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Relax This Summer

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 Many college students are faced with several stressors and pressures. As if our academic life doesn’t keep us occupied enough with all of the reading, studying, and exams, we have an abundance of other things that stress us out. It may seem like there is nothing to do to get the edge off, but there are many things that can be done to ease the stress and have fun while doing it!

There are many other great activities that can be done to reduce stress. Building a fort, going for a drive, traveling to a new city, going for a walk. This list has been created to help you to de-stress this summer, so that you can come back in the fall semester with brand new energy to have the best year yet!

Say goodbye to guilt and negativity. Our personal expectations of our environments and ourselves are very powerful in determining the outcome of situations. Self-efficacy significantly influences our motivations, our thoughts, and our behaviors. It is the personal belief in one’s own abilities and attitudes about ourselves in relation to our environments. Individuals who are high in self-efficacy often view complex tasks as opportunities to master a challenge, and they are able to interpret their energy as excitement compared to apprehension. Seeing the glass as half full compared to half empty not only reduces stress, but it allows us to have more fun and more energy. Using positive self-talk, such as reflecting on experiences as opportunities for growth instead of reflecting on shortcomings, will allow us to become more positive and motivated. Research illustrates that the simple act of smiling itself is enough to improve your mood.

Get in motion! What happened to the old games we used to play when we were younger? Engaging in fun physical activities like hula hooping, jump roping, or dancing for twenty minutes boosts energy and improves one’s mood. The repetitive physical motion stimulates the release of endorphins, which are brain chemicals that relieve pain and create feelings of euphoria. The benefits of physical play go way beyond the de-stressing potential. While participating in motor activities, you are not only getting a fabulous workout, but you have a great time while you are doing it! Go for a bike ride down the neighborhood! Take a hike down a beautiful path! Take a raft and canoe down the river! Not only do studies show that individuals who are physically active live longer, but also new brain cells can be formed that are responsible for memory and learning. These activities can be performed solitary or with friends. The Well offers several classes like yoga or zumba classes to get your body and brain back into shape for the fall semester!

Eat well. Strawberries, blueberries, kiwis! Beautiful, colorful, and sweet fruits are definitely great boosters to your energy levels and your mood! Loaded with antioxidants and cancer-fighting phytochemicals, fruit is portable and easy to eat on the go. Going to the farmers market and picking up some of your favorite fresh fruit is a fun and relaxing way to spend your afternoon. Make a banana-strawberry smoothie! Throw some blueberries in your pancake mix! Cut up some apples and eat them with peanut butter! There are several ways to mix in fruit with just about anything!

 Go outside. Research at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory demonstrates that when exposed to natural light, individuals are more productive and satisfied than those who are not. Sacramento State is a beautiful campus! Just taking a walk through campus and paying attention to the gorgeous sights on campus or sitting in the grass at the Alumni Grove or the Arboretum will surely clear your head. Picking flowers, feeding ducks, watching the squirrels play, or walking barefoot through the grass are great de-stressing activities. Peak Adventures and the Aquatic Center have several opportunities to enjoy the outdoors while having a great time!

 Hang out with a child. From piggyback rides, to scavenger hunts, to playing tag, it seems as if all the fun is reserved for the little ones. Children have such a different perspective on life. They have unlimited creativity, imagination, and desire for wonderful and exciting new things. The most daunting thing that they have to worry about is naptime! Unfortunately, research shows that laughter, play, and creativity decline significantly with age. Interacting with children, observing their behavior, and attempting view the world through younger and optimistic eyes will help one to visualize the glass as half full. You can work at the Children’s Center (916-278-6216) or intern at the UCP Autism Center for Excellence (916-548-2562) for opportunities to work with children.

Stay tuned for more summer relaxing tips coming soon!

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