It’s easy enough to think of ways to treat yourself. But for some reason reality is set up so that money and time both need to be taken into consideration and I can’t elect to mosey across the world to Switzerland for a frangipani scalp massage or even take a quick Mediterranean cruise in the hour before my final exam.
One can’t even do what my Dad seems to like (going to a Russian steam bath and sauna to be beaten with oak leaves) on the daily.
So what can one do to coax away the stress?
- WRITE LISTS: You knew this would be on here. No apologies.
- Crosswords, Sudoku, and other assorted puzzles: Some things in life are solvable, others are not. Conquer your real world stress by filling in satisfying little boxes with numbers and delightful words like ‘etui’.
- ASMR Videos: Now we’re treading into weirder territory. ASMR stands for Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response, basically a scientific term for that tingly feeling or contentment you get when someone plays with your hair or tells you a bedtime story. A bunch of people discovered that these feelings can be triggered by certain sounds. A youtube culture was born.
- Exercise: My favorites being walking, dancing, and yoga. Ohm.
- Do Work: I hate to be that person, but sometimes actually getting done what I need to get done helps me to not stress out about it.
- Choreographing and Cutting Music: Basically advance preparation for ballroom showpieces. Note: this only counts as relaxation if a show isn’t imminent. If a show is imminent, this goes into the ‘do work’ category.
- Read: Enough said.
- Listen to Music: See above.
- Test perfumes: If listening to music is taking your mind off of stress with the sense of sound, this is the parallel with the sense of smell. Even a god awful perfume (a scrubber) can blast away your brain shadows.
- Surf the Internet: Sometimes you just need to take that Buzzfeed Quiz so you can FINALLY know what mythical creature you are (Unicorn, FYI).
- Clean: Buff away the nasty stuff from the outside in.
- Talk to a Friend or Loved One: No, not ‘ask the audience’. Doesn’t even need to be about your stress. Just so long as someone is with you, over the phone, in the room, via Skype, chat, any which way.
- Journal: When I’m in a bad state, it helps to journal and keep journaling until I’ve made peace with whatever I’m anxious about. It’s really interesting to watch your feelings work themselves out on the page. Visualizing your thought process can make a confused mental state a lot more distinct.
- Pet Pets
- Look Fabulous: I believe that stress can be intimidated. If you wear a great outfit and do yourself up, it will know that you’re not to be messed with. I believe it was Chanel who said “If you’re sad, add more lipstick and attack.”
- Alternately: bust out the pajamas at noon (so long as you don’t have to go anywhere). Better yet, never take the pajamas off upon waking up.
- Sob: Helpful to watch a video to get you going on this one. I recommend clips of Disney parent death scenes.
Bambi: “Mother?… MOTHER?…MOTHEEEERRRRR!?”
Simba: “Dad?… Dad, wake up…”
- Hygiene: Brush your teeth, wash your face, take a shower. I once had studied all day and decided I could finally take a moment for myself. I brushed my teeth and went back to studying. In hindsight, I should have been a bit nicer to me, but the minty freshness did do the trick.
- Get Lots of Sleep: Sometimes I go to bed at 6 pm during finals period. No shame.
- Watch a Movie: A simple kids movie or maybe a funny one. And an insider tip: there really is nothing like a horror or suspense film when you’re stressed. You can fix your anxiety and adrenaline on something else (Hannibal Lecter?) and then let other (fictional) people deal with him.
Honorable mentions that may work for you (but not for me): Snack, Imbibe (responsibly), Nap, Laugh, The Infamous Stress Ball, Meditate, Do Art Things