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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at FSU chapter.

It’s spooky season, and not just because Halloween is rapidly approaching. With midterms, papers, endless Canvas assignments, the Presidential election and the public health crisis of COVID-19, the world can seem quite stressful and scary right now. In fact, the American Psychological Association found that American adults are currently reporting an average stress level of 5.4. When asked about the stress they feel towards the coronavirus pandemic, this number spikes up to 5.9. These levels are significantly higher than the average stress level reported in 2019, which was 4.9.

In this overwhelming, exhausting time with little work, school and home life separation, and the increased need to give back in our communities caused by the pandemic, it can be easy to forget and completely ignore your own needs in all of this. But, ignoring yourself will quickly cause burn-out when what the world needs right now is your beautiful spark. This fall season, it is now more important than ever to reduce stress levels by doing what we can to (trick or) treat ourselves and make sure we can be 100% that witch. Keep reading for some spooky self-care ideas!

1. Just Breathe, Pumpkin

Breathing is one of, if not the most, important functions of our bodies. Yet, we often neglect or treat this function improperly. Have you ever been hunched at your computer, working on your latest essay or in a Zoom class, or driving on crowded Tennessee Street, and realize suddenly that you feel fatigued and out of breath? According to the Harvard Medical School, “shallow breathing…make(s) you feel short of breath and anxious.” Breathing properly recenters your body, lowers stress levels and “aids in you disengaging from distracting thoughts and sensations.” When you find yourself not breathing right, sit or lay down in a comfortable place. Breathe in slowly through your nose, letting your abdomen expand fully. Then, release through your nose or mouth. For a fall twist on this practice, you can trace the lines of this deep breathing pumpkin found here. Trace up and breathe in. Trace down and breathe out.

2. Pick Your poison

One of my absolute favorite ways to start my day or wind down at the end of the night is by sitting with a warm cup of tea by our apartment window, watching the world around me come to life or settle down for the evening. While tea is my drink of choice, you may prefer apple cider, hot chocolate, or even Pumpkin Spice Lattes! Just find what you love and pour it into your favorite mug. Take five minutes to sip, savor and enjoy.

dark cafe desk with phone, matcha latte, and book.
Photo by Jakub Kapusnak from Foodies Feed

3. Enjoy The Bewitching Outdoors

During this pandemic, many of us have spent more time alone indoors than ever before. With almost all classes online, it is extremely easy to finish a Zoom call and crawl back into bed with Netflix. This is perfectly okay every now and then, but don’t make this a habit! Getting up and going outdoors can instantly change your entire mood for the better. Put on your sneakers, grab your mask, and head out the door! Psychologists have found that even just a ten-minute walk can relieve anxiety symptoms and greatly boost creativity. If you live in Tallahassee, take a minute to read through this Her Campus article listing some of the best (free) parks to explore!

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Emily is a passionate writer and speaker dedicated to changing the world one shared story at a time. A junior studying English and Communications, she serves her community through organizations such as Camp Kesem FSU, and recently finished her second year as the Reading Clerk for the Florida House of Representatives. Emily is a proud cat mom, Parks and Rec fan, and taco aficionado.
Her Campus at Florida State University.