by Alissa Wu ’23
Published Nov. 24th, 2020
With the mass of assignments piling up in Google Classroom, the difficulties of social isolation, and the uncertainty of these new times, it’s no surprise that students may be feeling extra stressed. That’s why, in times like these, it’s more important than ever to experiment with relaxation methods. From painting to meditating, at least one of the methods in this article will hopefully alleviate some of the pressure students may be feeling right now.
It is important to emphasize that destressing comes with having a good schedule, however. Just “going with the flow” will cause destressing breaks to be sporadic and ungoverned, making it difficult to motivate yourself to do something specific and measured later. For instance, reading a book for an hour, then realizing you have a history test the next day will just cause you to feel annoyed and unproductive, and ultimately causes more stress than relaxation.
These issues can all be solved by scheduling what you mean to accomplish in a certain time frame and completing those plans accordingly. As Catherine Feng ’23 says, “Having a good grasp of what needs to be done by when is essential to planning ahead and finishing on time.” Catherine blocks out chunks of time in her week for doing various activities; in this way, she creates time to do what she truly enjoys.
By scheduling, you’ll find time to take breaks—but what are some activities you can do during a break? Although scrolling through TikTok is pretty mindless and distracting, it’s easy to get addicted to social media, making it hard to stick to a schedule. Since we’re already looking at our screens so much for virtual school, we should strive to minimize our screen time by distancing ourselves from our devices as much as possible.
Here are a few alternative methods to help you destress:
- Taking Walks
Something that can significantly lessen stress is taking walks after school is over. Walking around your neighborhood while calling a friend or listening to music can help you engage in some form of social interaction while giving you a chance to rest your eyes, which may appeal to the extroversion of some individuals and helps mitigate technology’s detrimental effects on one’s eyesight. As Verywell Mind describes, “walking combines both the benefits of meditation and exercise, making it a great solution to overwhelming stress.”
Reading is another highly effective way to relax; a study from the University of Sussex determined that reading reduces stress levels by 68%! However, it is important to choose a topic that you enjoy and which won’t create further stress. For instance, politics and current events may cause apprehension, fear, and other negative emotions; instead, opt for a fantasy futuristic novel, a historical book about your favorite cultural story, or other texts from your favorite genre.
Another way you can destress is through art. According to Harvard Health Publishing, even low-skill art can alleviate depression and anxiety. Angelina Xi ’23 sees art as a potent catharsis for reducing stress: it takes her mind “off stressful activities” so she can focus on “creating something creative and inspiring.”
Rest and destressing may not always be synonymous with relaxation, however: some individuals with higher energy levels might opt for more active ways to destress. For those who want an energy-consuming method to burn stress, running would be a great idea. Exercise has been proven to reduce stress hormones and stimulate the production of endorphins that are responsible for feelings of relaxation and happiness.
With the pressures of high school and quarantine, reducing stress levels is both more difficult and more important than ever. However, by trying out some of these methods, you can hopefully find some ways to keep your stress in check.