If you haven't noticed, I haven't written a new blog post in over a week. Shoutout to Junior year for killing my free time. I'm starting off my third year in college by taking 19 credits, after having just added a double major (Marketing and Hospitality Management). I've also been juggling a part time job, a chair position with my sorority, a new staff position for a literary publication on campus, and deep involvement in the student programming board. Oh, and social media. You could say it's been a pretty stressful semester already.
I've spent the first month of the semester trying to come up with ways to relax and de-stress among the midst of chaos that is my life. As hard as it may initially seem, de-stressing doesn't require scheduling a whole block of time to do yoga or go on a hike. I've found comfort in a lot of small things I do every day, like sitting on my bed with my room lit by string lights, or waking up an hour early to cook myself breakfast. Here are some of my go-to de-stresssors:
Peppermint hot chocolate. I don't know if it's just me, but hot chocolate with a shot of peppermint flavor is the most calming thing on this planet. It's warm and chocolately and reminds me of Christmas, even when I drink it in 80 degree September weather. Making loose-leaf tea also does the trick, but it's a lot easier to pop in a Swiss Miss k-cup in my dorm room than go down to the kitchen to boil water in my non-existent teapot.
Studying in coffee shops or outside. As painful as studying may be, a change of scenery is refreshing and can even help you concentrate better. Even though I'm not a huge coffee drinker, I find the scent so soothing, and the relaxed atmosphere of coffee shops keeps me calm and content while working. The outdoors is also a good study environment because you are surrounded by fresh air and nature to keep your mind clear and your positivity up.
Blogging. Instagramming. Tumblring. My love for photography and aesthetics is fueled by seeing cool Tumblr posts and Instagramming my favorite pictures. It's also a pretty good source of self-esteem, if you ever find yourself needing a little pick-me-up.
Writing in general. I don't even consider myself a writer, but it really puts me in a zen type of mode. I keep a journal to draw, write inspirational quotes (the tumblr-esque ones, not the cheesy ones), jot down notes, and write about my day. I guess that's technically a diary, but without all the gossip and deep secrets. It's my Tumblr in book form.
Walking outside on a nice day. When the weather is nice and the sun is out, I LOVE life. Simply walking outside lets me take everything in and appreciate how good life is at the moment. Sometimes, fresh air and sunlight is all it takes.
Re-reading books. I'm gonna be honest, I barely read for fun. I'll maybe read two or three new books a year. I don't even know. Over the summer, I decided to start re-reading the Harry Potter series, and it made me remember how much I loved Harry Potter as a kid (it was my entire childhood, let's be real). Reading is a lot more calming than watching shows on Netflix, because you're able to take your eyes away from the bright lights coming from phones and computer screens, and let your mind go to work.
Lunch with friends. It's nice to take a break and treat yourself to lunch with your friends. Whether it's a Starbucks study date, a taco night, or brunch downtown, I always feel my best when I'm surrounded by people I love.
Talking on the phone. Sometimes, calling your parents, best friend, or significant other will immediately do the trick. 9/10 times, they'll be able to calm you down and make you feel better. Regardless, it just feels good to vent about whatever's going on in your life to someone who genuinely cares. If I'm stressed about school or work, I'll call my mom. For more socially-related situations, I'll call my boyfriend. Talking to someone else about your stress is actually one of the better ways to get over it.
Just to clarify, these are my personal ways of de-stressing. They aren't the typical things you'll find on a blog about good ways to de-stress, like meditating, eating chocolate, or doing yoga. They may not seem like much, but they really go a long way when utilized during a relatively busy day. When summarized, the things on my list are simply things that I find myself doing throughout the day that I really love. So, when you find yourself stressed out, take a minute to find something that you love to do-- even if it is simply making a cup of your favorite thing to drink or taking a short walk around the block.