Last week, I drafted a blog of tips for reducing stress from one student to another. While I felt the tips I wrote about were personal to me and great methods for reducing stress and creating positive energy, I came to realize they were suggestions very commonly given by other students and professionals (moral of the story: I should have searched around a little more first!).
But you’ve heard them all before – don’t skimp on sleep, keep a to-do list, make sure to schedule some time for fun – and using the same old tactics time and time again can become less effective as your stress evolves. With that being said…
Allison’s Tips for Reducing Stress and Generating Positivity
Get yourself a coloring page and some colored pencils.
You’re never too old to color, no matter what your friends say (they probably secretly love it anyway). Coloring provides a calming distraction and an opportunity to be imaginative. There are a plethora of websites offering free adult-level coloring pages like “mandalas“, circles with complex designs woven within them. When you finish coloring, hang it up in a friend’s room with a silly note. Spread some positive energy!
Start a thankfulness/happiness collage.
I think stress can often come from getting too worked up about our problems and forgetting to be thankful for the privileges we have as college students. When something makes you beam with gratefulness, laugh uncontrollably, smile wide, or feel accomplished, jot it down on a sticky note and put it somewhere you can see. This can be great to create with friends or coworkers. Final exams and projects can feel like torture, but we may forget what real struggles can look and feel like – such as not having enough food or a warm bed to retreat to.
Do some tight-budget retail therapy (a personal favorite).
For retail therapy to work, you don’t have to spend a ton of money. Buy silly gifts and decorations for yourself or others from the dollar store or Salvation Army. Dollar stores have whole aisles of holiday decorations, glassware, organizers and craft supplies. For example, I bought a holiday wreath last year at a dollar store. It gets me in the holiday spirit and I am proud about only spending $1 on it. And another example, one of my friends had a black cat he missed when he moved away from home, so I got him a small black cat figurine (again, only $1). He has kept it on his computer desk for the past year. This makes both of us happy.
There’s even a website with ideas for dollar store crafts.
Have an end of semester themed party.
A good friend of mine described how he likes to listen to international music and imagine himself elsewhere in times of stress. Make it a group effort and have a Paris Soiree– play some french café music, make some Madeleine cookies, and wear some berets (I know that all sounds mighty stereotypical, but it could be fun).
Or have a Summer in December party (what I think would be the opposite of Christmas in July, anyway)- drink lemonade and iced coffee, make barbecue foods, and wear your swim trunks and sun glasses. Again, the dollar store is a great place to get decorations and supplies!
What are your ideas for spreading cheer and getting through tough times? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!