Stress has a nasty habit of feeding itself. You get so stressed over the fact that you're stressed out that you stress yourself out even more. That's why it's important to set aside "me time." Many people worry that setting aside time for yourself is selfish and a waste of time. However, many studies show that giving yourself a bit of downtime actually increases your productivity, not to mention greatly improves your overall health. That being said, here are some ideas for things help you relax in your downtime:
- You've probably heard this before, but it's true. Taking 15 minutes to sit and relax with a nice, warm cup of tea can do wonders for your nerves. Not only does the warmth of the cup feel nice, but the tea itself is naturally good for your body. Plus, the simple act of taking a break from the chaos of life will help rejuvinate you. If you've got other people with you, why not put on the kettle and make enough tea for everyone? Sharing is caring.
- Put it in a box
This one is more of a mental exercise, but it's still very useful. While you're taking your time to relax, don't spend the entire time worrying about what you're not working on! That kinda defeats the whole purpose of relaxing, don't you think?
We often find it helpful to visualize a box. Some people prefer a backpack, or a chest, or whatever. The point is, think of a container. You picturing it? Good. Now, think of something that's stressing you out. Maybe it's midterms and you just realized that your project sucks and you need to completely redesign it by tomorrow morning. You're about an hour in, when you decide you need a break. So you head downstairs and start up a pot of tea. Even though you're stressed about the looming deadline, you realize that no amount of worrying will make that deadline go away. So really, there's no point in stressing out about it. You mentally put it in your box and just enjoy your tea. The science-y reason why this works has to do with directly identifying the source of your anxieties and then making a decision about the best way to relieve them.
- Spend time with your pets
Come on. Who can be stressed over a deadline when you've got a cute little fuzzy baby kitty on your lap? Hint: The correct answer is no one. If you don't have a pet, look up cat videos on the internet. Bam! Instant stress relief!
Okay, fine. Actual science time. There have been many, many studies that show that owning a pet reduces stress. In one study, stockbrokers with high blood pressure who adopted a dog or cat had lower blood pressure than those who didn't. Also, it's been shown that the exact frequency cat's purr improves bone density and increases the healing time of injuries in humans. Not to mention that spending time with your pet gives you an excuse to cuddle without all the social implications cuddling with a person might have.
- Other Ideas
- Everyone is different, and everyone relaxes differently. Maybe you don't like tea, or you're allergic to cats. That's perfectly okay! You could always pick up a low-stress hobby like crafting, or play some video games to help let out frustrations. And if you have trouble remembering to give yourself relaxation time every day, you could always download the headhealth app and set a daily reminder to chill out.