The Best Ways to Destress and Relax

Life can get pretty stressful sometimes, especially when it comes to being a college student or at any stage during our years of education. I am almost done with my classes for my fall semester and deadlines are starting to pile up! I can imagine that everyone is experiencing this too, it is always expected towards the end of a semester. This year is definitely different though, since many of us are either online or taking our classes in person. We’ve got this—we are already more than halfway there finishing the semester! On top of school, there is a lot going on in our personal lives too, we are all busy people. To help take your mind off everything, here are some activities that I find helpful when it comes to taking off some stress. Trust me, I know it can be hard to stop working or take a break when it is overwhelming, but it is good to relax here and there!

My Favorite Ways to Relax and Destress:

  • Watch a movie or show

I tend to do this a lot. Either I watch ones that I have seen a million times, they never get old or I start something new! I tend to go on Netflix, Hulu or Disney Plus. Some of my favorite shows are One Tree Hill, Friends, Gossip Girl, The Office, and Gilmore Girls. To be honest, I could never get sick of The Office—it’s too good lol. I love so many movies that it would be a long list; some of my favorites are Stand By Me, 10 Things I Hate About You, John Tucker Must Die, Aquamarine, Remember the Titans, and P.S. I Love You. I recently just started watching the show Dawson’s Creek. As you can see, I gravitate towards the early 2000s ones—they are just so nostalgic and classic. Sit back, grab a snack and watch something that makes you happy!

  • Listen to music

Music is the best—there are so many genres to pick from for what you are feeling to express yourself. There are songs that are happy, sad, thrilling and empowering, there is a fit for everyone. It is a blast when you are in the car blaring the sound and listening or singing along to songs, especially when you are with friends. This is one of my favorite activities to do—my best friends and I will sometimes go out to get coffee or go on trips, we go all out. Even just sitting down listening on my phone or watching the music videos are great too. I even play music while I do work too for a balance, which can be nice!  Some of my favorite artists are Taylor Swift, Alicia Keys, Lana Del Ray, Billy Joel and the band HAIM. Music is therapeutic, it allows for us to relax on a vulnerable level. 

  • Take a hot shower or bath

I love taking showers so much better at night after a long day. I like to do hair masks a lot when I feel like treating myself. I do them at least once a week using a clarifying shampoo, then I leave the product in for about 10 minutes. My favorites are by Joico and the Olaplex leave-in mask; these brands have really awesome products in general too! Joico can be found at Ulta and Olaplex at Sephora. I recently started using the Amika Reset Exfoliating Jelly Scalp Scrub shampoo that I do sometimes once a week if I do not use a mask and it works so well. It is meant to exfoliate the scalp of build up and soothe irritated or oily scalps. After using the scrub my hair feels fresh and clean, the texture of it is a thick gel that is gritty. It is so simple to create a spa experience during a shower or bath all by products and procedures, definitely relaxing!

  • Eat something sweet

Chocolate is the best! It helps having a sweet snack, I tend to snack on M&M’s and Hershey Kisses a lot. Chocolate covered pretzels are also perfect for a sweet and salty option. A warm brownie with ice cream is so good, nothing better than rich chocolate and creamy vanilla ice cream. Sometimes when I am feeling lazy, I will microwave cookie dough and have ice cream with it, so simple, yet so perfect. Eating it uncooked is even just as amazing. Splurge, eat whatever it is that brings positive vibes!

  • Do a workout

I always feel so good after a workout; it’s a great opportunity to blow off some steam and still be productive. I like jogging on the treadmill and using workout videos for exercises, then I do stretches. I enjoy going on walks too. What is nice about walking is that you can go anywhere, in your neighborhood, town, a track or even at home if you have a treadmill. I miss constantly walking around Boston, it was definitely a work out, so many steps! I like the scenery in the city and the whole atmosphere in general, helps take my mind off things. The beach is another one of my favorite places for a walk, best during sunset. A walk or work out gives us an outlet to release our stress. 

  • A shopping spree

Shopping can be so much fun, online is less work for sure! Target trips are my go to’s because it literally has everything and the clothing is so cool. I browse many of the isles from decoractions to the ice cream lol. When I look online sometimes I do not even make a purchase, just like looking. Amazon is addicting too, there are so many items to pick from, lots of options. Lately I have been looking at American Eagle a lot, I love their sweaters! Doing this brings some excitement with the anticipation of buying and waiting for items to come in, an exciting way to change focus. 

  • Bake some recipes

I have always loved baking. It is relaxing, measuring everything out and achieving the end result! It is nice following the steps and it is an activity that requires precision, making it more satisfying. I have been baking since I was little and did it constantly in middle school, making one or more baked goods every week. Here’s some of my favorite recipes that I have made over the years:

    • Molten Cakes, made in cupcake pans, the recipe is super simple

    • The New York Times Chocolate Chip Cookies, these are amazing, are a little complex, but not too tricky

    • Ghirardelli Ultimate Double Chocolate Cookies, they are so rich, like a brownie in a cookie, recipe is easy to follow

    • Hershey’s Peanut Butter Blossoms, so addicting and such a classic cookie

    • Robyn Stone’s Chocolate Pound Cake, its dense, but tastes very good, uses a bundt pan and takes a while to cook (about an hour)

    • Monica Matheny’s Toffee, perfect for the holidays, the recipe includes pictures to help follow and know what everything is supposed to look like in each step

  • Make a plan

    When I am overwhelmed and stressed, I find it helpful to plan out my week and what it is that needs to get done. I like to look over my calendar and set earlier due dates for myself before the actual due dates to get ahead. It reduces a lot of stress doing this because it allows time for other priorities and gets assignments out of the way. I feel so much better, as it is a relief to complete them. Planning out times to study and work on assignments helps prevent procrastination and tasks piling up. Going to office hours with my professors is great, because it helps me understand what I am doing more and gives extra guidance. Sometimes I do procrastinate and I still get everything done, but it is definitely less pleasant. For staying ahead and prepared, I put due dates in my calendar, write in my agenda, and set reminders on my phone. I give myself breaks during the day too, which are needed. It is all about finding the right balance with school and our personal lives. It is totally possible if you are driven and want to make these changes, for sure worth it to create less stress.