Different Ways to Relieve Stress and Relax

Midterm season is finally upon us, and students like myself are struggling to find methods of coping with stress. Unfortunately during my time at Rutgers, I have noticed that students do not prioritize both their mental and physical health. These are issues that are not recognized often and it is common for students to keep to themselves while powering through their stress in unsafe ways. Mental Health Awareness Day was on October 10th, and while people posted on their social media about quotes relating to mental health, this does not happen every day. Just once a year. This made me realize that we, as a community, should make more of an effort to discuss options of relieving the stress and pressures of college. As a result, I have created a list of simple ways to relax and decrease stress during the fall season of midterms. 

Aromatherapy

(Photo by Cosiela B. on Unsplash)

Who knew that scents could minimize stress? During my first year of college, I dealt with loads of stress from exams that seemed never-ending. One day,  I eventually purchased a cheap and small diffuser packed with essential oils from a local Target. I was really just intrigued by the thought that smell could help me relax. And it did just that. I was fascinated by how the aroma of the essential oil could relax my mind and body. I highly recommend investing in a diffuser with a couple of essential oils and plugging it into the wall while you study, sleep, or when you need a break from doing your school assignments. 

There are a variety of essential oils, so here is a guide to help you. If you have trouble falling asleep due to stress: Try the lavender or chamomile essential oils which promote getting some shut-eye. Do you deal with anxiety and want to reduce it? Try the rose or sandalwood essential oil for a calming and de stressing environment. Do you often feel burnt out after class and need a mental boost? Try the rosemary or peppermint oil in order to sustain a focused mindset. Need some energy? Try the lemon or orange essential oil. Place your diffuser on your desk or near your bed, kick back and breathe because relaxation is just a sniff away. 

Netflix 

(Photo by freestocks.org on Unsplash)

Of course Netflix was going to be on the list, what else did you expect? You can’t go wrong with some Netflix. When I'm feeling stressed out while doing homework in my room, I close my books and open my laptop. I reward myself with a break from doing homework and watch Netflix for 1-2 hours. This allows me to regroup before I get back to completing assignments. If you’re really having a rough day though, I recommend taking the day off from doing homework. After class, take a long and hot shower, put on some comfy PJs, snuggle up in your bed and watch Netflix until bedtime. This may be hard for some of us to do, but it is important to recognize when we deserve breathing space and time to care for ourselves. Additionally, with Halloween right around the corner, why not indulge in some spooky movies and tv shows? Here is a list of shows and movies I highly suggest to watch and get in touch with your spooky side. 

  1. Chilling Adventures of Sabrina

  2. American Horror Story 

  3. Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween 

  4. The Haunting of Hill House 

  5. Halloweentown (not on Netflix but you can watch it on Disney Now) 

  6. In The Tall Grass

Tea

(Photo by Carli Jeen on Unsplash)

No, there’s not any gossip to discuss. But I do want to mention how different types of tea to drink are beneficial to our body and mind. Most teas contain antioxidants which ultimately help our bodies defend harmful molecules in the air. Also, teas contain less caffeine than coffee, making us less jittery throughout the day. Teas aid in weight loss, protect our immune system, improve our digestive system, but most importantly, they can help reduce stress. Drinking a cup of tea while studying, can help you feel better mentally and prevent feelings of distress. Here are some of my favorite, deliciously-tasting teas to reduce stress: 

  1. Tazo’s Sweet Cinnamon Spice 

  2. Bigelow - Cinnamon Apple 

  3. Bigelow - Cranberry Apple 

  4. Bigelow - Cozy Chamomile 

  5. Yogi - Breathe Deep  

  6. Yogi - Honey Lavender Stress Relief 

  7. Yogi - Peppermint Tea

Painting

(Karla Escobar)

Like many other college freshmen, I had a tough first year. Transitioning into a completely new environment was harder than I expected. Luckily, I was able to find a hobby such as painting, which allowed me to express myself in ways words couldn't. It was the perfect way for me to forget about my issues and focus on creating something beautiful. I become calm and relaxed when I paint and it is the most exhilarating feeling after a long hard week of exams. I encourage students to take up painting and use their creative side to produce art that makes them feel calm and collected. I recommend buying affordable supplies from Walmart or Target just like I did! So grab your brushes, a canvas, a cup of water, paint, and release your creativity! 

Pumpkin Picking

(Photo by James Wheeler from Pexels)

The air has become chilly, the colored leaves are now on the ground for us to step on and people are starting to decorate for Halloween. That means pumpkin picking has now made its way on our to-do list! Go grab some friends, make a trip to the nearest pumpkin patch and enjoy some apple cider donuts while picking a nice, small pumpkin to display back at your place! Furthermore, get into the Halloween festivities and carve a face into your pumpkin. This is a great way to enjoy the fall season while also taking a break from all that studying. Forget about your worries, relax and just pick some pumpkins! 

Check these places out!

Giamarese Farm & Orchards

Snyders Farm

Cheesequake Farms

Hit the Gym

exercising ariana grande GIF

Nothing is better than breaking a sweat and releasing those endorphins, triggering positive feelings all throughout your body. In my personal experience, going to the gym after a class helps me forget about the stress im dealing with. By the end of my workout session, I feel happier and more motivated to work on my assignments with a positive attitude. Exercising can certainly help improve your physical and mental health. All campuses at Rutgers University have a fitness facility open 7 days a week. There’s a diverse amount of fitness and wellness classes you can take such as Yoga, Zumba, BodyCombat classes and more that you can choose from. There is something for everyone at Rutgers, so definitely utilize these fitness classes to reduce stress and relax in your own way. Download the RURec2Go app and get access to daily schedules, events, and services available to Rutgers students. 

I hope that these methods of reducing stress and relaxing are helpful as they have been for me. I encourage you all to attempt these methods and spread the word to others if they have aided you in your attempts to relax. I wish all of you the best of luck during your midterms. Remember to take care of yourself during these stressful times and to always reward yourself with time to rest and recover. 

Sincerely,

K