know your room is probably not as clean as you’d like it to be. And what feels better than coming home to a clean room? Probably being able to walk through it without stepping on anything. This suggestion — cleaning — fits nicely in with its precedent as there can be steps to how you clean: laundry first, then vacuum, then organize papers, etc. You get the drift. I’m not going to tell you how to clean… just that I have a feeling you probably should.
1. Make a list of your own Perhaps one of the best pieces of advice I’ve ever received was from one of my roommates freshman year. I found myself extremely overwhelmed and she looked at me and said, “Make a list.” Make a list of your own — it can be a grocery list, a to do list, a to buy list. It can be a wish list or a list of movies you still need to watch. The point of list making is to add a little order and provide just a bit of structure to the chaos you’re likely feeling if you’re reading this “how to de-stress” post. I just made one, now it’s your turn!
I hope these suggestions help you unwind a little bit as the semester gets going — but remember, don’t walk too far, get too chatty, or sleep too long, you’ve still got work to do!