January is hard, new year and potentially some failed resolutions. With January exams in full swing, we wanted to share our top 10 tips to de-stress and unwind:
Stretch – This not only relieves muscle tension but it also increases your awareness of your own body and physical state, giving you a chance to slow down.
Listen to a Podcast – I love listening to self-help podcast episodes to help me gain clarity and to relax. I listen to them while working out or when I’m doing mindless tasks. I have another post coming up soon about my favourite podcasts, so keep a lookout for that.
Put it on Paper – Writing it out is the most obvious thing to do. I used to think it wasn’t helpful, but now I reach for my journal whenever something is weighing me down. Don’t think about what you’re going to write (I’m not really into writing a set number of things). Keep it natural and straight from mind to paper.
Escape for a Day– Now I don’t necessarily mean go on a trip to an exotic island or take the day off to hike in the woods, although that would be awesome. Escaping for a day could be anything from a road trip to just taking the day off for yourself. For example, I always have Saturdays off because of my religion, but today is Sunday and I have decided that I need to take the day for myself. I said no to going out because I needed to slow down and just be. This is something that’s key to de-stressing, learning to say no.
Coffee/ Tea Time – I’m writing this post right now in my pyjamas, with a cup of coffee and I feel at peace. I drink coffee more for the process than for the taste and no one can interrupt this sacred me-time. Find joy in the little things.
Digital Detox – Definitely something I need more of. Take a day (or more if you’re feeling adventurous) to put the phone, iPad, tv, laptop and any other device away. Stay off social media for that period and actually pay attention to what’s going on around you.
Do Absolutely Nothing – Yes, that’s right. Sometimes you just need to do nothing. Don’t try so hard to relax that you end up stressing over relaxing. If you want to lie down and stare at the ceiling for an hour, going through the things on your mind, go right ahead. Just make sure you don’t let that hour seep into a week.
Mindfulness Exercise – This one can be concentrating on your breathing or doing a whole body scan exercise. You can also listen to calming audios or stories. I’m not one for manifesting meditations, but you do you.
Self-Care Routine – This can be a pamper spa routine, reading a book or watching a movie, but developing whatever you do into a routine helps to reassure your mind that you have a system in place so you can believe in your process. Another good idea is a self-care kit, which I have coming up in another post.
Spend Time with a Pet or an Animal – Animals help relieve our emotions and make us happy. Try cuddling with your dog, riding a horse or staring at your goldfish. Trust me, it works.
Bonus Tip – Don’t rely on potentially unhealthy activities to de-stress. Besides the obvious harmful coping mechanisms out there, even relying on food to help you with your emotions is a bad idea because it will never be enough. At some point you will become intolerant to the happy hormones certain indulgences give you, so make sure you de-stress in a steady and healthy way.