4 Tips to Relieve Stress and Increase Good Vibes

If you’re anything like me, you’re finding it very hard to stay focused and relieve stress during this extremely stressful time. Not only are we facing a pandemic, but there’s online school, jobs applications, organizations, work, staying active, socializing, and also making sure you’re getting enough sleep. It’s intense. I’ve always wanted to be a laid back, no stress kind of gal, but I have my moments where I am extra wound up. That usually results in me stressing about what I have to do instead of actually doing it. Here are a few helpful tips that I have found to sooth my anxious mind so I can be productive and not pull my hair out! 

  1. 1. "Top 3" To Do List 

    This one sounds very basic but it’s saving my life over here. I LOVE a good list for what I need to get done during the day, but sometimes the traditional to-do list can be extremely overwhelming. Especially, if you don’t know where to begin. This is where picking the “Top 3” on your agenda comes in. You can pick these three items in any fashion you’d like: due today, priority, easiest tasks, etc. I like to look at the upcoming due dates and what my priority is for that day so my “Top 3” usually consist of papers or homework that needs to get done before the end of the day or next class meeting.

    Here’s the tip: you MUST get these top three items done by the end of your day, no ifs ands or buts. It doesn’t matter how you do them, when you do them, or how long it takes but they’re the most important tasks for your day. Everything else that isn’t in your top three can be done if you have extra time or brain power, but don’t beat yourself up. Save it for tomorrow or later in the week! 

  2. 2. Morning and Evening Journaling 

    Okay this is probably another basic one, but I have always had issues staying committed to journaling. I have always thought that my journal entries need to be pages long and I usually tend to only journal when I am having boy problems (that’s so embarrassing to admit but we all have skeletons in the closet, right?) Recently, I started journaling twice a day: in the morning before I start work and in the evening before bed. These entries are not super long, they’re usually about how I’m feeling, what I want to accomplish, and maybe even throw in a cool dream I had. I also love writing down five things I’m grateful for.

    The key with this is that they must be different every day. It really helps me start my day on a positive note and forces me to look at the little things I’m appreciative of such as a glass of water, talking to my family/friends, or having air conditioning. At night, I write a few sentences about my reflection on the day and I’ll usually write down the tasks I didn’t get to, so my brain isn’t playing re-runs of “What do I need to do tomorrow”? I usually spend five minutes doing evening journaling and let me tell y’all, it has made relaxation and falling asleep SO MUCH EASIER! 

  3. 3. Spending Time Outside 

    I would not be suggesting this if the weather wasn’t at least semi-pretty right now, but Texas is being spoiled with clear skies and a nice breeze so here goes! I used to always spend my study breaks looking at social media in bed or on the floor and I’m so over it. If you want to spend your down time like that, do your thing, but put a little twist on it and go outside! Vitamin D from the sun does amazing things for our mind, body and soul! You can spend 10-15 minutes outside on your phone, walking your dog, listening to your favorite music, or on FaceTime with your best friend. Whatever fits your fancy. It’s really about changing your scenery (since I imagine we are all stuck in our rooms or the library because of online classes) and I have found that being outdoors in the sunshine recharges my mind and body like no other. 

  4. 4. Affirmations and Meditation 

    This one can be really hard for all of us, I know. When I hear people tell me to meditate, it sounds so difficult and like I won’t do it right. However, there’s no right or wrong way to meditate. I like to meditate right before bed because it relaxes me but I always say a few affirmations first since I want to be completely still and turn my brain off when I meditate. I saw this Tik Tok recently and the girl who posted it suggested saying “I love you, goodnight” a few times before you go to sleep every night. I thought it was super weird at first but there’s something so comforting about this exercise. So, every night before I do my meditation, I will say goodnight to myself and “I love you” and then I like to repeat “I am happy, I am healthy, I am at peace” 2-3 times before I continue to my mediation. I use the “Breathe” app on my Apple Watch but if you don’t have an app, you can simply breathe in through your nose for 4 seconds and then breathe out through your mouth for 4 seconds. Your mind will wonder, that’s okay, I usually focus on breathing, my body starts to get heavy and relax and I usually fall asleep without even trying. 

Life can be really challenging sometimes and thinking about adding in stress relief and relaxation tips can aid in the stress that you’re already feeling. These four tips are simple, quick and positive ways to add some stress relief into your life that won’t take up any extra time. All of these activities are essentially swapping out your current habits for something that will benefit your wellbeing and overall self. Instead of waking up and getting on Twitter, you can journal about how you slept. Your 15-minute study break can be spent outdoors. All of these tips will help you feel less stressed, more excited about each day and you will take on each day like a champion!