Healthy@Haas: Stress Reduction ABCs!

It’s funny I title this article Healthy@Haas considering all the illness going around at the moment. Unfortunately, I do not have a cure for the cold, flu, or any other viral infections which shall remain unnamed. I can, however, partially address a question which I am asked very often by my friends and peers: “Erika, how do you stay so chill?!”

Me? Chill? I beg to differ. I could write an entire post about everything that is stressful right now, but given that it’s midterm season and everyone is looking for a solution for their stress and worry, I figured I’d write something a little more positive. =) Below I’ve outlined some tips, tricks, and best practices to reducing daily stress. These may not all be helpful for everyone, and if you still feel like you’re drowning no matter what you try, you may need more help than this blog post can provide.

That being said, it’s worth giving some of these a go to see how it pans out! Readers, I present to you, the ABCs (no, not the ones you’re thinking of) of Stress Reduction!

A – Aromatherapy – Light a candle or burn some incense! Some find lavender especially relaxing.

B – Believe in yourself – Sometimes we find ourselves drowning in negative self-talk. Pay attention to the things you tell yourself, and if they aren’t what you’d want to hear from someone else, then change it!

C – Cry – Many say crying is a sign of weakness – it’s really not. It’s actually believed to reduce stress hormones.

D – Drink tea – Theanine is an amino acid found in many teas which is known for inducing a relaxing effect.

E – Exercise – Physical activity helps increase the production of endorphins in the brain, which makes you feel good!

F – Food – One of my personal things to do – eating my feelings! It’s important to eat a balanced diet, especially when under stress, but splurging every once in a while never hurt anyone.

G – Go outside – Having a chance of scenery as well as some oxygen can help recharge your mind.

H – Hug it out – What can I say? Hugs are a great stress reliever.

I – Inhale, exhale – When you feel overwhelmed, just step back and breathe.

J – Jam out – Music can be therapeutic! Listen to something happy when you’re feeling down, or something relaxing when you’re feeling anxious.

K – Keep a  gratitute journal – Research has shown that writing in a gratitude journal each night can be just as useful as taking anti-depressants. Each night, write a few things you are grateful for!

L – Laugh – They say laughter is the best medicine. Watch a funny TV show or do something silly.

M – Mindfulness – This topic probably needs an entire article, but in short, stay present. Don’t dwell on the past, or worry about the future, but try and stay in the moment.

N – Netflix – One of my favorite chill-time activities

O – Open up to friends What are friends for? It’s likely that you’re not the only one feeling stressed, so talk about it!

P – Pamper yourself – What isn’t relaxing about a massage?

Q – Question the status quo & try something spontaneous! – Maybe that mundane, weekly schedule of class, info session, homework, sleep can use some spicing up. If you’re just not feeling it one day, drop the tight schedule and try doing something different!

R – Remember to have some “me” time – You don’t need to fill up every second of every day with homework, recruiting, and class. Save some time for you!

S – Sleep – Sleep is necessary for regulating the amygdala, the part of the brain which controls emotion. Better sleep = better handling of emotions!

T – Thankfulness – When it seems like everything is going wrong, stop for a moment to be thankful for things that are going right – even the little things.

U – Unwinding time – Set aside some “me” time each day to do something relaxing and calm down. It’s helpful to do this before bedtime if you’re one of those who becomes anxious at night.

V – Visualization – Some find that visualizing relaxing places like beaches and lakes is helpful to calm down.

W – Write about it – When you can’t just scream how you’re feeling, sometimes writing can be helpful.

X – eXperience something new – About a month ago, I ran on a treadmill the first time – and I felt great afterwards! Try something new every once in a while.

Y – Yoga – Many find yoga to be incredibly relaxing, and what’s even better is that there are free classes in Berkeley and at the RSF!

Z – Zone out – At Haas, we tend to be laser-focused all of the time. It’s healthy to take a few minutes to take a breath, relax, and come back to being focused later.

Hope you’ve enjoyed, and if you have anything to contribute, or if any of these work for you, please feel free to share! Stay happy and healthy, and the best of luck with midterms!

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