Calming Down in Your 11×16

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By Kat Kaderabek

It is easy to feel cramped in the confines of your dorm at times, especially during these cold, winter months when the sun sets so early. However, remembering your mental health is important, especially during this season where many people are subject to Seasonal Affective Disorder, otherwise known as SAD.

If stress and anxiety start to arise, there are several helpful tips and tricks to keep on hand in order to help keep the breakdowns to a minimum. These tools can be applied during anytime of the year, but are especially helpful during finals week. These tips are from college-life gurus as well as student experiences.

The most common and successful form of easing stress comes from calling home. Ranting, venting, and purging the toxic feelings that you’re holding inside to someone who loves you unconditionally is one of the healthiest forms of getting rid of anxiety. The old adage is true, mothers really do know best. Calling home is the perfect way for your mother or family to provide some perspective to whatever is causing your stress.

Physical activity is another important stress-relieving activity de-stressing techniques. While there is not much available space to work out in a college dorm room, there most definitely is room to do a few yoga stretches. By simply stretching your body, tension is released and the body physically relaxes. For newcomers to yoga, there are hundreds of short, easily accessible YouTube videos that explain poses step-by-step.

Some students find that they need to concentrate while de-stressing, and yoga does not calm them down enough. Instead of yoga, try holding your arms in the air for five full minutes. Challenge yourself to do this, as it is more difficult than expected. By the time that the five minutes are up, stress levels will be reduced and you will have burned roughly 40-80 calories in the process.

Music is another helpful tool in relaxing. However, music can be a double-edged sword when it comes to calming anxiety. Try out different genres for different moods. Adele, Sam Smith, and Ed Sheeran songs usually do not help a depressive mood, so try to avoid those artists if you are already feeling down. Hit shuffle on your favorite mood-boosting playlist and listen to the words of a song you haven’t listened to in awhile or maybe one you have never heard before. If you are having trouble thinking of songs, try a mood-specific playlist that has been premade by Spotify or Apple Music.

Taking a warm shower can relax your body muscles and help you to enter a calmer state of mind. Leave everything behind and simply take your time in the shower to focus on yourself. What things do you have to look forward to? Who is one person that made you happy today? Calm yourself down by remembering the blessings in your everyday life.

Art is a helpful way to relieve your stress. Try taking up art, pick up a coloring book, or even doodle on a piece of paper to help any anxiety you may have.This may seem like a strange form of relieving anxiety, but it can work. By concentrating on something else, your negative thoughts are often pushed to the back of your mind. If you are not an artist, try painting your nails. Take your time and do not rush, smudging or ruining your polish can be frustrating.

Painting nails forces you to take time to yourself, away from the large workload or pesky friends. The finished product also alludes to a more put-together you than you may actually be in the moment.

If all else fails, there is the good old-fashioned method of screaming into a pillow. But hopefully there are other methods that can be undertaken before getting to the pillow point. Overall, your mental health will always matter more than a grade. Take care of yourself and the rest will fall into place.

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