Some days you know the moment your alarm clock buzzes that it’s going to be a stressful day. You’ve just got too much on your plate and you don’t have time to shower and there’s no cereal left for breakfast and your best friend is being weird and you’re the only one doing anything in your group project and you can’t get your hair to do anything right and you’re going to be late for the bus and— SHHHHH. Breathe. In the battle between you and stress, stress does not always have to win. Here are a few ways to de-stress when it’s just one of those days:
1. Scream. If you don’t mind alarming your parents or roommates, you can take a deep breath and scream bloody murder until you’ve exhausted your throat to the point of nodules. A slightly saner version entails shrieking into your pillow, muffling the sounds of your protest against the universe. As you take that deep pre-scream breath, think of the air you’re dragging into your chest as if it’s all of your stress. When you scream, you’re releasing it. Once you’re done screaming, poof! It’s gone. Super therapeutic. And kinda fun. Who says babies are the only ones who can have temper tantrums?
2. Make a to-do list. Once you’ve organized everything that you have to do into a list, it feels much more manageable. Plus, you’ll feel super accomplished as you check off every item of your list, like “shave the cat” or “cure the common cold.”
3. Take a nap. Seriously, naps are friggin’ MIRACLES. Even if you’re sitting there thinking “nomygod I don’t have any time for this napping nonsense, you fool!” you should be taking a nap. The 20 minutes you give yourself for that power-nap will do wonders for your mind, body, and emotional state. Cuddle time with your unicorn pillow pet won’t hurt, either.
4. Get physical. Exercise releases endorphins, and endorphins make you happy. So whether you go on a quick run, take a walk, ride your bike, or violently pummel your pillow to get rid of all your excessive negative stress energy, you’ll later feel refreshed and ready to take on your day.
5. Treat yo’self. You’re doing a lot! There’s that thing you’re in charge of and that other thing you’ve been working on and that thing that’s due at school to do and that person you’ve been trying to flirt with … that’s a lot to handle, and you deserve a reward. Promise yourself that once you’ve accomplished everything you need to get done, you’ll treat yourself to something awesome, like a new book, a few episodes of your favorite show on Netflix, or a pony.
6. Get some bubbles. Not the kind you played with as a little kid (although, hey, whatever works), the kind you put in the bathtub. Add some rocks to the bath to make it extra spa-like. Are they supposed to be uncomfortable? Uh, we don’t know but people are paying $200 for an hour with rocks. Grab a book, climb into a warm bath, and let it melt all of your troubles away.
7. Pet something furry. Cuddle your cat until it runs away from you, or give your dog a belly rub. Animals are so much more sympathetic and understanding than humans, anyway. If you don’t have a furry friend of your own, visit the local animal shelter or secretly kidnap your friend’s pet for the afternoon.
8. Clean. Trying to accomplish work in your super-cluttered bedroom will only stress you out more. A disorganized room is a sign of a disorganized mind! Tidying up will make you feel accomplished (small victories), and once you’re done, you’ll be able to focus entirely on the tasks at hand rather than on the pile of dirty mismatched socks in the corner.
9. Mini-dance party. Self-explanatory. Crank up your favorite song (no judgment, even if it’s “We Can’t Stop”) and flail wildly around your room until it ends. The more stressed you are, the more jazz moves you should perform. Nothing calms like an angry dance.
10. Lean on me, or on a piece of modern street art. Maybe there’s something on your to-do list that a friend is able to help you complete, or maybe your sister would have some great advice on how to handle an issue you’re having with a friend. Whatever’s going on that’s stressing you out, talking about it with somebody that you trust could remedy the whole issue. And if not, at least somebody listened to your complaints and was sympathetic. If you don’t have a friend handy, or don’t feel comfortable sharing your issue with someone, take some time out with a giant lima bean.