If you're in need of a self-love day, this post will hopefully give you some ideas! I've found that the best way to reduce my daily stress is by treating myself. Mindfulness is another popular and extremely beneficial technique that I am slowly trying to integrate into my life. I personally find it hard to focus on my breath and be present without other thoughts interrupting me, but like anything, mindfulness takes practice and practice makes perfect. If you are finding yourself overwhelmed and stressed out, here is my best advice: first thing's first, regulate your sleep. Going to bed and waking up at the same time every day is much more important than you may think. Doing so will get your body on a schedule and help to regulate your circadian rhythm, thereby bettering your quality of sleep. We all know that sleep is extremely important in keeping us mentally and physically healthy, so don't overlook it! In addition to controlling your sleep and wake times, you should limit screen time before bed to improve sleep quality even more, which will, therefore, help reduce stress levels. The next step to reducing stress is mindfulness. Some common and simple mindfulness techniques include deep breathing (I like to use the "Breathe" app on my phone), meditation, yoga (try to fit in 20 minutes in the morning), and journaling. Below are the techniques and activities I do to reduce my stress and reset my mood if I am feeling overwhelmed.
1. Journaling: I love journaling, regardless of whether or not I am stressed. I typically journal whenever I have gone somewhere or done something exciting. I highly suggest that all people do this so that people can reflect on their memories and have something to look back on and read. For me, journaling not only relieves stress, it also makes me appreciate and comprehend my memories and thoughts more than if I wasn't to journal them.
2. Going to a cute cafe: This is one of my favorite things to do when I'm stressed, or even bored. I love to go to a quaint cafe, order a latte and bakery item, and read or blog alone. I find it very relaxing. Sometimes I will go to a juicery or cafe between college classes to do homework or spend some time alone. Luckily they are typically very accessible to college students, so if you are a student take advantage of them!
3. Bubble baths!: This is yet another activity that I do regularly but is especially helpful when I'm feeling stressed. I love using a bath bomb from Lush, lighting a candle by my bath tub, and reading. There's nothing quite as relaxing to me like a warm bubble bath.
4. Spending time with my pets: I am a huge animal lover, so this calms me down every time. Like most dog owners, I think my pup is the cutest and sweetest in the world. My four cats are super friendly and cuddly as well. Between the five of them, they always manage to turn my mood around or at least calm me down. I love to just sit on the couch or my bed and cuddle up with them.
5. Baking: If I am extremely overwhelmed this isn't my go-to; however, if I just need time alone I love baking. Whether it be blueberry muffins or a pie, I love the soothing process of baking, followed by the delicious aromas. I understand that for many people baking is stressful, so if you are one of those people stray away from this idea!
6. Reading a book: Much like baking, reading isn't my go-to if I'm extremely stressed. Reading is an activity I do when I am having a "me day" and just want to relax. My favorite books, which I highly recommend, are "Tipping Point" and "Blink" both by Malcolm Gladwell.
7. Online shopping (or browsing): I love shopping, but when I'm stressed I don't want to leave my house or dorm room. Online shopping or browsing online stores distracts me and helps me feel a sense of relief.
8. Tap dancing/hobby: My passion and favorite hobby is tap dancing. For me, it is therapy. If you are feeling stressed I recommend taking some time out of your day to do what you love.
REMEMBER: Self-induced stress can't be solved through distractions. In other words, if you are stressed about finishing a paper or meeting a deadline, the best thing to do is to work on that paper or progress towards meeting that deadline. If you are stressed about something in your social life, try to work things out with the appropriate people. I recommend using some of the above techniques in the process, but remember that procrastinating will only prolong your stress. Daily, uncontrollable stresses, however, can be eased by the above techniques (at least from my experience!). Don't overwork yourself, take self-love days when you need to and can afford to, and find your balance!