Sorry about the lack of post on Monday; this week my schoolwork has really started to ramp up. Also, I’ve had a few projects start up, and my motivation has been at a low (not following my own motivation tips 😉
Stress is something I’m still learning to deal with. In high school, the main reason I experienced stress was due to the overwhelming amount of activities I was involved in. After school, I would head straight from one thing to the next. Whether I was in so much due to the fact that I wanted to try everything or I was pressured to be in everything or I was just too scared to say no, I inevitably ended up in way too many activities.
So, I told myself when I came to college I wouldn’t feel obligated to stay in anything beyond my classes. And, as a sophomore, I’ve already bowed out of two activities I was involved in, in order to focus on what I want to do for my future and to help my mental health.
And that’s okay. I feel like as a society we really emphasize that stress is normal and that there’s nothing wrong with dreading what you’re doing and feeling like you have so much going on that you can’t breathe. But, you don’t have to feel that way.
While, obviously, work and school are extremely important and can cause stress, often we are drawn into things that we don’t want to do, or love but eventually grow out of, or simply don’t have time for. So, creating a focus on the most important things in your life should be more acceptable, because it’s okay.
But, inevitably, stress worms its greedy little way into our lives. If you are lucky enough to be content and not experience stress, I envy you, and I’m happy for you. However, if you’re like me and stress a lot and even possibly get headaches from them (?), it also should be more acceptable to de-stress.
Everyone has different ways to de-stress, and this might sound like getting rid of all your stress altogether, but, at least for me, it’s more about displacing the stress and learning to deal with everything at slower paces.
I personally relax through multiple ways. Writing (obviously) works well for me, as well as listening to calmer music (currently, Birdy, dodie, Tessa Violet, and chill Indie playlists on Spotify), watching chill television (primarily things I’ve seen before, so I don’t have to pay attention, like Gilmore Girls or The Office), and listening to some meditation apps (just recently downloaded it and haven’t used it much, but Breathe). I also tried listening to ASMR, which if you don’t know is the response you feel when people play with your hair, and videos have become very popular on YouTube, but I kind of just found it a bit weird.
But the best thing I’ve found that reduces my stress (and headaches) is coloring. My friend bought me a coloring book for my 20th birthday (mainly as a joke gift; it’s an awful, off-brand Taylor Swift book), and I’m so happy. Coloring seriously reduces my stress, probably because it’s a cathartic activity where you can focus on it and forget about everything else. It might sound weird, but I highly recommend it.
Of course, I still deal with a lot of stress. With many projects and the course load of a college student, it seems to be unavoidable. I definitely am still working on how to de-stress and how to relax more. If you have more ways to de-stress, share some in the comments below!
To end this post, I’m going to add this little writing I did a while ago. It really doesn’t have anything to do with this topic of stress, except maybe reading it will help de-stress, but I didn’t have anywhere else to put it, but I like it. So here:
I always thought the trees danced for me.
Flecks of green flicking up and down, dark brown branches floating in the wind like a dancer twirling across the floor.
Ever since I was a little kid, staring out the window on car drives with headphones into my CD player (and then my iPod), I was able to coax the wind into swaying the trees just right, usually in time to whatever song was playing. I could make the branches dance left and right, and the leaves rustle exactly when I wanted them to. It was a game, to whisper with the wind and coax it this way and that. It’s a game I never told anyone I played, anyone but the wind.
The wind and I are old friends.
This kind of situation makes me believe in magic. Not like, wizards and things like that, but small, mundane ideas of magic.
I hope you guys believe in magic too.
With love and good vibes and magic,