The further into the semester we get, the more stressed everyone becomes, especially now that the first projects are due and the first tests are coming up or have passed. I’ve learned over the past three years that stressing myself out doesn’t help anyone, especially myself. So, I’ve come up with a few things to do when I feel stressed and need a break.
Now, these are things that I do and they won’t be perfect for everyone, but sometimes trying something new can be just as relaxing as doing something you’ve done before.
I’ve been writing stories ever since I was young. Now I write creatively nearly every day in order to de-stress. I even post some of my stories for other people to read and it is always gratifying to get feedback. I know not everyone is a writer or even likes writing, but I’ve always found it therapeutic. For a few minutes, even hours, I can get away from the world and create a new one where I can manipulate everything. Although most people don’t like to write papers for class, writing for yourself is significantly more fun. It doesn’t matter how much you know about grammar or if you don’t even have a complete idea of a story or character; writing can help you order your thoughts and even teach you a thing or two. I’ve learned more about grammar by writing and getting feedback than I had ever learned in public school. If you don’t want to write a story, just writing about how you feel on a topic regarding current events can relieve stress.
Reading is helpful for many of the same reasons as writing, but with significantly less effort on your part. You can detach your brain from the world for a few chapters and come right back to work if you need to. I’ve gotten into the habit of reading a chapter of my homework and then reading a chapter from a book or something I found online. It helps me focus on whatever I’m reading and if I need to recall something from my homework, I just remember whatever else I was reading to recall the information. You can read anything too, not just stories or creative writing. You can read the news, funny stories, horror stories - whatever you prefer.
I’ve picked up sewing in the past year or so and I’ve loved every moment I’m making something. There’s just something to turning a piece of flat cloth into something I can wear or use. The monotony of each stitch is soothing and mind numbing (I sew by hand since I have absolutely no idea how to use a sewing machine, but I’m learning). I will admit that I do watch Youtube when I’m sewing, normally someone playing a horror game for some reason. However, it's more like background noise that just fills the quiet of my room. Other times I listen to music (most recently that’s been songs from the musical Hamilton. I sing along and everything, it’s great).
I typically despise exercise. I’m not an active person but sometimes I just need to leave my room before I go crazy. Williamsport is a really safe place and has some interesting houses and cars if you look around. I like to do laps around the campus itself, sometimes to work out writers block or just not think for awhile. Plus, I’m getting in some exercise that’s not going to make me ache in the morning.
5) Going to campus activities
Lycoming’s campus has some great activities and there’s always something going on, especially in the evening and night. I don’t go to some of the activities because they’re just not my cup of tea, but there are plenty of events that are. I love going to see whatever production the theatre is putting on, and the weekend movies are sometimes films I’ve been meaning to see. After a long day of work or stressing out, taking the evening and night off with some friends can do a world of good.
Like I said, not all of these things will apply to everyone, but most everyone can benefit from them. They’re also easy to monitor. If you really need to get a reading done, it’s easy to allot yourself a certain amount of time for each of these activities. You could write four paragraphs or read one chapter. You could sew one side of a pillow or do one lap around the campus.
The human brain functions better with breaks inbetween intense focus on work. Don’t overwork yourself but don’t procrastinate either. You can do some fun things between your work and still get everything done that you need to do.
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