The school year is approaching rather quickly and with that being said, an entire year of stress is also approaching. Let’s face it, everyone deals with stress and everyone deals with it differently. Whether it be stress from balancing school work with a social life and a job, saving up for college, or just trying to get through the year with all good grades, you have to keep in mind that it is truly important to make sure your mental and physical health comes first. Dealing with stress with substances (alcohol, drugs, excessive partying, cigarettes, one night stands, etc.) as a form of escapism is not healthy at all and in some cases, it can be harmful.
From experience, I’ve dealt with major breakdowns, hospital visits, and long, countless therapy and counseling sessions due to stress and anxiety, and they’re not fun–not at all. I’ve witnessed my friends stress out over AP classes and exams (myself included… I hated AP U.S. History, such a snooze and it’ll never happen ever again) too, and I’ve come to realize how strung out every can get when it comes to school. I have to constantly remind myself that test scores and grades do not define me as a person or my intelligence like they want you to believe. It’s hard though because you want to do your very best but trust me when I say, it’s hard for me too because I want to do well, but I have trouble putting my health before worthless sheets of homework.
In dealing with stress though, you don’t want to feed it. By that, I mean you don’t want to give into the cycle that it can create. Furthermore and in a more simple explanation, you don’t want to lose sleep or sleep too much, overeat or not eat all, lash out at people or isolate yourself, and you especially don’t want sike yourself out or avoid it altogether because it’ll eventually lead to all of it getting inside of your head to the point where that class is the only thing that matters and everything else doesn’t. If you didn’t notice either, those are all the signs of depression, which lead to suicidal thoughts. Yes, stress is capable of that, and that’s a hard mentality to get out of– coming from someone who personally experienced it. And some may say that’s not the case and stress can be good for your body, but remember that not all stress is good for you and too much stress can be and is harmful.
Since I care for everyone’s mental well-being, sometimes more than my own, I have created a list of natural and healthy ways that I use to relieve stress. They are effective and are truly useful for everyday stress!
1. Essential Oils— This way was introduced to me by a family friend, and let me tell you, it works amazing. She mixed oils that are meant to relieve anxiety and stress and put them in a little bottle for me to inhale, and it honestly worked (and smelled great too). You can buy oils for all kinds of problems and use them for healing and relief. Some people burn them, but if you’re at school, and inhaler works well. If using this inhaler idea of herbal oils, just mention it to your professor or teacher, so they don’t think you’re sniffing during class!
- Lavender: perfect for if you can’t sleep, calming your muscles,
- Jasmine: perfect for hormonal and emotional stability
- Lemon: perfect for a boost of energy
- Tangerine: perfect for relieving stress
- Peppermint: perfect for your digestive system
- Eucalyptus: perfect for relieving stress and muscles
- Chamomile: the universal oil for calming
For more information on oils and their healing powers, click here
2. Tea— Yes, I am a tea enthusiast, so yes, this may be bias, but I believe that tea is the best way to relieve anything, including stress. There are all sorts of tea that help soothe your body and mind, including chamomile and lavender, and it also gives you that healthy boost of energy to get the job done! Have a cup in the morning on your way out or with breakfast (oh, don’t forget to eat in the morning) and then again before you start your work. You can choose from loose tea to teabags, which you can find at your local grocery store or simply by going to Starbucks!
Check out this list of stress relieving teas here
3. Planning Ahead/Keeping Organization— By doing this, you not only know what to expect, but you know how to manage the amount of stress you’ll possibly have. Knowing the situation and planning out what your game plan is for that upcoming project can be a lot less stressful than just adding it to the list you have to do. Because often times that list gets longer and longer, and it leads you to become feeling overwhelm, which doesn’t help your mental state at all.
4. Avoid Caffeine— Ha, if only I knew this when I was at Starbucks ordering my drink with two/three shots of espresso! Caffeine isn’t the best option when you are dealing with major stress. It causes irritability, anxiety, nausea, insomnia, and your heart to race, and they’re not lying to you when they say that (personal experience once again). Caffeine combined with stress can lead to depression as well, and while it helps concentration levels for a short time, the effects on your body last a lot longer. Cut down your intake and limit it to 1-2 cups and balance it between a cup of coffee and a cup of tea!
5. Talk to Yourself/Talk to Someone Else— While it may sound crazy, talking out loud can help you. When you talk out what’s causing your stress, it may help you realize that your situations and everything that you have to do isn’t as massive as you may make it seem. If that’s not your cup of tea and a little far out, then I suggest talking to your school counselor or someone you trust about what’s going on in your life. I do this constantly, to the point where all of my school’s counselors and everyone in the councilor’s office knows me. My councilor even makes me tea sometimes when we’re having our talks! It gets you out of your head and makes you realize that though it may seem uncontrollable–the stress–it can be controlled and dialed back.
6. Yoga— One of my favorites ways to relieve stress is with a half hour yoga session. This allows you to focus on your breathing making you remember that you have to breathe, which we often times forget to do when under immense stress. Any form of exercise is good for you when it comes to just taking a load off.
7. Pray— Possibly while you do yoga or just alone in your room, pray or meditate. By meditating, you are taking the time to shift the focus off of you and all of your stress and onto God. Spending time in His presence can be one of the most rewarding gifts, and you’ll find that all of your circumstances don’t mean a thing. He is able to bring peace into your life that surpasses all understanding, but only if you let Him.
8. Breathe— Like I had mentioned above, we often times forget to breathe. It’s one of the most important things to do when dealing with stress. When you are feeling overwhelmed with stress, stop yourself and count to ten backwards and then begin to take deep breaths. It should not only calm you down but make you realize how worked up you actually are about something.
9. Listen to Music— Music can affect your mood, and if you are blasting Bring Me The Horizon or Metallica while doing your homework or just thinking, it can really stir you up and make you quite anxious and on edge. Put on something soothing from Spotify, they have tons of relaxing playlists for free, and calm yourself down that way. It’s great for dealing with stress and getting yourself out of your head. And hey, you might also find some great artists in doing so! I recommend listening to the Daughter, Bon Iver, and Angus & Julia Stone radio stations of Spotify; they’re amazing and full of relaxing, indie and folk music that will definitely quiet your mind.
10. Have a Laugh/Take a Short Break or Nap— While many people who go through stressful situations hate this because naps are dangerous if you know you don’t get enough sleep, or you’ll never want to work after one, I find this helps me for time to time. Watch a YouTube video or go on Vine and have a laugh! And if you aren’t in the mood for endless laughing fits (Vines can be so hilarious), then take a nap or make yourself a healthy snack. Whatever it is, make sure you’re still eating, sleeping, and laughing because at the end of the day, you want to enjoy yourself some way. P.S. Laughing is the best medicine, and I definitely recommend it!
11. Eat a Healthy Snack— Have a handful of blueberries, a dark chocolate bar, or a glass of warm milk, this will really help in reducing stress, and it will ensure that your body is getting its daily nutrients!
12. Take a Bath—Ah, I wish I loved taking baths, but I might do it more because of how relaxing it can be. Buy some lavender or rose bath bombs and just let them do all the work while you listen to some French music or read! Or if you’re old enough, have a glass of wine while taking a bath, it’s actually not bad for you.
13. Candles— I have so many candles, and it’s kind of unhealthy how many I have, but it helps so much to breathe in the warm vanilla and lavender scents while I’m working on school work.
14. Plants— Plants have so many benefits in keeping your mental health up to par, so I suggest buying a plant to keep your environment at home feeling organic and healthy.
Read this post about how plants relieve stress (it’s written by me) here
Oh, and just a little bit of advice coming from someone who cares a lot: don’t care as much, seriously, stop caring to the point where all you think about is what’s causing you stress; it really affects your mental, emotional, and physical state. And don’t you get tired of feeling sick and tired from all of the stress you pile on yourself? It’s honestly not worth it at the end of the day to feel stressed out.
I hope you find these methods helpful for you on a day-to-day basis and at school!