6 Hacks to Relieve Stress Instantly

Classes may ~just~ have begun, but that doesn’t mean that your stress hasn’t built up already. From papers and exams to making time to take care of yourself, it's easy to get overwhelmed. Here are some tips to instantly lower your stress levels:


Take Deep Breaths

Photo courtesy of Oleksandr Pidvalnyi

When you’re feeling especially stressed, remember to take deep breaths. Anxiety causes you to take short, shallow breaths that don’t bring enough oxygen to your brain. By taking deep breaths, you allow oxygen to get to your brain, which helps reduce tension and release stress. There are plenty of websites and apps that can coach you through breathing exercises, too. 

Get Some Beauty Sleep

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Taking a 20-minute power nap is proven to boost alertness and productivity. Be careful not to sleep for too long; sleeping for 30-60 minutes will mean you’ll wake up in the middle of your REM cycle, leaving you groggy and feeling worse than before.

Go for a Walk

Photo courtesy of Keenan Constance

Taking a brisk walk is a great way to clear your head—it boosts endorphins which reduces stress hormones. With the weather finally getting warm, walking outside, even if it's just around campus, will be even more beneficial. Being in nature is another way to combat stress. Any other form of exercise should have the same effect so if you’d rather run some laps, go for it!

Take a Hot Shower

Photo courtesy of Rudy and Peter Skitterians

Not only is showering something you ~probably~ had to do anyway, but the warm water also relaxes your muscles and allows you time to think about something other than your research paper. Afterward, you can go back to your work feeling refreshed and clean.

Relax Your Muscles

Courtesy of Max Nikhil Thimmayya

Progressive muscle relaxation is another way to calm your anxiety and stress. Start by tightening your foot muscles as much as you can, then relax them. Continue this process for all your muscles up to those in your face. This process is often recommended to people who suffer from anxiety disorders to help them relax.

Listen to Music

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Listening to any type of music will send dopamine and other neurotransmitters through your brain and will help you relax. Classical music is extra soothing; it’s proven to slow your heart rate, lower your blood pressure, and decrease levels of stress hormones.

None of these hacks will help you if you don’t take care of yourself during this stressful time! Self-care is the easiest way to prevent yourself from getting super stressed out—get enough sleep, eat well, plan your time. You'll relieve your stress in no time!