De-stress your life

-Finding peace-

Firstly, I need to point out that I often find myself stressing and overthinking way more than I need to. Therefore, as I can speak from experience, I thought I could put together a little guide to how to calm your nerves a bit. I am not a professional but I do have a lot of experience with stress and anxiousness, so I'll write some about what has worked for me. Every person is different but here are a few candid tips and tricks that helps me calm my nerves and relax more. 

-It's all about rituals-

Routines helps me a lot, especially in times of stress because it feels like I'm in charge of something. I can control my nighttime and morning routine, and to have that kind of frame makes the day feel overall a tiny bit more stable. As for the morning routine, it's really all about what kind of preferences you have. By my experience, waking up early saves me from a lot of unnecessary stress that I can easily avoid by just waking up 10-15 minutes earlier than I have to. I also try to do something else than just using my phone and going on social media the minute I wake up, to start my day more slowly and harmoniously. -That can be listening to podcasts, like tarot for the wild soul while I make myself some breakfast or using my oracle cards. But really any small activity that you enjoy, like listening to some upbeat 80's tunes to get energized, helps to just start off the day the right way. Find your own rituals that suits you!

I often struggle to get to sleep, so before I go to bed I like to calm myself by listening to some classical music (like the pride and prejudice soundtrack, it's my go-to), drink a cup of chamomile tea and put some lavender oil on my temples and neck. I also love to read before bed with my himalaya salt lamp on. The peachy/orangy light is so much more calming than a regular night lamp. Reading is a great way to feel like you're slowing down in a fast-paced environment. Sometimes I feel so stressed out that I can't seem to properly focus on what I'm reading, but in those cases I like to take a break to meditate, or repeat the words that I just read until I feel like I've absorbed their meaning. Reading a book on for example astrology/philosophy or a short story is often better to read before bed than regular novels - as you never know when there is a new twist or turn when you read a typical novel.

 My mantra at the moment is "I breathe deeply knowing that all is well in my universe" and I try to tell myself that every morning and night (although I must admit that I forget it at times), but most importantly it can be great to have such a mantra those times when you're supposed to sleep but your heart can't stop pounding. Creating these kinds of bedtime and morning rituals can make a great difference.

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-Getting organized-

Getting more organized is definitely a game-changer! Make a plan and plan ahead. Start now. You won't regret it. Personally, I use a planner which is my ultimate life saver. When life gets overwhelming, this is what keeps me sane. If you have to plan everything by the hour that is okay too but remember to leave room for breaks as well. Once I know that I've written down what I need to do and when I need to do it, I can properly focus on my momentarily tasks.

Another thing - try to get things done as early as possible, and stop procrastinating: this is a tough one, I know, but it helps A LOT. Make a plan to study each day for a set period of time and stick with it. And if you don't manage to stick with it, at least don't postpone it any longer than you already have. For the periods of time where you have to study, try to turn off your phone and study intenstly. If you have errands, work etc to do on the weekends it is especially important to just do them right after breakfast or as early as possible. If I know that I have checked some things off my to-do list before I start doing the things I enjoy, it makes me relax ten times more. Other than that, it is the small things like picking out my clothes and finding out what I'm going to eat for breakfast the night before that also makes me feel more organized and ready for the upcoming day. 

-Unwind-

Setting off time to unwind is absolutely essential. To take your mind off things I would highly recommend going for a 10 min walk. When you are tired and feeling unmotivated, going outside for a walk is perhaps the last thing you want to do - but it is exactly what you should do. It is a great way to boost your energy levels fast and at the same time it is quite calming. You should also give mindfullness/ yoga a go. You might not be that into yoga and mindfullness but it has its benefits, believe me. Just know that you don't have to learn everything in one day and it does not have to be that hard. Here are three exercises you can do to slow down and recharge:

1. Viparita Karani (legs up the wall pose): Activates the nerve system and helps if you're anxious. Full instructions here.

2. Garudasana (eagle pose): Improves concentration and sense of balance -  Full instructions here.

3. Awaken your breath: Stand in mountain pose with feet apart and your arms by your side. Inhale and lift your arms over your head and move your arms down as you exhale. Repeat 6 times. 

When you are practicing mindfullness you are focusing on repetitive movements and in many ways that is the same basic idea of several formes of crafting, like the skills used to knit, make jewelry and cross-stitch. If you think mindfullness isn't the thing for you, have you thought about knitting? Knitting fulfills the two criteria of mindfulness practice "the repetition of a sound, word, phrase prayer, or movement, and the passive setting aside of intruding thoughts and returning to the repetition", according to mindfulness expert Dr. Herbert Benson. Let your creativity flow and hopefully you'll be able to slow down a little.

Other than that (and I believe that a lot of people agree with me on this) having a bath or taking a shower is perhaps some of the most relaxing things there is but depending on the wanted outcome (energy or serenity) you can unwind by taking a shower or a bath. A little tip is to focus on taking deep breaths, holding for a few seconds, and exhaling. 

Overall it is you that knows what truly puts your mind off things, but being productive (in a different way than the work and school kind of productivity) like changing the bedsheets or cleaning your space can be very soothing. And when you're finished you can for instance watch a romantic comedy ;))

-Process-

Now over to the -healing- part. I believe that a lot of stress is rooted in our inability to process things properly. We let the stress build up when we suppress it. So let's get to the bottom of why you feel the way you do before you get to your breaking point.

If there is something that is bothering you, see your BFF or someone else and talk about it. Writing about it can also help if you don't really feel like sharing. What is important is that you acknowledge these feelings and try to find away to let go of them or a way to process them. Going to a mindfullness course can be very helpful and practicing gratitude is also a good way to gain perspective. 

Good luck on your journey towards a less stressful life! Hopefully these tips will help you a bit along the way x

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