With all the AP Tests, SAT preparation, the end of a school year, and graduation for seniors, May is a busy month for students. We are surrounded with piles of things to do without the time or space for a proper break. What we need in times like these is to relax. For most people, the word “relax” brings to mind a peaceful beach with the sound of waves crashing and the touch of the warm sun. This may make relaxation seem like something too extravagant to accomplish within a short time, but that is not the case. There are many ways to relieve stress by incorporating relaxation methods that take less than 10 minutes at a time.
The first method of easy relaxation is meditation. Though meditation is one of the most famous methods of relaxation, many people think of it as being ineffective or “uncool”. However, it is incredibly simple to do and also very beneficial for your mind’s health. Meditation allows you to focus on yourself and nothing else. An easy way to start meditation is to listen to the way you breathe and to empty the negative thoughts in your mind. Look forward to it as the part of the day when you can forget about all the worries and stress you have and let go. If you think meditating on your own is too challenging, there are plenty of guided meditations on Youtube and apps to help novices learn the practice. Some examples are Insight Timer, Aura, Omvana, and Calm. Even with the help of technology, you will not be able to see the benefits if you do not meditate consistently. By incorporating it into your daily routine, whether it be for 5 minutes or an hour a day, you will be able to see a distinctly positive change in your mentality.
Another non-time-consuming method for a healthier mindset is simply moving around. Being active gets your endorphins flowing, which reduces your perception of pain and thus relieves your stress. If running is not your cup of tea, do some simple yoga poses. One of the biggest benefits of yoga is its effect of allowing deeper sleep. With the help of yoga, your body can relax better, and your 2 hours of sleep can feel like 12.
If both of these activities are too much of a physical burden to you, try a stress ball. Stress balls are actually very useful when trying to relax. The action of squeezing and releasing the ball can help relieve the built up stress in your body. On top of that, it can easily be made at home with 3 ingredients: a balloon, cornstarch and water. Go for a short run, rock the downward-dog pose, make your own stress ball; anything to get yourself out of that stiff desk chair will naturally result in relaxation.
Other than the methods previously mentioned, there are some even shorter ways to relax. Try the Gratitude Journal and log a short and sweet entry to think of the positive things that happened in your day. Buy yourself a little notebook and get into the habit of writing at least three things you are grateful for everyday. Once this becomes part of your daily routine, you will be more used to thinking of the positive things than the negative things that are happening to you. Other than this, you could light a candle, have a cup of tea, solve a puzzle, or play your favorite song. All of these things can provide a small but hydrating oasis in your draining everyday life.
Feeling relaxed doesn’t mean you have to plan a spontaneous getaway to Hawaii. It can be done in your very own bedroom. We all have the same timeframe of 4 years to reach a relatively similar destinations of attending a prestigious school to get a well paying job, so what need is there to sprint? Take things slowly. Breathe, look around and enjoy all of the small things in your life. There is no such thing as “no time to relax”. A few small adjustments and additions to your daily routine can help you become a brighter and more relaxed person. But remember, the key to relaxation is consistency. Just because you meditate once doesn’t mean you will be suddenly enlightened. You need to get used to the sensation of relieving stress so that eventually, you can’t live without it. Relaxation is vital to a healthier and happier life and it can be done by anyone, and you can do it too.