If you ask any of my friends, they’ll tell you that I live in a constant state of stress. And if you asked me, I’d say that they all do too! It’s part of being a college student. Just because college (and life) is stressful, doesn’t mean you can’t do something about it. Why not take the chance to reduce daily stress in your life?
Before starting my senior year of college, I decided that I want to do everything I can to remain cool, calm, and collected over the next nine months. I know my plan won’t work 100% of the time, but if I don’t try at all I know that I can’t improve. So I decided to do some research and learn about ways to reduce daily stress in my busy life. Here’s what I found!
1. Identify Your Stressors
When confronting any problem, the first thing you must do is figure out the source of the issue. Similarly, the first step you need to take to reduce daily stress is to identify what stresses you out. You can do this by making a list (either mentally or on paper, though I’d suggest writing it out) of everything you do in your life. This includes the classes you take, children or pets you’re responsible for, hobbies, extracurricular activities, exercising, and anything else you can think of. I know, it’s a big task. But doing this will help in a number of ways.
Firstly, it will allow you to see how much you juggle in your daily life. Maybe your source of stress is simple: you do too much! This is a common problem for Millennials—we want to do it all. Beyond that, you can look at all your daily responsibilities and determine which ones cause you the most stress. After you’ve done this, you can find a way to eliminate (or at least minimize) your stressors.
2. Practice Good Time Management
Managing your time well is paramount when you’re looking to reduce daily stress. This is especially the case if you are a very busy person, which most Millennials are. Even on your least busy days, if you can’t manage the time you’re given, you still won’t accomplish anything. Most people become stressed when they are in crunch time for a particular project. However, if you can learn how to plan ahead and manage your time effectively, you can also manage your stress levels.
3. Listen to Music
That’s right, jamming out to your favorite tunes actually relieves stress! This is what is known as the “Mozart effect”: music’s use as a therapeutic tool that can actually help treat diseases. Our bodies have a biochemical reaction to music that does trigger stress-reducing effects. Depending on your music education (what you grew up listening to, what kind of music you like, etc.), different types of music will have this effect. Personally, I find that classical music and soft pop have a calming effect on me. I actually have a playlist on my iPod that’s called “Chill Out,” and I listen to it while I do homework to create a relaxing environment. I have found that it really does help me!
If listening to a favorite song might distract you, then there’s also this great website called Soundrown where you can combine your nature sounds to create a relaxing environment. It’s great to use when you’re studying, reading, working on a project, or even meditating.
4. Get a Spire Fitness Tracker
My Spire Fitness Tracker has made a big difference in how I go about my day! The device has the basic functions of any fitness tracker (tracks
active minutes, counts steps, etc.), but it also monitors your breathing patterns to pick up on when you are calm, focused, or stressed. I know when I’ve been calm recently because I’ll get a notification owp-image-55370n my phone through the Spire app. If I’ve been stressed for too long, the app will tell me that too and suggest activities to reduce that stress. The tracker helps you stay mindful of your stress level throughout the day, which I have found to be very helpful.
There are some things that I do often that I never knew stressed me out, but now I can be more mindful of how I feel while I’m doing those things. Another cool thing that I’ve realized is that I actually walk a lot more than I thought I did! I take an average of 10,000 steps a day, which makes me feel much less lazy than I often think I am. All in all, I think my Spire fitness tracker has helped me be mindful of how I can reduce daily stress. Learn more about the gadget here!
5. Exercise (Almost) Daily
The two modes on a Spire Fitness Tracker! Credit: Lexi Bollis, via Spire App
In the words of the wise Elle Woods, “Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy.” Endorphins are “chemicals in the brain that act as natural painkillers,” so when you exercise your entire body feels better (ADAA). While you certainly don’t need to hit the gym every single day, making a workout schedule that gets you there at least three times a week will make you feel better. And you don’t have to push yourself to the limit, either—a moderate level of activity will do the trick. So go for a walk in the evening, start attending yoga classes, or ride your bike. Anything that gets you moving will help you reduce daily stress!
Meditation is a way for you to have some time alone with your inner self. It mentally removes you from your daily life and forces you to focus on your thoughts. Many people find it to be incredibly relaxing, as well as a way to remain mindful throughout the day. Yoga also has the same effects, with the added bonus of being great exercise. What perhaps makes meditation even better than yoga is that anyone can participate, no matter their age or physical abilities. All you need is a quiet, serene space and the right mindset.
7. Do Something You Love Every Day
Take time out of your busy schedule to do something you love. This habit will give you something to look forward to every day as well as act as a stress reliever. What you choose to do doesn’t have to take up a lot of time or be that involved. You could simply sketch for fifteen minutes or play with your cat. On days you have more time, you can visit your favorite museum or eat at your favorite restaurant. No matter how busy you are, it’s important to be kind to yourself and avoid becoming too bogged down in the daily grind.
While it’s impossible to eliminate stress, you can certainly find ways to manage it. Having a fitness tracker that also tracks your daily stress levels has helped me a lot because I’ve discovered that certain activities make me tense and I didn’t even realize it! All of those minutes of tense feelings culminate over the day and put stress on my body and mind. Now that I’m more aware of when I feel stressed, I can take measures to reduce daily stress in my busy life. How are you going to do the same?
I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.