Reduce Stress, Enjoy Life…Hakuna Matata

Sometimes, and by sometimes I actually mean every day, people need to relax. Everyone knows that stress is not good on your health. Everyone also knows that relaxation is valuable for well-being. Life can be hectic though, so every now and again people may need a reminder to just…breathe.

When the everyday hassles of life take over, it can be easy to get caught up and forget to add some down time to your day. Even when you think you don’t have time to unwind, that’s probably honestly the best time to do so. When you forget to relax you may not only physically, but mentally crash.

Reducing stress from your life can make a person so much happier on a day-to-day basis. What life wouldn’t be happy with less worry right? You deserve to give yourself some down-time. Yeah mon!

I know that personally I forget to let myself have a break sometimes. I get so distracted with school, work, and making up aerobics routines that I end up constantly putting off down-time. It’ll get too late and I have to wake up early the next morning, or I will tell myself “priorities Toni, do your homework instead of watching that movie.” Essentially then, I end up over-working myself until I crash. Crashing is never good for your health because from what I have learned in my experience, I end up binging on something. Like last night for instance, I was done for (not to mention it was only Tuesday, but still,) so I ended up watching a whole three episodes of “Everybody Loves Raymond” re-runs on hulu, painting my nails, and eating a hot fudge Sunday. Ok so binging on “Everybody Loves Raymond” isn’t all that bad, but you get the point right? An unfortunate, but common result of stress is over-eating. People tend to binge on food, and mainly junk food for that matter, when they feel overwhelmed. Some people hit the bar and some people sleep and avoid doing homework. Everyone reacts differently under stress. I apparently eat hot fudge Sunday’s and watch re-runs of sit-coms that still make me laugh, ugh.

The great part about relaxing (besides the fact that it makes you feel good) is that it is often free or low-cost and involves little risk. I have a variety of stress-reducing activities, but everybody does something different. For one thing, I like to read a good novel and really let myself dive into it. Reading a good book that takes your mind away right before bed is a great way to wind down at the end of a long day. Studying, on the other hand right before sleep isn’t relaxing at all. It just makes you more stressed for the future about whatever you are studying for.

Another thing I like to do when I feel the need to slow down is to write in my journal, but hey that’s just the writer in me. It’s something I’ve been doing since the beginning of my senior year in high school. I’m actually on my fourth journal now, I mostly use them to self-reflect, or just take a step back to think about my life, what is going on with it, and how I feel about it. This obviously isn’t for everyone, but it works for me.

Pamper yourself! Your life is all about you right, so why not pamper yourself a little after a long-stressful day? Last night I painted my nails. It doesn’t have to be a great big money spending day at the spa. Try giving yourself a manicure and pedicure with friends and your favorite music. Give yourself a face mask, or even maybe try having some fun with a homemade mud mask. Take yourself shopping, splurge on some new clothes or accessories that you can look forward to wearing, or treat yourself to that expensive Gloria Jean’s Latte that you like so much but never let yourself buy.
Probably one of the most important things you can do to reduce your stress is to hang out with your friends. As humans, social interaction is very important to how we live our lives. If you find yourself getting too busy to hang out with your besties, you may end up experiencing some feelings of loneliness, which could cause you to start to feel down. If you are really busy, just grab lunch, dinner, or a quick cup of coffee with a friend before class or work. You have to eat anyway right?
Some other suggestions to unravel could be to exercise leisurely like going for a brisk evening walk, or a light morning jog. Maybe try getting into yoga or meditation a few times a week if that seems like something you may be interested in. Lastly, an idea that is for sure to get rid of some stress is to discover nature. Finding yourself in the splendo of nature can help you remember how calming and beautiful the world really is without all of the hussel and bussle. Go for a bike ride down on the Rail Trail, hiking up at Coopers Rock, or spend the day at Cheat Lake. For a quick, but fun trip, Dorsey’s Knob is a pretty cool place to check out as it’s the highest point in Morgantown.

After reading this, do you find yourself realizing that you are stressed more often than you think? What are some ways that you relieve your stress? What are some new stress-reducing activities you would like to try out?


About tonicekada

I am a junior print journalism major at West Virginia University. I have two minors in Italian and fitness.
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