So it has been a stressful week back at school. I hate “welcome to class” week, you know that week where you get the syllabus and your teacher/professor is just going over the syllabus or giving that basic information that is helpful, but feels like nothing. I just went through that week and felt many things. I felt like I was still chomping at the bit to get going, but I also felt like I was being thrown into the deep end and just barely treading water, more on that and why is for a different post. But I found myself getting tenser and tenser as the week went on, so I had to de-stress myself to get back to where I wanted to be mentally. I hope this post helps you, my dear reader, to remember to breath and unwind.
Take a Break
It is totally okay to take a break and recenter yourself. My dad always told me to take a five minute break after every hour. That doesn’t work with me. I have a habit of not stopping for a break from work and study (out of fear that I won’t be able to refocus on the task) and I’m sure I’m not the only one. What I do is focus on one subject at a time and take breaks when I’m switching subjects. In high school, I’d spend around an hour on one subject, take a quick break, then end up spending three hours on another. How long my breaks were depended on where I was mentally and if my brains felt like mush. If I was stuck on a subject for hours (like it was light when I started and now it’s dark and I totally skipped dinner), I’d switch gears and come back to it later. While this probably isn’t the best way in the world to take breaks, it is what works for me. Figure out what does work for you. Consider how your mind focuses and how long it takes to come back to what you’re doing after breaking focus. For me, breaking focus in the middle of a task makes it harder to come back to it, but if I’ve finished a task and am about to move on to another one, then I have an easier time of taking a break and coming back.
Make Time to Relax
I try to give myself a stop time, but I know not everyone can do this. My stop time on most days is around 9-10pm. Since I get up at 6:30-7am, I make sure I’m in bed and asleep by midnight at the latest. So for the hour or so that I’m still awake, I take that time to unwind and breath. I might draw for a bit, or write, or watch a mindless show. Right now I’m on a HGTV kick, so I watch an episode or two of Property Brothers or Home Town. In the morning, I take time to wake up and breath. I don’t get to do this that much on Monday, Wednesday, or Friday, because I have an 8am and have to get out the door. However, on Tuesday and Thursday, I don’t have class till 11:30 and 9:45, respectively, so I take that time to unwind from the previous day, get a little work done, or just chill and do something fun. I don’t have any other classes after 1pm on those two days, so I know I have a fair enough time to get work and studying done for the next day of classes. As the semester goes on and I start getting more work, I’ll probably adjust this time, but for now it’s my relax time.
I also have a more permanent relax time. On Friday nights, around 7:30pm I open up FOX in my browser and turn on their live stream. Of course, at 7:30, TMZ is on. Sometimes I watch it, other times I just mute it and do a small task that won’t take long to finish. At 8pm, Hell’s Kitchen comes on and that’s my relax time. I turn on Hell’s Kitchen and make myself a “nice” microwave meal, and watch Gordon Ramsay yell at chef’s who overcook scallops and send raw meat. Friday nights are my relaxing nights. It is a set time that I know, no matter what happened during the week, I have that time to relax. Having this time is especially reassuring if I managed to not have much time to recenter during the week.
Remember to Breath
Okay, so every time I read “remember to breath,” I hear a number of my riding instructors (the ones I had at summer camp and my trainer at home) yelling this across the ring as we went over jumps. Breathing is important, but sometimes we hold our breath out of fear, anger, anticipation, or stress. If you’re walking between classes, or meetings, or even just going to the bathroom, take that time to breath a little. Take deep, slow breaths in through your nose and out through your mouth. It helps, especially if you don’t have the time to take a real break (because sometimes that happens).
Please remember to take time for yourself, even if you have to schedule it. I hope this helped you in some shape or form.
Do you have a specific way of destressing? How do you take breaks?
Until next time, Sanders out.