Here's How You Can De-Stress and Relax

Once in a while, everything piles up on me, and I feel like I’m about to collapse. It’s that time of the semester; finals are around the corner, and, well, it’s evident that I’ll be doing some (or all) of the below sooner or later. Here are all the fun, crazy ways I de-stress during these tough, hard times.

 

I surround myself with specific friends.

Have you ever had one of those days where you just want to be happy but you can’t? You have a thousand different things due that week, and you just need a pick-me-up or a good laugh. Whenever I feel like this, I try my best to surround myself with friends that always make me laugh, smile, and forget about all the troubles I’m having. I’m talking about the type of friends you know you’ll be laughing uncontrollably with. I have a couple of these friends in particular, and I go out of my way to make sure I’m around them as much as possible, so I don’t spiral into an eternal pit of everlasting stress. I’d much rather spiral into an eternal pit of everlasting, tear-jerking laughter.

 

 

But sometimes, I keep to myself in my own little bubble.

There are a few moments here and there when I don’t want to talk to anyone. I care so much about my friends, but for me, there is such a thing as too much social interaction (and yes, it’s possible). For me, it happens after I get a really bad test or assignment grade back, right after I take an exam, or if I don’t get enough sleep from all the schoolwork I have. I need the breathers to recover from those mentally scarring moments, ‘cause yeah, school sucks sometimes. Try going home after class and curling up in bed, into a blanket burrito, with a bag of chips, an entire pizza pie, and a bunch of ice cream (and with Netflix open, of course.)

 

 

I listen to music, but not just any music.

I have a playlist of songs that I listen to when I feel like complete crap. It comes in handy very often, and the music reminds me that all stress is temporary. My go-to band for when I’m feeling really down is Set It Off, especially their album  “Upside Down.” The entire album revolves around picking yourself back up, and their lyrics are actual lifesavers. “Well I could focus on the hate, relive yesterday, and block out all the sunshine. Or I could focus on my lane, just live for today, sights set on the bright side.”

 

 

Even better, I go to concerts.

I’ve seen Set It Off pretty much every time they’ve played in my area since I started going to college 3 years ago, and they come here often. Listening to music is one thing, but actually being in a crowd that feels the same way as you, screaming the same lyrics into the air in unison, all while standing in front of the people who brought that music to life, is something so much more different. It’s unreal, exhilarating, and completely mind-altering and life-changing. It’s a kind of high that I live for.

 

 

S-E-P-H-O-R-A

Do I even need to say more? Sephora is my go-to store for anything that has to do with makeup, skincare, and hair care. If I’m feeling down or stressed, I spoil myself. If you don’t have the money to spare, you can also try pretty much all of their applicable products on, and you can even take home free samples! All you have to do is ask. One day, when I felt really overwhelmed with life, I walked into a Sephora store, told a makeup consultant that I want to try a new foundation, and no joke, she spent the next hour and a half with me trying on multiple foundations to see which one suited me the best. She then gave me two samples to take home and try on. Needless to say, it was definitely spiritually lifting, and I like change. It’s refreshing!

 

 

I constantly think about the future.

I try not to focus on what’s bothering me at the moment. It’ll only make me feel worse, right? However, I always push myself to think about how much easier things will be once those bad times pass, and oh boy, it’s helped me immensely. I took the MCATs over the summer last year, and it’s 7+ hours long. It’s pretty much the main deciding factor when schools review my medical school applications. If I messed up, I was done. The stress was eating me alive to the point where I became physically sick, but only one thing kept me together: The fact that the exam will be over soon. All I was looking forward to was that moment I answered that last question, stood up, walked out of the exam room, and stepped outside to breathe my first breath of stress-free air in almost 2 years. I even cried because I was so happy it was over. (Also, I might have binge-watched a bunch of Netflix shows for the next month afterwards, no regrets there.)

 

 

Overall, all the different things that I do to de-stress have one thing in common: they distract me from whatever is bothering me. It’s important to distance yourself from your troubles as much as possible. I’m not saying to ignore them (since, well, you have to deal with them eventually). I’m saying that it makes sense to push bad thoughts aside for a bit. What’s the point in stressing about something if there’s nothing you can do about it? Close your eyes, relax, and just know that the bad times will pass eventually.