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Stressed No More

You have heard the tried and true methods of stress relief. Every article on the subject tells you how to better manage your time: sleep more and pencil in quality relaxation time. And while those things may help to a small degree (or, for you lucky ones who hardly stress at all, to a large degree), they certainly do not erase the pressure completely. So, what is a smart collegiette™ to do? Stop chewing those pretty nails in frustration, for starters, and take your pick from this slightly more unconventional list of study breaks. 

Go on YouTube and watch the latest viral video. It’s possibly the best thing you can do for yourself and makes you feel better in the long run. Studies have also shown that those who are in a better mood also retain more information than their sad counterparts. If that isn’t a good reason to watch a silly YouTube video about cats over and over, I don’t know what is.

Maybe it’s slightly taboo, but it is widely acknowledged that sex and sexual activity is a great way to relieve stress. As long as you don’t have to deal with guy drama, having sex will both give you a work out and some quality time with someone that likes you. What’s more comforting than that?

Freaking out is actually okay, and totally normal. But be sure to control the worry. Be like Jack from Lost: let the fear well up inside you as you count to five, freak out, and then be done. Another good way to deal with this is to write all of your frustrations down on a piece of paper and then ball them up and toss them. Worrying is okay as long as it doesn’t control your life.

Go to the Wellness Center event on Reading Day in Buntrock 142 from 12 to 4 p.m. to make cards, color, play with stress balls and just let loose.

Scream into that pillow, girl. Just don’t do it in the library.

Sometimes, it’s okay to back away from the computer and just…breathe. Let your mind fill up with anything and everything that you’ve been too busy to think about and create a story. We all daydream in our own way, whether it be visualizing the future or creating a totally new world to escape into. Doing so ensures that when you come back to reality, your head is cleared and happy.

Completely unplugging yourself is one of the most cleansing experiences a stressed out girl can go through. Log yourself out of social media sites, power down your phone, and remove your earphones. Take a moment to bask in the fact that you are unreachable and still secure. It’s a great self-esteem boost, because you realize that you are able to think and act on your own, and will get you back to the books with a hundred percent of your focus.

If you have the time, sleep. Just make sure you don’t nap for more than two hours, or you may seriously disrupt your sleep cycle. And don’t wait until too late in the evening, for this same reason. 

Taking care of yourself, and, more importantly, treating yourself, is a huge stress reliever. By pampering your tootsies (or whatever part of your body needs some love) you remind yourself subconsciously that you are a whole person, not just the product of your test scores. Besides, isn’t it secretly comforting to know that even if you get a bad grade on your history final you look good? Not to say that you shouldn’t give it your all, but just to simply keep perspective.

Clean up. Whether or not you need it, a shower is cleansing. It’s a chance to figuratively and literally create a clean slate within yourself. Take time to focus on how wonderful the water feels as it hits your skin, and don’t forget the yummy-smelling soap!

When struggling over a particularly hard subject, turn up your iPod or switch your Pandora station to something that you can really rock out to. Dance like crazy and sing along, and then go back to your work. You’ll have more energy and be more alert from a simple three minute study break.

It’s hot out anyways, so you may as well enjoy it. If you really want, take your homework outside and read it under a tree. But make sure you take a few minutes to close your eyes and enjoy the warmth of the sun radiating on your skin. Soak in some vitamin D to simply make you feel happier. And don’t forget the SPF. The last thing you need is more stress from a funny looking mole on your arm.

There is nothing more refreshing than vacuuming a messy dorm room. Trust me, I did it last night. Not only is it one less distraction, cleaning gets you up and moving while giving your mind a well-deserved break from hard thinking.

Though not for everyone, working out can be one of the best ways to let go of stress. Just make sure that you are giving your mind a break. This means no reading your textbook while you run on the treadmill. Just like your brain needs work, your body needs work, and consequently, your brain, just like your body, needs time to veg out.

With that said, possibly the best way to relieve stress is to simply not stress at all. Maybe meditation or yoga is the best way for some to do this, but ultimately, it’s super smart to just take a minute to forget about all of your worries and just wipe your brain clean. The best way to do this is to simply focus on your breathing while relaxing each muscle of your body.

Have another fun way to relieve stress? We’d love to hear it!

Jessica is a senior at St. Olaf College majoring in English with concentrations in media studies and Middle Eastern studies. As one of the Campus Correspondents for Her Campus St. Olaf, she enjoys writing and editing news stories, and encouraging younger Oles to express their skills and talents through writing. She also is an editor for the school's student newspaper, The Manitou Messenger, and a writer for the college's marketing and communications office. In her (limited) free time, she enjoys eating pita and hummus from the Cage, curling up in a Buntrock window seat with a good book, and checking things off her senior bucket list.
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