Ever have a morning where the world seems full of mal-intentioned, needy people out to make your life a chaotic, stress-ridden hell? You know, when waking at the rooster’s crack of dawn leaves you feeling like you didn’t sleep a second, the shining sun is too bright for your doom and gloom mood, and your contacts are screaming blood-shot murder as they cling to your corneas. You decided to ditch the Dunkin’ Donuts line of 12,000 people, and now you’re crashing from tea withdrawals. And, by the way, there’s 15 more hours to go in this intensely scheduled day. Gotta love it, right?
When rested, I tend to be an optimistic morning person, but I realize that because of these tension-building wake-up calls, I sometimes take out my sleep-deprived, over-committed anxiety on the people who matter most. This is the last thing I want to do! Here’s some stress-releasing tips that work for me on even my worst days:
- As soon as possible, climb into your classiest gray on gray on gray on gray outfit: bulky socks, wrinkly t-shirt, “one size fits all” sweatshirt, and plain-ole ugly sweatpants. Go all out and don gray underwear if you’re feeling ambitious. These fashionable pieces will blend beautifully into a timeless onezie perfect for lounging. I rocked my gray outfit around my house, and let’s be honest even in public, for 99.9% of the month after I returned from Ireland (a mourning/coping mechanism, if you will). This outfit may land you on “What Not To Wear” instead of the Best Dressed List, but it’s an extremely necessary part of every person’s wardrobe. This ensemble just screams to the world that you do not want to be bothered with and don’t care for its shenanigans.
- Pick the M&Ms from the trail mix. With school, work, and nerdy co-curriculars, I sometimes feel as if I do everything other people want me to and much less of what I want to do. If your life is metaphorical trail mix filled with lots of things you’re supposed eat or should do, once in a while, pick around yucky pieces of dried prunes and only eat the yummy candy and raisin parts. Most of my enjoyable energy outlets are just as nerdy as the forced pressures, like when I’m such a rebel reading a book that’s not for an assignment, or writing here instead of analyzing Macbeth. But you, I’m sure you’re different. Ride like the wind Bullseye and go bungee jump or something (hopefully more successfully than this), or just check out these awesome life tips.
- Humor in general. People watch, have a “Seinfeld” marathon, see some Colbert clips, play the “chase the flashlight” game with your pet… When all else fails, grab a 1,500 calorie Frappuccino and sit by the Starbucks door that looks like a “push” but is actually a “pull”. Perch at the bottom of the Union’s prominent (need I mention steep) staircase and analyze the intense concentration with which everyone places one foot in front of the other trying not to wipe out and eat some of Pres. Flynn’s precious marble. Write ridiculous things in your own blog while procrastinating on assignments, then realize all at once your huge, looming deadlines. Oops, that kind of took the fun out of this. Anyways…
- Make a list. If you don’t have a planner, get one. Now! I mean it! Run! No matter how good at keeping mental lists you are, putting everything down on paper can relax your mind from having to memorize “to-dos”. Write little things too, because when you get obsessed with lists (like I show below), even crossing off a little errand makes you feel accomplished.
- Breathe. This is one of my more recent techniques, but boy, does it work wonders. When I’m super stressed I get the feeling that I’m not breathing properly, which can be a form of anxiety. Filling my lungs with some yoga-timed breaths normally calms me down, clears my head and gets me back on track for the day. Well worth the few minutes of quiet it takes to recharge. Check out one of my favorite websites Mind.Body.Green. for more great tips =)