As May arrives, the end of your school year draws near. You can almost taste the glorious summer vacation that awaits you without any homework or tests! Yet there’s one small snag: before freedom comes, you have to conquer an overwhelming pile of exams and assignments. It’s time to dig in and push through so that graduation is just around the corner! With the influx of summer festivities, such as happy hour drinks, company picnics, and much-anticipated vacations looming in the near future, this time of year can mean a lot for those who are trying to balance their crammed workday. If you find yourself feeling frazzled by your overflowing workload during these intense moments – take comfort; these tips will help bring you closer to that end goal: celebration!
1. Make a stress bouquet.
Get rid of stress and create a beautiful, eye-catching centerpiece for your coffee table in one step! What could be better than that? When you’re feeling overwhelmed with too many to-dos running through your head, take some time out to make the perfect stress bouquet. We were delighted when we saw @amandaelser’s stunning creation on Instagram—Fashion and Beauty Editor at The Knot. Here is her masterpiece:
To help bring about a sense of calm during chaotic times, take her lead and create an aromatic bundle. Inhaling lavender oil has been clinically proven to lower blood pressure levels as well as heart rate – according to the Journal of Medical Association in Thailand – while eucalyptus can give you that much-needed energy boost! But even if those aren’t readily available, any flowery scent will undoubtedly put your mind at ease. So go ahead; recharge by taking a deep breath and hitting refresh with this natural remedy!
2. Rub this spot on your head.
You don’t have to spend an excessive amount of money for a massage to achieve some relief. Instead, why not try stimulating your Third Eye Point? This area is located where the nose and eyebrow meet – simply apply pressure while inhaling deeply over three to five minutes during one of your study breaks. For something even more discrete, interlock your fingers behind the base of your skull before using both thumbs to push up against each side between muscles and bones – this spot is a surefire stress reliever!
3. Use meditation to feel om-azing.
Though it may be difficult to break away from our daily obligations and take time for meditation, the rewards far outweigh any potential frustrations. Even a few moments of mindful stillness can drastically reduce stress. You don’t have to sit in perfect silence – that’s likely impossible when nerves are running high – but just taking some breaths will help you regain focus and clarity while calming your mind. Rather than striving to empty one’s mind, mindful meditation encourages individuals to stay grounded in reality and live in the present moment. It is a distinct technique that differentiates itself from conventional meditative practices. Scientists conducted an experiment to check the effects of mindfulness meditation. They taught one set of participants how to meditate mindfully during three 25-minute sessions while instructing another group on poetry analysis techniques. All individuals were then exposed to speech and math tests in front of their evaluators, which evoked a higher level of cortisol (a stress hormone), but even so, those who received mindful training stayed calmer than the rest.
[Related: 15 Super Successful People Who Meditate Every Day]
4. Take a 30-minute stroll.
Busy days can be overwhelming, but a relaxing 30-minute walk is all it takes to clear your head and reduce stress. A new study published in the Scandinavian Journal of Medicine and Science in Sports found that walking was an effective way to take off noontime tension. The University of Birmingham recruited volunteers to take part in a study where they were instructed to walk for thirty minutes during their usual lunch hour. This was especially important since the participants had sedentary jobs. Initially, half of them began a ten-week mobility program while striving to document their moods through an app and report on their feelings each morning and afternoon. By contrast, the other group waited until this trial concluded before commencing such movements around mealtimes. To everyone’s surprise, those who decided not only to move but also go out into nature even if it was just in town reported feeling drastically less stressed than those that stayed put at work!
5. Throw away bad thoughts.
Although this may sound too spiritual for some, science supports its effectiveness. Studies have found that jotting down your worries and disposing of them can actually help you shift away from any negative feelings. In an investigation conducted by Psychological Science, investigators had participants write for three minutes either positively or negatively about their body image. After they read back what they wrote, half of them were asked to throw away the notes while the other half proofread it for corrections. The results showed that regardless of whether a person’s words were positive or negative, those who did not discard their notes experienced less alteration in how they judged themselves afterward. Although it may feel uneasy, the next time a negative thought prevents you from completing your work efficiently, put pen to paper and jot down any worries that come to mind. Afterward, throw them out like yesterday’s trash so they will no longer be an obstacle to achieving success.
6. Strike a power pose.
TED Talks are an inexhaustible wellspring of motivation for your career and provide invaluable life hacks that will make your life even more gratifying. “Your Body Language Shapes Who You Are” is one of those that does both. Dr. Amy Cuddy, a social psychologist and associate professor at Harvard Business School, sheds light on how certain physical postures can boost self-confidence while lowering stress levels. An experiment showed that only two minutes of assuming high-power poses such as putting your feet up on the desk with hands clasped behind your head or standing with feet hip-width apart and palms planted firmly on hips could reduce cortisol by 25% and increase testosterone – which is responsible for feelings of boldness – by 20%.
7. Think of stress as a positive.
To minimize the damaging effects of stress, one powerful approach is to reconceptualize it. Stanford lecturer Kelly McGonigal, Ph.D., explains this in her work The Upside of Stress. If you view stress as an exciting challenge rather than a threatening issue, you can use it to ignite your drive and ambition instead of letting it deflate your motivation levels! A great way to reduce stress and find more energy in difficult situations is by reframing it as excitement. The physical reactions for both emotions are nearly identical, so with practice, you can learn how to recognize the signs of each one and use them interchangeably. By disciplining yourself this way, stressful scenarios become invigorating experiences instead!