• emmanuellegammage

Daily Habits to De-stress

Whether you're a third year student struggling through their dissertation like me, or your week at work has been super stressful or you're just going through an anxious phase right now - whatever your situation, hopefully one of these tips will help you out a little!

I have really struggled to balance all of my deadlines, sleep well and feel good at the moment. I constantly feel anxious and stressed because I should be doing more work and chocolate is the only thing that makes me feel better right now. But my well-being is super important to me and I always make time to de-stress and make myself feel better.

1) I don't work 24/7 and I don't work after dinner. Obviously we all have different times that we work best and you just need to figure out when that time is. I have friends that are nocturnal and do all their work at 1am but I like to start my day off with work and do bits throughout the day. I give myself lots of breaks too (even if it's just a scroll through social media) so that I'm not overwhelmed and can have a breather. After dinner is me-time. At the moment I'm watching Grey's Anatomy again and I often just look through Pinterest or sit with my housemates.

2) Make a playlist - find all the favourite songs that make you feel good or can match your mood. I really think music has the ability to change your mood. I find that mellow playlists suit my mood while I'm working (check out Alessia Cara's new album) while upbeat pop music suits the gym.

3) Head outside - fresh air, the sound of trees and birds, and breathing in greenery improves my mood as soon as I'm out the door. I plug my headphones in and completely zone out and I come back feeling refreshed and my mind is a little emptier. Jesmond Dene is perfect for this if you're in Newcastle but I'm sure there are plenty of parks near you and if you're lucky, you might come across some doggo's too.

4) Breathing exercises - when you feel yourself getting overwhelmed and your brain has no space for new thoughts just take two minutes to breathe deeply in and out and focus on how it makes you feel and how your chest rises and falls. You can practice this quick form of meditation anywhere and for me, it just puts everything into perspective and calms my thoughts.

5) Find your happy place - I say it every time but mine is 100% a bath. I come out of the bath looking like a lobster and feeling 10x better. It's super therapeutic and it's me-time with no distractions. Bath bombs, face masks (enjoy the photo) and candles make me feel even more relaxed. You can listen to music, read your book, listen to a podcast or soak in your own thoughts. For some people their happy place is the gym or with their friends - whatever it may be just make time each day for that.

6) Focus on what you can control - don't weigh yourself down with 'what ifs' or what you should be doing. Just stick to a few main things in the day to get done, prioritise and be flexible. Sometimes things crop up and you have to skip something, or maybe an essay takes longer than you planned or something unexpected happens - just accept it and channel those positive vibes. It sounds cliche but positivity and happiness really is an attitude and you just have to look for it! Don't give stressful or negative thoughts more weight than they deserve because EVERYTHING is fixable and doable.

7) Sleep more - again, I say this all the time but a good night's sleep does wonders! I try to get 8-10 hours a day and I do feel so much better. My body and mind really know when I haven't had enough sleep because I am groggy as hell and have no energy and make all the wrong decisions.

8) Take the time to prepare your meals and eat mindfully - although I don't always have time, I really enjoy making proper meals rather than grabbing some toast or shoving something in the oven. Wholesome meals (homemade vegan burgers and chips are my go-to at the moment) are fun to prepare when you have time and lots of veggies do make your insides glow! It's nice to sit down and actually taste your food knowing that you've made it from scratch.

9) Try something new / practice your hobby - pushing myself out of my comfort zone or doing something new makes me feel like I can do anything! Our university has an activities campaign called Give it a Go full of discounted activities like ring making, bath bomb making, trips, exercise classes etc so I would definitely recommend making the most of that and I'm sure your university or local area has something similar! It's fun to meet new people and practice new things even as a one off. I love wearing the ring that I made knowing that its handmade and I really enjoyed it because it makes me happy and stress-free when I look at it.

10) Stop talking about how stressed you are - we all like to moan and I probably tweeted 5 times this week how stressed I am but what does that achieve? putting negative thoughts into the world only feeds it. Try to uplift your friends and yourself. I find myself getting more stressed when I'm at uni talking about how much I need to do and compare my workload with them - just actually do the work or at least stop fuelling each other's stress.

11) Keep your room / house tidy and aesthetic - I like my room to feel like a chilled space so I've decorated it in a way that expresses that. I have plants (definitely recommend, there are proven results that plants make you happy), candles and little trinkets that are very 'me' and make me feel good when I'm around them. Keeping it tidy is also a massive plus because a tidy space = a tidy mind!

12) Learn to say no - I love spending time with my friends and spending money on dinner and clothes but sometimes we have to say no because we simply don't have time. Prioritise your energy and your time. Being social is SO important to your well-being but life is all about balance, so try to work out whether being with your friends or having down-time or ticking items off your to-do list is more important.

"Worrying does not take away tomorrow's troubles, it takes away today's peace"

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