Stressed? Here are 5 Ways to Feel Better in 5 Minutes

School, work, relationships, bills, everyday life events, and long to-do lists. Things that can make us feel stressed and overwhelmed throughout our day.

Our stress is at an all-time high, not to mention we are still in the middle of a global pandemic while reacclimating to normal life. It’s important to take care of your mental health.

Here are 5 easy tips you can take to help with your stress and bring some calm back into your life:

  • Focus on your breathing
    According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC) taking deep breaths is important for working your flight-or-fight response.
    • Set a timer for two minutes
    • Take a deep breath through your nose while counting to four
    • Hold your breath seven seconds
    • Exhale for eight seconds
    • Repeat the process for the whole two minutes

Photo Credit: Sage Friedman
  • Take a break from your phone
    Constantly checking your phone for and scrolling social media can overwhelm you. Unplugging for at least an hour a day to do some deep breathing, exercising, coloring or another activity can help you in reducing stress.

    Just because you are taking a break from your phone, does not give you permission to hop on social media via your laptop or turning on the news. Take a complete break from the screen.

    Also, to help with managing notifications on your phone, check out my article on focus mode from iOS 15. 

Photo Credit: Yahdi Romelo
  • Go outside for a walk
    Getting fresh air is important. According to the American Heart Association, “Nature presents scenes that gently capture your attention instead of suddenly snatching it, calming your nerves instead of dazzling them.”

    So go for a walk around the neighborhood with your favorite playlist on or you can go on a walk without your playlist and enjoy the scenes around you, being present and aware of everything around you. From the birds chirping to the sound of the tree branches moving from the wind.

    Moving your body is important during times of stress because you are keeping the tension in by sitting there feeling stressed.
  • Connect
    Connecting with people you trust is important to discuss your concerns and how you’re feeling. This could be your friends, family, or even a therapist. SDSU offers an option where you can connect with a therapist, more information on that can be found here.

Photo Credit: ​​Friends by Helena Lopes
  • Make time to unwind
    At the end of a busy workday, be sure to take 60 minutes for yourself to unwind at the end of the night. This could include journaling, coloring, watching an episode of your favorite tv show to laugh at, or reading a book. When you make time for yourself, your body will respond accordingly.

Photo Credit: Jess Bailey on Unsplash

A friendly reminder to also be sure to eat healthy, exercise, and get plenty of sleep (7-8 hours) each night.

Written By: Mike Stark | @MikeStarkCA

Mike’s Semester Survival Guide

Welcome back! I can’t believe that Winter Break is already over and another semester is here. Exactly like last semester, this semester will be fully online for classes. If you didn’t do well last semester with the all-online format, here are some tips to help get you through this semester.

Use A Calendar

Photo Credit: Screenshot of Apple Calendar from MacOs Big Sur from Apple YouTube Channel

Whether it is your phone, computer, or a paper calendar, it is essential to stay organized throughout the semester. I love to use my phone calendar. I have an iPhone and MacBook Pro and using my iCloud account, the two sync together, which is perfect when entering assignment due dates and virtual appointments.

If I enter an assignment on my iPhone, it automatically shows up on my MacBook calendar and vice versa. Android users can use their Google account synced with their android and use google calendar.

School Hack: Canvas, our new learning management system in which we submit assignments, has a feature where you can connect their calendar with your own, so all assignments professors enter with due dates can be automatically entered on your calendar.

More information on how to add events to Google Calendar are available here and for iCal (Apple Calendar) here.

Use A To-Do List

Photo Credit: Screenshot of todoist app from todoist.com

You have your calendar to keep track of assignments, which is great, but having a to-do list is also important. Being able to plan out assignments without putting exact times is important in keeping you organized.

I use a to-do app called todoist. I can organize everything by category (homework, class, work, cleaning, etc.) to let me know what I need to get done for that day. It is important to focus on one day at a time so you do not feel overwhelmed. Focus on what projects/tasks need to be done for that day and that day only and get them done.

Take Advantage of Office Hours

Photo Credit: Office Hours Clip Art from nextgengovt.com

Virtual learning is not easy, one thing we have learned from the previous semester. My suggestion to help you this semester? Take advantage of office hours with all of your professors. Hold yourself accountable in attending office hours and schedule it like a meeting on your calendar.

Office hours are the perfect time to check in with your professor to ensure you are on the right track in class, clarify any confusing concepts, or asking a simple question. You do not need to be there the entire time, but checking in can help you stay on track throughout the semester. Remember, your professors are here to help you.

Use School Resources

Photo Credit: Screenshot of Coding from heylagostechie on Unsplash

Even though we are fully online our school resources are still available to us virtually. The library on-site may be closed however everything has transitioned online. You can chat with a librarian who can guide you in the direction of finding research materials for a project.

You can access the entire library database remotely from home. Need a hard copy of a book? Not a problem. The library is offering domeside book pickup for students who need physical copies of materials. For more information on Library materials, you can visit the library website.

Have a paper due and need some feedback before submitting it? The writing center offers both live (real-time) appointments and “e-tutoring” appointments.

A tutor will provide written comments on a paper within 48 hours of the appointment day and time. You can learn more about the writing center appointments by visiting their website.

Need help with math? The Math and Stats Learning Center has transitioned virtually and has live tutors available via zoom. You can learn more about the Math & Stats Learning Center by visiting their website here.

Make Your Health a Priority

Photo Credit: Screenshot of Healthy Food from Brooke Lark on Unsplash

The pandemic is still here, we are still learning virtually, and places are still closed. It is essential for us to take care of our physical and mental health during this time.

When visiting the grocery store stock your cart with more fruits, veggies, and protein than processed food like chips, power bars, candy, and drinks. It is ok for a treat once a week but most of the week we should be eating healthy.

Here are some healthy recipes to get you started. In addition to eating healthy, working out is essential.

Sweating it out by completing a workout has proved improved mood and handling of stress. Even if it is for 30 minutes, take the time to complete a workout that you find on YouTube or check with your local gym to see if they’re operating outdoors. Remember to check in with your doctor before starting any new workout routine.

Schedule “me” time

Photo Credit: Screenshot of Surfer from Daniel Guerra on Unsplash

Every day we should be scheduling “me” time and this should not include your workout as that is mandatory for physical health. For mental health, we should select an activity that we enjoy and want to do, but stop scrolling social media.

We need to take a break. “Me” time can be anything from journaling to facetime with a friend or family member.

Take 60 minutes out of our day to watch a favorite tv show, go for a run, or practicing meditation.

Don’t forget to also stay hydrated with plenty of water throughout the day. Self-care is essential for our mental health and keeps us going through the semester.

If at any point you are struggling emotionally throughout the semester there are campus resources available here to point you in the right direction to get back on track.

Good luck this semester, remember to take it one day at a time and check in with me on social media @MikeStarkCA on Twitter and Instagram to let me know what tips worked for you and if you have some to share with me.

Written By: Mike Stark | @MikeStarkCA

Cover Photo Credit: Computer Desk from Galymzhan Abdugalimov on Unsplash