Summer could not have come at a better time! After a long, intense academic year, the stress levels of students are at an all time high! When we are stressed, our sympathetic nervous system activates a fight-or flight response where our bodies prepare for an automatic and intense state of functioning. The heart starts to beat faster, muscles tense up, and the mind becomes more alert. In a dangerous situation when a defense mode is necessary, the stress response becomes very useful. When faced with challenges, such as driving on a freeway or taking a huge exam, the sympathetic system allows the individual to perform as optimally as possible. We even divulge in stimulants like coffee or soda to give us that extra boost similar to the stress response.
However, maintaining a consistent state of stress can negatively affect one’s physical and emotional health, one’s ability to concentrate and recall information, and one’s over all every day functioning. This is the second edition of tips to help you unwind and relax this summer. If you found the last set helpful, you should try these easy, and relaxing activities that will recharge your batteries for the fall semester!
Take some personal time.
Turn your bathroom into a mini spa, complete with a bubble bath, candles for aromatherapy, and focus on relaxing. Self-pampering and beautification treatments are very beneficial for maintaining stress levels. Being good to ourselves helps us to function better and care for others. Make your own facial mask with products that you have in your kitchen using oatmeal, egg yolks, and yogurt. Giving yourself a pedicure, listening to relaxing music, even having a cup of tea watching the sunset are great relaxing activities.
Write a love letter.
Writing a beautiful hand written letter is a personal, physical expression of your love. Be completely honest and let them know how you really feel about them, and hold nothing back. It could be your mom, your best friend, or maybe your dog. Write to anyone who makes your life beautiful, unique, and different in a major way. Tell them how much you appreciate them, and how special you think they are. Write about a cherished memory of the past, in vivid and expressive detail! Write about the future and all of the fun things that you want to do together! Listen to song that reminds you of the person to help inspire memories and emotions. Not only will you make his or her day, but also it will feel good to know that you have someone so wonderful in your life. You can even have fun getting fancy with it, using wax seals, beautiful stationary, or lipstick imprints!
Sleep! Sleep! Sleep!
This cannot be said enough. College students are synonymous with adopting poor sleeping habits. Staying up late, waking up super early for class, and drinking eleven cups of coffee in between to keep us sane; eventually our bodies will not be able to recover as quickly and the physical side effects of aging will start to manifest. When we are losing sleep, the physiological systems of our body are not able to recover from the day. Even just a short fifteen-minute nap is enough to recharge and keep you going through the day. Studies show that taking naps improves learning and memory recall. Stretching for two minutes or drinking cold water is beneficial in reducing any groggy feelings after a nap. Do you have problems falling asleep? Drinking herbal tea like chamomile or taking a warm bath help to promote a good night’s rest.
Research shows that doing a good deed elevates levels of happiness and satisfaction and decreases stress levels. When we help someone else, we are able to remove ourselves from our own stress and we are able to focus on assisting someone in need. Not only does volunteering provide you a great opportunity to learn new things, but it is satisfying to know that you have made a difference in the life of someone else. Donating resources or time will help to develop empathy, compassion, and interpersonal relationships.
There are physical, emotional, and social benefits of laughter. Laughing relieves muscle tension, boosts our immune system, and speeds up metabolism. Laughing is a great abdominal, facial, respiratory, and back exercise. It attracts other people to us, it strengthens relationships, and it enhances teamwork. Laughing helps to inspire us, and see the world from a different perspective by creating a psychological detachment from situations that would make us anxious and overwhelmed. Joy is contagious, and it helps us to take ourselves less seriously. Simply ask someone what the funniest thing that happened to him or her was to ignite some laughter today!
Stay tuned for more Summer Relaxing tips!