Ways to Relax

I’ve always had a hard time sitting still—even when I was little, I dreaded naptime because it meant that I had to stop whatever fun activity I was doing. In college, this characteristic began to manifest itself as anxiety. I constantly feel like I need to be doing something productive and never give myself a chance to slow down. I think a lot of Duke students feel this way; with the rigorous academic atmosphere, it’s easy to feel like even your best effort isn’t good enough. However, I’ve discovered the importance of taking at least a few minutes each day to relax and give my mind a break from my to-do list. Here are some ways that you can take a short break, which will end up leaving you feeling refreshed.


1.     Make a list of all the good things that happened to you that day 

While it may seem silly at first, writing down the positive aspects of my day and my accomplishments makes me feel much less stressed out. It forces you to think about the good in life and realize that the problems you’re worrying about are not that important in the grand scheme of things.


2.     Try a new hair or make-up tutorial 

Watching videos on YouTube of new hair or make-up techniques helps distract me from whatever problems I’ve been facing lately. The simple motions of brushing my hair or applying mascara are therapeutic in a way. Plus, at the end, you’ll have a new look, which can boost your confidence.


3.     Make a recipe

Following the steps to make your favorite desert or meal is a great way to unwind after a long day. It feels good to produce something tangible from your efforts. Also, you can share with friends to further relax.


4.     Make a phone call

Whenever I’m feeling anxious, I take a minute to call one of my friends or family members—really just talking to anyone helps. This gives me a chance to momentarily escape from my current situation and explain whatever I’m worried about. Afterwards, I always end up feeling much more at peace.


5.     Read a good book

Escaping into another world for a little bit is often just what you need after a long day. I especially enjoy books because, unlike movies or TV shows, they require your full attention and often prevent your mind from wandering.

If you find yourself feeling anxious and unable to relax like I often do, try to incorporate some of these things into your daily routine. It can make a huge difference in your mood.