5 Routines to Help Manage Stress

As we make our way closer to the end of the semester and to finals week, it is important to cultivate and maintain healthy habits for self-care. Below are five routines to help manage stress.

1. Wake Up: Meditate, Stretch, Hydrate

When operating under stress we often hold a great amount of tension in our bodies. The neck, shoulders and back are regular problem areas for when we experience extended periods of stress (like in the weeks leading up to finals). Wake up and mediate for 10-15 minutes. Remain present and assess your body’s painful areas and attempt to consciously relax them. After meditating, stretch to help alleviate the tension in the places where you still feel discomfort. End by hydrating properly to replace water lost during sleep – if you can try to drink a large glass of room temperature water with lemon. The lemon will help jumpstart your metabolism and the temperature of the water will help you avoid harsh cramping.  

2. Prep Meals Ahead of Time

Take some time each week to plan and prep your meals. Find recipes that involve lean proteins, lots of fresh produce and healthy grains so you can get the most nutrition out of each meal and avoid unnecessary stress-snacking.

3. Practice breathing with the 4-7-8 rule

When feeling especially stressed or when you are having trouble falling asleep, try using the 4-7-8 breathing technique. Place your tongue directly behind your teeth, breath in through your nose for four counts, hold the breath for seven counts and release the breath through your mouth (making a whooshing sound).

4. Balance your schedule with productivity and fun

In the next few weeks your schedule will most likely be packed with reading, practice questions, flash cards and writing essays. In planning your study schedule make sure to write in time for at least one thing to look forward to everyday. It doesn’t have to be big – it could be a coffee break with a friend, listening to your favorite album, taking a nice hike – whatever it is, make sure you are taking time to give your brain a break and give yourself a little bit of fun to keep you going.

5. Drink tea* before you go to sleep

*Herbal teas are recommended because they are naturally decaffeinated, but decaf black or green teas will work as well. As you wait for your tea to cool, breathe in the steam to create a mock-aromatherapy for yourself. Chamomile is a great tea to try this with because the scent is light and very relaxing. Mint teas can also be helpful for clearing your mind before sleep.