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Tried and Tested: Reviewing popular De-stressing techniques

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Nottingham chapter.

How can I be less worried? Less tense? Less stressed? Questions often posed in our society, and just as often answered with a variety of techniques and strategies. Stress has been a buzzword over the last few years, with multiple attempts through various institutions (schools, universities, businesses) to help people regulate it. Stress as a core issue in our society requires core fixes, fundamental changes, but often we are suggested small activities to give reprieve. In the following paragraphs I have decided to test my own ability in using the de-stress teachings and actively attempt to manage my own stress from the various advice I have received over the last ten-ish years. The next few de-stress activities are the first few things that came to my mind when I asked myself: what can I do to encourage calmness? It is not a professional list.

So, what did I discover….

1. Colouring book. A few years ago, I was gifted a colouring book for therapeutic purposes, in which, are sketches of various scenes and patterns to colour in. Now, despite loving colouring books when I was a child, I hadn’t thought them hugely applicable in adulthood. However, I was pleasantly surprised at the activity, perhaps due to the mirroring of that childhood innocence and treating something with seriousness in a soothing and calming repetition.

2. Yoga. Yoga has often been floating around as an abstract concept of peace and calm for many years in my mind and I was encouraged by the lockdown trend to start the day with a morning yoga routine. I have since attempted to slowly educate myself, with still much to learn. Yoga, in my basic preconception, provoked serenity as it gently exercised both the body and mind. I have attended multiple yoga classes, in which brief explanations of the concepts and ideas behind yoga have been explained to me, and which I have thoroughly enjoyed. As we all know exercise is beneficial to the health of your body and mind, but in practicing yoga, I had a complete focus on my body itself. Whilst attempting not to collapse and holding an almost gentle concentration on my physical actions, I felt the calm in accepting the challenge and also the failure.

3. Crafting. Recently, I have noticed many people have begun to crochet. Now, I have not attempted to crochet, but sew. This is for many reasons including that I felt like it could be a de-stressing activity as it would require a focus on repetitive movements careful deliberation, and secondly as I already owned sewing thread and needles. Thus, I believed that it would follow my other successful attempts to inspire a calm mind, as it was an activity with an external focus that I could achieve something. However, if the creation does not go to plan, and you get increasingly frustrated at being unable to create a tote bag, the stress levels are not positively impacted.

4. Walk through nature. A social media trend appears to be walking for your mental health; another opportunity to test a de-stress activity and supported by the years of being told that getting outside and doing exercise helps to boost happiness and physical health. I think this was possibly my favourite, as a walk can be as social as you would like. The other techniques I have tried are very individually oriented. Despite self-reflection and alone-time being good to understand and appreciate your self, being able to interact with others, express opinions and have them be listened to, I believe minimised my stress greatly. Also, in listening to a friend, I found the methods to calm and soothe them a self-reflective experience, making me appreciative of their guidance but also my ability to help and be useful.

These reflections have been quite therapeutic for me, but I hope with exams coming up and just life in general they may be useful in considering what may be uniquely helpful to oneself to reduce stress.

If stress, anxiety, or other issues are concerning, The NHS website has a section on mental health, including information and advice about stress.

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Elle A

Nottingham '23

Writer for Her Campus Nottingham. Lover of tea and Austen.