Relaxing and Dealing with Tension

what I wish I could have done during finals, LOL

Tension and stress are two things college students have to deal with every day. Whether it's stress from schoolwork, jobs, or roommates, sometimes you just go to bed physically sore from all the tension you're unconsciously carrying. (I carry a lot in my neck and shoulders, for instance.) The following hints have helped me get rid of some stress, and I hope they will work for you as well!

Take a REAL deep breath.

Draw in so much air that your stomach puffs out, while keeping your shoulders down. Let the breath out through pursed lips until you feel empty of air. Do this as many times as needed.

Do something creative.

Write, doodle, sing/play music, dance, act out a favorite scene--anything creative you can think of. Even do a little Internet research about something you've always wanted to learn about, or find a creativity-boosting Flash game! (Creative sites I like: artPad, Falling Sands, Sound Matrix, and Bomomo.)

If you can't sleep, be productive instead.

If you're jittery with tension and anxiety, don't force sleep. Get up and do something constructive instead--lay out the next day's clothing, read and respond to emails, get rid of some clutter or trash. You'll be tired before you know it! xD

Reduce caffeine, salt, and sugar intake.

Caffeine makes you jittery, salt makes you retain water and jacks up blood pressure, and sugar only gives you a short boost before a big energy crash. Take in more fiber, complex carbs, and water instead.

Try this muscle trick while lying in bed:

Tense and stretch every muscle in your feet, then your legs, then your torso, and on up your body, relaxing each muscle group as you move on. Sounds too simple, but boy does it work!

Comfort foods = WIN.

Whatever your favorite comfort food or drink is, they will most likely help you sleep. Warm milk is a classic, as is a peanut butter and jelly sandwich; hot chocolate or hot tea can work great, too. Something light and yummy will fit the bill just fine!

Turn a fan toward you, and then wrap up in a blanket a few minutes later.

I know this sounds contradictory, but this is one of the best ways I've found to physically induce sleep. The fan helps your body lower its temperature enough to sleep, and then wrapping up in a blanket helps you feel all sleepy and snuggly.

Try listening to ASMR (Autonomic Sensory Meridian Response) videos.

ASMR videos are usually very soothing and lead to sleep very easily, even if you don't get "head tingles" while listening. My favorite ASMRtist is HeatherFeather.

Deal with any guilt or anxiety directly.

If you're like me and obsess over the day's foibles when you're trying to sleep, face those worries. Was there anything you could have done differently? Is there any way to make amends? If so, make a plan to apologize or rectify the situation tomorrow. If there wasn't anything you could have done differently, or there's no way to make amends, forgive yourself and vow to do better next time. Guilt and anxiety lead to so many health problems and it's not worth risking your health beating yourself up anymore.

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