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Hello lovely Luuuxers!
The holiday season is here, and although I really love the festivity of the holidays, I have always found it to be one of the most stressful times of year. The weather gets colder and more gloomy, your schedule fills up with events, and of course, it is time for final exams and projects! Stress can make even the most merry of holidays feel like a chore, so I thought I would write today about how I manage stress. I am currently in Graduate school as well as applying and interviewing for medical school, as well as working a full time job, so it is an understatement to say that I have stress in my life! But I`ve found over the years that there are healthy and effective ways to manage it so that it does not affect your mood or well being as much.
Keep reading for my tips! :)
1. Take care of your body through diet and exercise
I used to be very guilty in the past of letting my body go when I am stressed! Being busy and anxious can make you feel like diet and exercise should go on the back burner to focus on other priorities. However, exercise is one of the best stress relievers out there! And, eating poorly will make you feel sluggish and tired, which only compounds the stress you feel. By keeping your energy levels up, you will feel more awake, energetic, and ready to check things off your to-do list, instead of napping and getting distracted.
2. Give yourself breaks
In college, I used to just power through study sessions, sometimes sitting for hours at a time going over the same material. I`ve learned now that it is much less stressful, and easier to remember information, when you give yourself a break every 45 minutes. Get up, do some jumping jacks or something, grab a snack or a glass of water, watch a YouTube video, anything to recharge your brain so you don`t burn out! It really does work miracles, as long as you return to your task once your break is over.
3. Practice deep, mindful breathing
When I get stressed or anxious, my body responds by creating a tightness in my chest. Everyone reacts to stress differently, but it can manifest itself physically in many ways. I`ve found that practicing deep breathing when I feel stressed is helpful to alleviate my muscle tightness, but also to help clear my racing mind. What I like to do is sit up straight in my chair (sometimes I cross my legs), breathe in deeply and slowly for five seconds, hold it for five seconds, and then exhale slowly for five seconds. I will do this for a minute or two to let the oxygen circulate in my body and let my mind stop for a moment. It`s almost like a quick burst of meditation!
4. Organize your tasks
There is nothing more stressful than realizing you have a task or assignment to do that you forgot about. Likewise, there are few things more satisfying than checking something off of a to-do list! I love making lists to remember what I have to do, and they also help with prioritizing my tasks and keeping to a schedule. Lists make me feel like I am being held accountable. A planner is also very handy, so that you can look ahead and schedule your time in a smart manner! (Also, so you can count down the days until Christmas!!!)
5. Talk it out to someone you trust
If you are truly feeling over your head in stress, the most therapeutic thing for me is to reach out to a loved one or friend to talk about it. Don`t feel like being stressed makes you weak, or that you should keep it to yourself. Often times, talking about problems or anxieties makes the problems seem not so bad, and getting the perspective of others can be very helpful. Besides, other people can also help to alleviate your burden if you are really overwhelmed, such as by taking care of errands. Never feel like you have to deal with stress by yourself!
So, those are the tried-and-true ways that I manage my stress. I hope that you all have a very happy holiday season that is relatively stress-free! But, since it is probably inevitable, I hope that these tips help you to stay positive, relaxed, and healthy this winter! Best of luck on final exams and projects, Luuuxers!
(content is original advice authored my me. image is originally found at http://thespiritscience.net/2014/12/02/3-secrets-to-handle-stress/ and edited by me.)
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