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I Tried a New De-stressing Technique Each Day for 5 Days

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

It’s officially that dreaded time of the year after Thanksgiving but before winter break. Morale is at an all time low, stress is at its peak, and you’re trying to figure out how to teach yourself all of calculus in 12 days. Finals season is difficult, to say the least, and it is extremely easy to become overwhelmed. As someone who is very anxious as is, I decided to do five days of different de-stressing techniques to help ease the pain of exams. And this is how it went…

Day 1: Self Care

Who doesn’t love a good self care day? The relaxation of just sitting back and taking care of your body and mind is sometimes all it takes to halt a mental breakdown. Even if it is just for a short period of time, focusing on yourself is a great tool for de-stressing. For my self care day, I decided to do multiple activities. 

First, I used the Yes To Volumizing and Clarifying Hair Clay Mask ($2.99) before I showered. All you have to do is apply it from the roots to the tips of your hair, leave in for about 3-5 minutes, and then wash out before you do your normal hair routine in the shower. It was so easy to use, and afterwards my hair felt super smooth and bouncy.

After my shower, I focused on my face. I used the Yes To brand again (I love them) in their Brightening Vitamin C Glow-Boosting Mud Mask ($3.29). They really aren’t kidding when they say brightening mask because the glow is real! This mud mask is a personal favorite of mine not only because it always makes my skin so soft, rejuvenated and glowing, but it also is so satisfying to apply and peel off. I layed back for 10 minutes with it on and I also snagged a couple of cucumber slices from the dining hall to soothe my eyes. Voila, a makeshift spa!

I finished my little self care session off by drinking some tea and watching netflix to unwind before going to bed. After a long day of studying and doing homework, everyone deserves some time for themselves. I usually don’t take good care of myself in this regard, but this experience was so soothing and I would definitely recommend it to anyone who is feeling overwhelmed. Everybody can spare 30 minutes to take care of themselves!

Day 2: Meditation

Meditation is something that I have always wanted to try, but have never got around to doing. According to Heartfulness Magazine, they describe meditation very simply as a, “process in which we shift from thinking to feeling.” This can be achieved in multiple ways, but the most common way would be to:

– Find a peaceful place.

– Sit comfortably on the ground with your back straight.

– Deeply inhale and exhale slowly, focusing on your breaths.

– Let your mind drift away from the stress you are experiencing.

– Continue for as long or little as you want.

I set a timer to meditate for 10 minutes and I was pleased with the results. I thought it was going to be difficult to escape from the stress, but it turns out that focusing on nothing but your own breathing and tranquility is simple. I shut my eyes and tapped into my inner self, something that I never really get the chance to do. The only way I can describe it is a true escape from reality: a place where peace and self awareness is all that matters.

10 minutes, a dorm room and some peace and quiet is all you need to reap the many benefits of mediation. It’s that easy. Say goodbye to the stress of finals, and hello to inner peace! 

Day 3: Yoga

To the beginner, yoga can certainly be intimidating. However, it is a great way to exercise, stay in tune with your mind and body, and improve wellness. There are endless benefits from doing yoga routinely, but much like meditation, I had no clue where to start. To me it just looked like a bunch of random stretches, but it is so much more! Once I found a good beginner routine to follow on Youtube, it became easy and exciting.

I followed along with the video “10 Minute Morning Yoga for Beginners” by SarahBethYoga in the comfort of my dorm room (no yoga mat required). With over 7 million views, the video was very informative and a perfect introduction for me into the world of yoga. The routine was simple to follow, and I did it as soon as I woke up in the morning.

Waking up by stretching, breathing deeply, and relaxing my body turned out to be super energizing and It got me motivated to kickstart my day. It put me in a better headspace than I normally start my day off with, and that made all the difference. Doing just a 10 minute yoga routine in the morning definitely took some of my stress off of my day, put me in a better mood and eased my exam anxiety.

Day 4: Zumba

By far one of my favorite forms of exercise, Zumba can also be a really great tool for de-stressing as well. For those who don’t know what Zumba is, it’s essentially a fitness class where you dance to upbeat music and feel the burn while doing it. It’s easy to follow the instructor’s moves, and it is an inclusive environment with no judgment. Whether you’re the best dancer or the worst, you’ll have a good time.

Every Thursday I try and attend a 50 minute zumba class in the Cook/Douglass Recreation Center. I always bring friends with me and it is a great bonding experience where we can just let loose and dance with each other. I always used to think of Zumba as just a fitness class, but I actually have come to realize that it’s awesome for de-stressing as well.

When I get into the class setting, the stress of the real world gets left at the door. As soon as the music turns on, and it’s just my friends and I dancing to music together. I no longer have to think about studying for exams; all that’s on my mind is following the instructors moves and having fun. In addition, the instructors are always super encouraging and dance with smiles on their faces. They push you really hard to do your best and have an amazing time while doing it.

Zumba is an activity where you feel so good about yourself afterward. When you’re drenched in sweat, and your muscles are sore in a good way, you know you’ve done the best you could. That proud feeling gives you something to be happy and confident about, and helps to take away the stress of school work.

Find a Rutgers Fitness/Wellness Class here to help exercise your stress away.

Day 5: Coloring

For this de-stressing technique I decided to pay homage to the elementary school days. Something so simple as coloring can ease the brain and stimulate creativity; it is also a nice break from the monotony of studying and helps to rejuvenate the mind. You can find free color pages online to print out, invest in an adult coloring book (or children’s – I don’t judge), and even download an app where you can color with your finger. There are so many options for this simple method!

My roommate just so happened to have a whole coloring book with intricate designs of animals. I chose an octopus drawing, put on some background music, and let my creativity reign.

Meticulously coloring in all of the lines, as well as choosing whatever vibrant colors that I wanted, was super satisfying. All that I could focus on was the art and it took my mind away from the stress of school without a doubt. I loved watching the progression of the image as I went along, and after hours of coloring when I finally finished, it felt so good.

The creative liberty that coloring gives you when all you can think about are exams is a breath of fresh air. Everyone needs to take time to dedicate to the simple task of coloring. Although basic, it is undoubtedly therapeutic, relaxing, and satisfying.

To print free coloring pages, go here.

To download a coloring app, go here.

I found that trying new de-stressing techniques each day allowed me to stay in balance with myself, helped manage the feeling of being overwhelmed and got me to focus on something other than the stress of school work. Finals season can get crazy, and often times students end up overexerting themselves and neglecting their well-being. I have learned that everybody, no matter how busy their schedule, can take the time to care for themselves. These simple de-stressing techniques ranged from 5 minutes to 50 minutes; taking just 10 minutes out of your day to meditate or 5 minutes to do a face mask can make all the difference when it comes to handling stress.

Tori is a current freshman at Rutgers University from Middletown, New Jersey. She is pursuing a major in Marketing and loves to watch Netflix, write, travel, and be outside.
Cassidy hails from Delaware County, Pennsylvania and is an undergraduate Journalism and Media Studies major and Psychology minor at Rutgers University with a passion for telling stories. She is the current Co-Campus Correspondent for Her Campus Rutgers.