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Time to unwind: how to destress in these stressful times

Take it easy with these quick tips for relaxing

Allison Vanderzanden | Lifestyle Editor

We’re just over a week into November, and so much has happened already. From election stress to the perpetual class and work load, it’s safe to assume that many of us could use a break by now. Read on for some tips to destress and relax.

One tip that most anyone will recommend is to practice breathing techniques; these can be used any time of day, no matter how busy someone is. Sit, stand or lie down comfortably and relax muscles, then take in a deep, slow breath through the nose. Count to five, then breathe out through the mouth for another five counts. Continue for at least three minutes if time allows.

Getting outside can also reduce stress. Being out in nature can be very calming, and exercising is a proven stress reducer. Take 10 minutes or more to lightly exercise by walking around town. Enjoy the sights and take this time to clear the mind and just focus on the present. Remember to bundle up if the weather calls for it.

On the same track, doing any exercise can be helpful to relieving stress. Do an at-home workout, perform a yoga sequence, head to the gym or go for a jog. An exercise session produces endorphins — stress- and pain-relieving hormones — and allows a break from stressors. 

Another strategy for destressing is to take a break from the things that are contributing to anxiety if possible. This can include social media, news updates, family members or roommates. Let housemates know that some alone time is needed, and spend this time with phone notifications turned off. 

During these social breaks, do something that will reduce stress. For some, this may be catching up on projects, while for others, this might be something totally removed from work and school. Enjoy a favorite hobby — reading, drawing, playing music or watching movies, to name a few — take a nap, meditate, take a bath or try writing about things that are causing stress. Venting in a journal or identifying what is stressing someone out can be a great release of pent-up frustration.

Remember that mental health is something that needs to be nurtured along with physical health. If anyone is really struggling with stress and anxiety, contact someone who can help and provide support.

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