Although it has only been two weeks of school, I ,personally, am already feeling a bit overwhelmed by my workload. Class work can pile on very quickly and is it does, my stress level increases. Stress is the one thing I try to manage at all cost. For me, being stressed leads to a couple of things: getting sick at the worst times possible, having mental breakdowns, and acne covering my face. It’s bad right? Each person handles stress differently, but I have a special way manage stress that I am going to share with you in this entry.
Early Morning Stretches
When I’m stressed I tend to get very tense all over my body. My neck, specifically, starts to ache and my shoulders feel tight. To avoid this, every time I wake up in the morning I do a couple of stretches for 10 minutes to release the tension in my body. I love doing this in the morning because throughout the day I feel less tense and my muscles feel more relaxed. While I stretch, I also tend to breathe deeply as well. By breathing in deeply and stretching, my body awakens and my mind goes blank. I know what you are thinking, “Ash isn’t this technically yoga?” Yes, it is technically yoga, but in my own shortened form. Yoga really does loosen the body and calms the nervous in order for you to feel your best self. Thankfully, U of T offers many drop- in yoga classes as well, therefore, if you are interested in trying yoga and reducing stress, you can simply go to Hart House, the Athletic Centre, and Goldring. Here is a link to the The Athletic Centre drop- in fitness schedules . They are only an hour long and after each class you walk out feeling more energized and relaxed.
I am, hands down, a tea lover. Tea relaxes my body in ways I cannot explain. After my stretches in the morning, I like to put on a cup of tea and listen to relaxing jazz music while I get ready for school. Drinking tea is very calming, especially when you drink it slowly and and not in a rushed pace. It’s very important to stop once in awhile and slow down your pace. With school, you are constantly in a rush or busy with obligations. When I drink tea in the mornings, it’s my mini break from the fast paced lifestyle and I feel more energized after.
If I am not stretching, I am exercising. Whether if it’s running or cycling, it is a mental break and gives my body a chance to be active. I try to aim to workout 3 times a week. Exercising reduces my stress levels substantially and I always get a boost of energy right after.
These are just a few ways that I reduce and manage my stress levels, each very simple actions. The hardest part about finding ways to reduce stress levels is incorporating it into your schedule and being consistent. Consistency is something that I personally struggle with, but I try to place these activities during time that I am free for myself. Every person is different when handling stress and it’s important to not forgot do the little things that gives you a break. You’ll be amazed at how you feel after.