Sometimes, we all need some relaxing tricks after a long day. We’ve all been through a rough test, an intimidating interview, or just a bad a day. Certainly, students are no stranger to stress, thanks to conflicting schedules and repetitive testing. If you are finding that you’re having some trouble relaxing after these stressful events, then here are some tips we have to help you relax and start to feel better.
Meditation has a stigma of being beyond a lot of people, as if it requires experience or guidance. But meditation can really be much simpler than that: find a comfortable position, close your eyes, and try to let go of any thoughts. There is no true goal or proper way to do this; it’s all about being mindful. If you realize that you’ve started to think about something, do not be discouraged or upset, because it doesn’t come easily to anyone. What is important is that you remain nonjudgmental about these thoughts, and simply let them go and try again. People can live very busy lives, and it’s easy to have thoughts or stimulation happen at all times. Meditation helps give you a moment to yourself, to balance your thoughts and be kind to yourself. If you feel concerned about meditation alone, don’t worry. It’s easy enough to ask a friend or roommate to try it with you, or even time you if you’re worried about taking too long. You may be surprised at, when you take a moment to clear your mind, how slow time can go by, and how restorative that time can be.
2) Listen to music without distractions
It’s surprising how many people will only listen to music while they’re doing something else. Music can be an easy background noise, but there is something poignant about taking the time to just listen to music alone. Often times, you might remember why favorite songs are your favorite, or develop a taste for a new genre. Considering how much effort goes into making music, it deserves to be appreciated. Listen for the small details, like a background instrument you may not have noticed before, or what memories these songs can trigger. Even taking the time to listen to one song a day can be an incredibly relaxing tricks, and improve your mood immensely.
3) Focus on your breathing
It’s simple, and maybe it’s obvious, but focusing on breathing really can help you calm down in nearly any situation. It’s as easy as counting to five while inhaling and counting to five while exhaling. Slow, deep breaths can easily give you the perspective you need. Deep breathing slows your heart rate, lessens blood pressure, gives your brain the signal to relax, and even just gives you the time to reflect on your situation. Imagine gathering all the stress in your body and letting it out with each breathe. This is by far one of the easiest relaxing tricks, so there’s no good reason not to try.
4) Cooking yourself a good meal
When people get stressed, it becomes easy to let yourself eat junk food and not worry about the details of cooking. But your body knows the differences between good and bad food, and even if it’s infrequent, you owe it to yourself to have a well-rounded, hearty meal. You can listen to music or a podcast, grab a friend to talk to, or even just enjoy the simple process of making a meal. Even with simple dishes, you can find a sense of satisfaction knowing that you are in control of this meal and how it turns out. Your body will feel good eating a meal you challenged yourself to make, and you will feel the sense that you provided something for yourself, and not for the stressful world around you. Eating healthy is nice, but you know your own taste buds. Find that balance and enjoy a fresh, self-made meal!
5) Make a list of what you are grateful for
This positive psychology technique is great for recentering yourself. When going through something stressful, it is easy to forget the things in life that keep you going, and the act of writing down this concrete list reinforces that you do have these important things. Don’t feel pressure to make this a long, comprehensive list. Just let it be simple and genuine. Remember the things that motivate you, that make you smile, and know that you’ll get through whatever stress you face.
6) Get some fresh air
Take a walk, or grab a towel and sit on the grass. If you can, find nature. Get in whatever sun you can. Sunlight gives you the important vitamin D, and fresh air strengthens your immune system, and both work wonders to boost your mood. Getting a change of environment can distance you from stress and gives you the chance to appreciate the world around you. Many people find themselves in the same few rooms day after day, but a change in scenery gives you the chance to remember that the rest of the world is out there. Try to find a nice view, and appreciate the world around you. Being outside has many simple health benefits, but it can also give you perspective on life. Especially when many people spend their days with fluorescent lights or the glow of a screen, natural light can work wonders.
7) Give yourself permission to rest
This is perhaps the most simple relaxing tricks, but some people forget this entirely. When you have a lot to do, you might find yourself bouncing from one thing to the next without time to relax. Sometimes, work needs to get done, but often times, you can forget to take care of yourself. Everyone needs a break once in a while. Once you realize that, and allow yourself to rest without guilt or stress, only then you can truly let the stress out and find a sense of peace. There are important things to do, but most things can wait. You’re only human, so let yourself rest without fear or judgement.