Letting Loose

As is expected from a soon-to-be college graduate, I am starting to fall a little bit behind. It’s been a hectic month, and the next (less than!) two weeks will be giving even the hectic month a run for its money! I still don’t think the fact that I am finishing up my four years of undergraduate in the next seven days, and I know that I am not quite grasping the fact that every assignment I have to have turned in is due, well, now. When it comes down to it, I am a procrastinator, through and through. And this is a problem. I get SO stressed out at the end of each semester, and while it’s not always a result of procrastination (anyone else get sweaty palms when thinking about an oral exam – in Italian?!), the little ball of fear always finds its way into the base of my throat. So, today, it is time to get down to business. And by business, I mean how to relax in a time of stress.

One of my notorious stress-cards.

One of my notorious stress-cards.

Everyone has their own little quirks and their own methods of letting the tension go, and mine goes a little something like this.

[one] Hit up the local Kroger

[two] Grab a few magazines (gossip, wedding, health: whatever you enjoy most, pick it up!)

[three] Head to the beloved frozen aisle. Grab delicious pint of ice cream. In my pre-gluten intolerant days, my go-to choice was always Ben & Jerry’s One Chocolate Cheesecake. DELICIOUS. But today I am obsessed with Talenti gelato. Good stuff.

[four] Make sure you don’t just walk out without paying. That may add to your stress-o-meter. Give them what you owe, then run to the car.

[five] SHUT OFF YOUR PHONE. Just do it. Or at least put it on vibrate. This is you time. YOU. Not mom, dad, boyfriend, best friend, email-from-my-professor time.

[six] Once you are home, pick your favorite place to go. Love your bed? Snuggle up with your favorite pillow. Have the world’s most comfortable couch? Get yo’ lounge on! Enjoy a good bubble bath (and trust yourself not to drop the magazine in the water)? Let the faucet flow and feel the tension  ease.

[seven] Forget about everything that is worrying you – a relationship, class assignment, promotion at work, what have you – and just ease into relaxation.

[eight] If you’re like me and you either read magazines too quickly or need something more mind-consuming, pop in a new flick! Check out a funny Judd Apatow film, a clichéd chick film, or resort to a beloved guilty pleasure (I mean, I’m totally not talking about sparkly vampires, here…).

No matter what you’re way of relaxing is, do it, and you will feel like a newborn babe! I swear, taking time to focus on anything but the worries at hand is one of the best natural remedies you will ever take part in. If you have a different version of de-stressing, DO IT. Out on the town with the girls? Do it. Date night in with your boy (or girl)? Do it. Jog around the park? GO. If there is one place on this planet that knows how to forget about the worries in life, it’s this beautiful city…

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Vegas! Ladies and gentlemen, this town knows how to do it. I took a trip with my grandma (coolest grandma EVER) in mid-October of my junior year of college, and it was the best time of my life. I took time to take in the sights, find new places, marvel at every palace of a hotel, and eat everything on my plate. I forgot about everything else that was going on back home, and I relaxed. The Las Vegas state of mind is always easy to find when you’re in the desert oasis, but it’s not impossible to find even if you’re sitting in your sweats at home. If you have the time and money, go to Vegas; go find your tropical heaven. Take the time to get away from your worries. One sight on the main drag of Vegas is the Aria Resort and Casino. It is a gorgeous resort complete with Cirque du Soleil entertainment, a number of bars and lounges, a salon and spa, and a gelato roulette wheel! Talk about the ideal de-stressing point. If I could get my hands on a spa stay and some of that gelato, I think I’d be on the road to relaxation in 2.5 seconds. But if you’re a broke college kid (like…me!), just find the Las Vegas mindset and let your stress go.

This post was written at the invitation of Vegas.com. I was not compensated, and all opinions are my own. If you get a chance to see this city, GO!

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What to do, what to do…

Sometimes it can get tough to keep up with things; homework, friendships, a blog… Whatever it may be, to do lists seem to grow and grow, and then they seem to be this huge monster looming over your shoulder. Lately I’ve found myself jumping awake in the middle of the night feeling anxious. Sometimes it’s because of a dream, or a forgotten idea from the previous day, but recently it’s been from anxiety about forgetfulness. I forget to do a quick quiz, to start a paper outline, to eat my dinner, to study, the list goes on and on. And it never seems to get any shorter!

The first thought that comes to mind is when I was 18, fresh out of high school, with my dad telling me that it only gets crazier from there, and to enjoy it. Needless to say, those years are gone, and they were gone sooner than I ever expected them to be! Now fresh into 22, I’m staring down a loaded barrel of my last semester of college, graduate school, a job, a family…oh God. Here we go. This is what I do to myself every day! Of course, there are always those things I resort to stressing about, and they sure as hell aren’t good to me. What if they don’t accept my application? Will I be living at home until I’m 25? When can I have a life? HOW DO I PAY OFF ALL THIS DEBT?!?

Regardless of how many times I tell myself to chill out, no matter how many times my guy tells me to “woo-sah”, I still find myself holding the weight of my world on my shoulders. But then, when I stop to think about it, I realize why all that stress just keeps coming on. Nothing on my list is good. Like inherently fun, or exciting, or great to think about and anticipate. It’s full of “do this paper now” and “make sure to take the GRE by this time”; there is no “make sure to GO OUT tomorrow” or “spend some quality free time with your family/friends/boyfriend”. There is literally nothing benefiting me physically or mentally on this list; it only ensures I graduate and am ready for whatever comes next. What I don’t look at is that if I don’t take care of ME, there won’t be a ME in the future.

SO, it’s time for that to change. It’s time to make a long-term FUN to do list.

  1. Read one “fun” book a month; having too much school reading is not an excuse to lose touch with your favorite hobby.
  2. Give the boy at least one full day of attention a week; you already don’t see him much, make the time worth it!
  3. Exercise; yeah, this isn’t fun, but your body will thank you, and you will DEFINITELY thank your body!
  4. Sleep, and sleep well; turn off the TV, put on some music, shut off the lights and get the deep sleep you need.
  5. Eat well; you know what your body wants and what it needs. Stick to the needs and have a few wants when it should happen.
  6. Make one evening a week a YOU night; take a bath, watch a movie, give yourself a facial, do what you want to do!
  7. Write letters; to friends or family, it doesn’t matter, just do it!
  8. RELAX. You heard me, just do it.

So there it is. The list to end all lists. And the one I should really be thinking about when I feel bogged down in all the exhausting events that school/work bring along. And you should do it, too! Get out there and make your own feel-good list; make it happen, and I bet you anything you’ll start feeling better.

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