10 ideas for stress relief
By Avery Wickersham (TheLorian)
- Use a diffuser
A diffuser, with the right combination of essential oils, can provide a lot of different uses. Lemon provides a clean smell, peppermint helps with focus, and lavender promotes relaxation, just to name a few. According to senior Sarah Claus, her favorite combination is “peppermint, eucalyptus, and a little bit of tea tree oil because it relaxes me and helps me breathe better. I get anxious when I’m stressed so the tea tree helps me breathe deeper so I don’t freak out so much.” Walmart has many different sets and individual bottles and diffusers on the inexpensive end, and they are definitely worth a try.
- Do yoga
Yoga exists in many different forms, from muscle-defining yoga to Yin yoga. Yoga can even be as simple as a “Sun Salutations,” which is a quick set of stretches designed to absolve tightness, which in turn, relieves stress. People hold stress in different places, so it’s important to have an understanding of where one holds stress to find stretches that will relieve the most stress. For example, holding stress in the neck and shoulders in incredibly common, so neck rolls and other stretches will help to loosen the muscles.
Meditation is different for everyone: some prefer to just sit in a quiet place or in the dark, some engage in deep breathing, and others find a guided meditation on YouTube. No matter the preference, meditation is a great opportunity to take a break from work, projects, and even other people to center oneself. Deep breathing is critical, and for those with anxiety, it can help regulate the body. I like to engage in chakra meditation, which focuses on seven zones in the upper body from the base of the spine to the crown of the head. With a guided meditation on YouTube, it helps me understand different parts of my life and different parts of my body that are creating stress so I can find a way to change and relieve said stress.
- Read a book
This is not everyone’s first choice, especially with hours of college reading, but books provide a great escape, especially when a grade or class discussion isn’t dependent on one’s reading and understanding of the material. An action, romance, or mystery book, a cup of one’s favorite warm drink (I recommend hot chocolate or apple cider), and a blanket can provide an incredible sense of safety and relaxation.
- Tedious hobby
For those who want a challenge of the mind, different tedious hobbies can help relieve stress. Writing a story involves a lot of work and concentration, especially if one is creating a new world or writing a complex character, which can help block out stressors. Another unique idea is embroidery, which is a fancy word for sewing. Take a canvas of any size (Walmart also has these for about six dollars depending on size), some embroidery thread and a needle, and decorate the canvas with a quote or picture to hang on the walls.
- Take a walk
Taking a walk helps bring back circulation to the rest of the body. Fresh air is always helpful when clearing one’s mind, and even as winter approaches, the shock of cold is a way to bring one back down from stress and into their senses. Eagle Point Park and the Riverwalk are two scenic places in Dubuque that are beautiful year-round, and serve well to help relieve stress.
- Watch a movie/TV show
With all the streaming services available, there is no shortage of something to watch. Sophomore Jason Trbovic’s favorite movie is “Zodiac” and favorite TV show is “Breaking Bad” because “it creates a distraction from what’s causing me stress which can help me relax to go back to my current thing that originally stressed me out.” Often times, a mental break is necessary and justified when stressed, so take advantage of the numerous streaming platforms and find a new show or return to your comfort show for a bit.
- Make comfort food
Comfort food is another great way to relieve stress, and it can be as simple as a handful of chips or a full meal. First year Trenton Sanchez says “For me, it’s pizza. It has to be the good pizza though, like made from scratch or a DiGiornos. Something about good pizza just makes me forget about my stress!” Mashed potatoes or pastas also bring comfort to others, so take a break and find something good to eat.
It’s hard to work on any projects or papers when cleaning has to be done. Try cleaning and re-organizing desks, shelves, and any other area that may be cluttered or dirty. Many cleaners have fresh scents, and with the combination of a good-smelling room and a clean work area, stress can be lowered.
- Go for a drive
Putting some distance between oneself and ones stressors is another great option. Find a playlist, put the phone down, and drive around Dubuque and look at the city. Music and driving is a great pair, and it’s always nice to get some distance and to get away physically and mentally from stressors before returning back to work.