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Got Stress? How These 5 Lifestyle Choices Have HeLped Me With Mine And Might Help you too

Time and time again, I would find myself researching ways to get rid of my stress and excessive worry. Time and time again, I would find suggestions that weren’t helpful because they just didn’t feel right. Maybe it was my lack of patience towards the idea of meditation or partaking in yoga that left me struggling to find a solution, but thankfully I found my own ways to cope with my constant stress, and I thought I’d share them with you.

Picking Up A Hobby That You Love

Hobbies can include virtually anything. Whether it’s ice skating, reading, or knitting, a hobby that you enjoy can improve your mental health and reduce stress. I have found that dedicating time to a favorite hobby allows me to enjoy myself, feel happy, and relax. The one thing I do have to caution against is continuing a hobby that you think you enjoy. You might have liked it once, but now find it draining or as some type of personal responsibility when you try it again. Make sure that the hobby is something you are actively enjoying and not something you’re convincing yourself that you enjoy.

Getting Your Steps In

Both outdoor walks and group fitness classes are great ways to get your body moving, but any exercise is a wonderful stress reliever. Not only does activity boost those endorphins that make you feel better, but it also serves as an outlet that can help you reduce your worry or other emotions that may be bothering you. Often, when I am going for a walk or participating in an instructor-led class, I find that I am reflecting on what is stressing me out in a positive and reformative light, rather than letting it overwhelm me. This is definitely something to give a shot!

Preparing Ahead

Preparing ahead can be hard to do, but in the end, it pays off. It can range anywhere from building your outfit the night before or beginning an essay a week before it’s due. It’s an easy way to way to help your future self not be overwhelmed later on, especially with an excessive amount of homework due. What I personally have done to help myself get ahead of everything that I need to do is create a spreadsheet of all my assignments, and look at what’s due a week in advance to begin working on it. More so, when I find that I have free time with nothing to do, I’ll try to get a little bit of work done.

Dedicating Time To Personal Breaks

This goes hand in hand with the first point, but taking a personal break doesn’t necessarily have to mean pursuing a hobby. It can be something as easy as lying down and relaxing. Either way, ensuring that you find some personal time within your day, even for just five minutes, can really soothe the body and mind. It can also be a way to recover, refocus, and reflect. Don’t continue to push yourself if you feel like you can no longer concentrate on what you’re doing.

Changing Bad Habits

This is probably the hardest thing to do overall, but it can also be the most beneficial. Bad habits, like procrastinating, can lead to frustration with oneself, as well as a build-up of stress. If you find that your bad habits are affecting your daily life, it might be best to work towards breaking them. There are plenty of guides online or in books that provide advice on how to break them, but what I’ve found the most helpful is taking it one step at a time. Take procrastination, for example: on the first day of the week, do 10 minutes of work, then give yourself a five-minute break. Keep building up this stamina over time, but don’t exert yourself to the point where it’s stressing you out even more!

While I know that achieving all of these can be hard, especially when time and money are concerns for any college student, trying to perform even one of these methods can be helpful. However, don’t overwhelm yourself with the idea that all of these have to be obtained in order to decrease your stress. A lot of the time I fall victim to wanting all of this, and wanting to do all of that, but I eventually learned that it’s okay if not everything happens all at once. Take it slow, and do what’s best for you!

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Aili Byron

U Mass Amherst '26

Hi, everyone! My name is Aili. I am an English and Communication major at UMass Amherst, and a few of my favorite things include hiking, reading, and (as you can imagine) writing. If you are ever struggling to find me on campus, just listen for Taylor Swift, and I'm sure I'll be there ;)