Stress happens, especially when all of your classes demand so much work. Adding some dorm soothers into your dorm life will help you chill out and better focus. After all, your dorm room should be a place you can relax and unwind. Check out these dorm soothers to see what you can include in your room to help your stress levels dip.
1. House Plants
Have you ever stop and gazed over a beautiful green pasture, or sat under a tree to relax? Well, there is a reason you did these things and experienced these feelings. Studies have shown that being around green plants naturally calms us. In these studies, stress levels were proven to decrease in stressed-out individuals who chilled in a room with a house plant. Even lower stress levels were recorded when people were around blooming house plants.
This all adds up to one thing: you need a house plant. I know not everyone’s thumb is green, but with a little research, you can find a house plant that will work for you. Some do not like very much water, some prefer the shade, and some bloom easily. Having these dorm soothers will help you de-stress and focus on what you need to do. Plus, you may find you really like having a plant to take care of and feel rewarded upon its success.
2. Nature Scenes
If you don’t want to get a house plant or you just can’t keep one alive, the next best thing is incorporating pictures of nature into your dorm décor. This produces a similar stress-reducing effect as having a living plant in your dorm, and you do not have to worry about accidentally killing anything. Green is serene, and landscapes are keen.
When choosing which nature images to add to your dorm walls, seek scenes that impact you when you look at them. If you look at it and think it is okay, that is not the one you need. You are including these pictures as dorm soothers, so you want the optimum effect. If you look at a picture and think it is breathtakingly stunning, GET IT. Scenes like waterfalls surrounded by greenery or sunsets over mountain ranges are good places to start your serenity quest.
3. Calm Colors
Blues and greens are considered to be calming colors by researchers, as being exposed to these colors can help lower blood pressure, meaning less stress. And it is no coincidence that these colors also happen to be prominent colors of the earth and sky. Once more, nature’s natural calming effects come into play.
Choosing blues or greens or both for your dorm colors will help your stress decrease when you are in your room. Try to stick to solids; no patterns, please, as this can cause more stress. (We’ll get into that next.) If your dorm is already decorated in pink, try throwing some green into the mix. Or, if you really are not sure how blue or green could possibly go with your room in its current state, dedicate an area of your room to these colors. A great area to use would be your desk, as you are probably the most stressed here. Create a blue and/or green display you can look at and focus on; your stress will lessen in no time.
4. Solids, Not Patterns
While patterns can be exhilarating, adding so much depth to your décor, they can also be stressful to your brain. If you are already stressed, the last thing you want to do is subject your brain to decrypting the many patterns your eyes dart to and from as you enter your room. Even though you like them and think they are fun, they can stimulate your brain in the wrong way when you are stressed out.
Try sticking to solid colors in your dorm décor. If you simply must include patterns, make them simple, subtle, and sparse. Your brain is already working on overdrive, stressing out about the close test date your Chemistry professor just dropped on you and trying to figure out when the heck you’ll find the time to study for it. Keep the visual distractions down and the colors solid. Your brain will thank you, as it can focus on the important things and not the visual overstimulation.
5. Pretend Paradise
Everyone has that ideal paradise they dream of and long for when times get stressful. My ideal paradise is in the middle of the woods on a sunny spring day, trees full of flowers and life abounding around me as I silently and blissfully observe it. Maybe your ideal paradise is on a sunny tropical beach with palm trees shading you, waves gently lapping at the sand, and a gentle breeze barely tossing your hair. These personally preferred scenes calm you and lower your stress. So why not add pieces of your paradise to your dorm room?
Including images or décor that allude to your personal paradise will help you feel at ease in your dorm room. Create your pretend paradise. If your ideal paradise is a tropical beach, try creating a fake window into this world. Use an image of your paradise and add things like the lines of window panes or curtains to it. You can also add a beach themed rug or bedding, bringing the fantasy more into reality. Look through your pretend window and let your mind relax in your imaginary paradise for a little while.
6. What Technology?
Multiple studies have shown that technology can add to your stress levels if you are already stressed out. Leaving a movie on while you sleep can actually be hurting your sleep cycle, as the noise keeps your brain from entering deep sleep. A poor night’s sleep means elevated stress. Even the noise from technology being on while you are awake can cause stress because it is one more thing for your brain to have to focus on, whether you are consciously paying attention to it or not.
When you are feeling stressed and want to lessen it a little, instead of turning on your radio or tv while studying or doing homework, tuck these devices away. You will be much calmer and focused. Try creating a cubby with curtains for your tv or other distracting technology. There are a lot of cute ideas out there on how to hide your technology, and you can incorporate other dorm soothers from this list to transform this hiding place into calming décor.
7. Natural Light
When you are stressed, let the sunshine in. Studies with hospital patients showed that opening the curtains and letting natural light into their rooms lessened both their stress and their pain. Plus, natural light helps curb depression, which can be a stress side affect. Natural light does so much for your brain’s chemical regulation, so letting it in will help you de-stress and feel all-around good.
Black-out curtains are nice for sleep, but not so much for stress. Try incorporating some creative curtain ties or hooks to keep your curtains open while the sun is shining, or get shear curtains instead. If you do not have curtains, only blinds, make sure to pop those babies open as soon as you wake up. The privacy of blinds and curtains is nice for dorm life because it’s college and people are wild and free. So play with your window décor and figure out what light solution works best for you.
Whether you realize it or not, clutter and mess causes stress. The clothes all over your floor and your desk stacked with books and papers spilling down onto your chair both distract and stress your brain out. There is enough stress for your brain to deal with without having to see the state of your room. The simple solution is to keep things tidy and where they belong.
Not all dorm rooms come with a lot of storage space, so organizers are the way to go. They come in all sorts of shapes, sizes, designs, and colors, so there is no reason not to get them. A short and wide organizer with a couple big drawers can hold the clothes your closet and other drawers won’t, and open slatted organizers can hold your books and papers upright and in appropriate desk locations. Beyond having less stress because your room is no longer cluttered and messy, you will also be less stressed because your things will all have a place. This means you can find them easier and not freak out about where you put that take home test your professor gave you last week.
9. Sparse Décor
I know it is fun to decorate, and I know collages of your friends, family, pets, and memories make you happy, but they can become a real stressor when you are already stressed. Instead of seeing all of the things you love, your knick-knack shelf can be a cluttered haze of stress to your brain. The overabundance of the stimulation your brain experiences by receiving so many images at once stresses it out, meaning you will actually feel worse by looking at these beloved things.
Try including a few special decorations instead of a bunch. Keeping one or two pictures that mean a lot to you on your wall to reflect on is a lot less stressful for your brain than loading your wall with meaningful images. Having these few images may actually cause you to relax as your brain remembers the fond memories and experiences happy feelings. Similarly, choosing a few accent pieces for your décor instead of a lot will help keep your brain at ease and you less stressed.
10. Open Space
Dorm rooms can be laid out kind of funky, either being really narrow, really cluttered with furniture, or just all around really small. There is not much you can do about this. However, if you can create some open space, do it. Clutter and cramped spaces can cause stress, making you feel like there is no room to be comfortable. Creating an open space that you can move in can help lower your stress levels.
If you can figure out a way to rearrange your room to create some open space, go for it. Try to make your room feel as open as possible, which I know can sometimes be difficult. It is way worth it, though. Once your open space is created, get a mat or a soft rug, place it in the center of the open space, and sit on it. Relaxing in this open space will allow you to calm down, regulating your breathing and relaxing your mind.