As the holidays approach and 2017 comes to a close, you might be feeling the pressure of a busy schedule, final exams, buying the perfect gifts for your favorite people, or even the regret of not achieving your new year’s resolution. A lot of us love this time of year but we can all get a bit caught up in the rush of the season which might mean that you forget to take care of yourself.
The concept of self-care is so commonly discussed on the Internet, but I for one am not much of a fan of bubble baths and drinking tea. If that’s how you like to de-stress and take care of yourself, go for it, but it’s just not mine. I want to share with all you beautiful people what I like to do when I’m feeling a bit overwhelmed.
Open a Window
I remember a few weeks ago I was feeling that “What am I even doing with my life?” panic. I was sitting at the kitchen table looking out of the sliding glass door that faces the woods behind my house. I knew it was windy and cold out, but I felt an innate need to open the back door and just sit in front of it. The bitter cold gave me goosebumps but the smell of the outdoors immediately calmed me down. Is there a legit scientific thing that happens when you smell the air of the outdoors? Because I swear it calms me down in half a second. I often underestimate the power that being outdoors has over my anxiety. Getting outside of the bubble of your home in the colder months (even if it’s absolutely freezing outside) is so good for the soul, even if it’s just for a few minutes.
I recently started getting into the power affirmations (self-promo: I post affirmations and positive quotes on my Instagram story every day @itsashleymarie7). The thing about affirmations is that you might feel ridiculous when you first start telling yourself things that might not be true about yourself. You might be the most self-conscious person in the world telling yourself that you’re radiant and confident. Essentially, affirmations are a “fake it ‘til you make it” attitude. If you tell yourself that you’re confident, powerful, successful, etc. you eventually will be. By telling yourself who you are (or who you want to be), you’re centering yourself by keeping your goals at the forefront of your mind. You’ll be actively inviting good energy into your life which inherently makes you more joyous, whether you realize it or not.
Meditation & Visualization
I’m not heavily into meditation but I’ve practiced it on numerous occasions when I’m feeling a bit stressed or out of control of your life. There are so many different types of meditation but something I quite like to do is visualize. Trying to completely get rid of thoughts during meditation is so difficult for me so visualizing gives me something solid to focus on. Typically, when I’m feeling nervous about a test, or another event, I close myself and visualize various aspects of that event. What will the room look or smell like? What will I be wearing? What will the other people involved in the situation look like? This helps me lessen my anxiety by giving myself the opportunity to prepare for what the situation might feel like when I’m actually in it. Subconsciously, it helps desensitize me a bit to the situation. Next, you want to visualize whatever thing you’re nervous about going really really well. How will it feel when it’s over? What will you do after? Picturing the situation going well unblocks the negative energy in your heart, which overall gives you more of a sense of peace with the situation. Again, I’m not an expert on meditation so seeking other resources to find out more would be so helpful!
Documentaries or Daily Vlogs
The idea behind this is to take you out of your own little bubble in the world not only to allow you to forget about your problems, but to remember that life goes on outside of whatever situation is stressing you out. Documentaries can be a bit heavy at times but if you manage to find one on something you really enjoy, it’ll remind you that learning can be powerful and doesn’t always involve school & tests. Most of the true learning of our lives happen after we graduate college, so try not to put so much pressure on one solitary grade. Daily Vlogs are basically a less intense version of documentaries. They’ve always been a natural stress reliever for me, as they take me outside of my own situation and life bubble and allow me to focus on something else besides what I’m feeling stressed about. Something about watching somebody else’s life (as sad as it may sound) makes me feel so much better.
Listen to Music
This might be a super obvious one but it’s one that’s helped me lower my stress for years. The magical powers of music are no secret so I’ll try not to ramble on with this one. I have a few go-to playlists for different moods and occasions that can help me sort out which type of mood I’m going for.