Lifestyle, Mental Health

How to De-stress When the World is a Mess

How to Destress - Neon sign sitting on a wall covered in greenery that says "And Breathe"

Photo by Max van den Oetelaar on Unsplash

With COVID rates not improving and withstanding civil unrest, it’s been hard to think about anything else. These are stressful times. Now is the time to prioritize your mental health and learn how to de-stress effectively.

I’ve been finding an escape in several different ways, whether through creating, writing, or exercise. Most days, I’m feeling a little overwhelmed by how much sadness and hate is in our society, that I NEED that escape! Here are a few ways that help me de-stress that might help you!

1) Meditate

Meditation is a beautiful way to relax and connect with your body! Not only does it help you maintain a bright, stress-free mind, but meditation can aid you in using that clarity to develop your goals. Whether your ends are self-acceptance or spiritual connection, meditation is the way to go!

In 2019, I began meditating using a 30-day challenge I found on YouTube. And, yes, I finished all 30 days! For less than 30 minutes a day, I was able to relax and recuperate my mind effortlessly!

How to De-stress - Neon sign in front of a blue island landscape that says "Sweet escape"

Photo by Yuiizaa September on Unsplash

2) Escape to Another World

Escaping to another world through entertainment or reading, or writing is a brilliant way to give yourself a break from real life. Sometimes my happy place lies in the worlds of A Song of Ice and Fire, Adventure Time, or Sailor Moon. Other times, writing my own stories is my form of escapism. It’s nice when I can sit back and relax and only worry about the next big thing happening in the world I create.

Since a real-life venture isn’t feasible right now because of the pandemic, I enjoy watching or reading things with complex lore to feel a sense of adventure! I’ve found that it helps me immerse myself into the characters and story more, which takes away from the mundanity of everyday quarantine life.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with taking a break and immersing yourself in things but make sure you return to reality!

3) Go for a Walk or a Run

Being stuck inside all day is so not it. For me, I feel groggy, bored, and uninspired staying in my apartment for long periods. Some days I need a walk around the neighborhood to clear my mind and think.

The sweet chirping of the birds and the sunlight beaming down on me makes me feel so relieved! Of course, it’s a little gloomier outside with winter here, so I don’t get out for my daily walks as much as I used to. I’m counting down the days till’ summer when I can go on hikes at the local reserves without freezing.

4) Exercise 

If you can’t make it outside, exercising indoors is the next best thing. Four days out of the week, I get up early before work or the start of my day for a little at-home workout. Now, I’m no personal trainer, so I don’t plan my exercises, but I do follow YouTube fitness videos. 

Some of my favorite workouts are aerobics and kickboxing! Yes, kickboxing! Although I struggle when I’m doing it, I feel so great afterward (thanks, endorphins). Exercising is a terrific way to reduce stress, and your body will thank you for it. Also, I feel exercising in the morning sets me up to make healthier food choices throughout the day, resulting in a mood boost.

5) Take a Break

It is always a good time to unplug and take a break from social media and the news. It seems like most days I’m doom scrolling so much that I lose sight of anything good left in the world. 

My job is working on social media 24/7, so it’s a bit challenging to take a break, but when I’m in my free time, I try to unplug as much as I can. If you’re feeling overwhelmed by the news, please give yourself as long a break as you need!

6) Focus on You

Focusing on the self may be my #1 on how to de-stress! Last year was rough and unsatisfying. I found myself neglecting to work on my personal growth. My negligent attitude was due to a multitude of stressful triggers. Fortunately, this year I can face my downfalls of last year and set goals for myself for 2021 and beyond.

My first step in putting more focus into myself was by creating a mood board. For those of you who don’t know, a mood board is a visual collage of images or concepts that can help you visualize your goals. Creating the board made me feel less anxious because I now have a clear, tangible plan of what I want my life to be. Further, visualizing my goals unraveled my jumbled thoughts, allowing me to maintain a concentrated mind.

7) Have a Zoom Meetup with the Homies

Considering the distance between us and the worldwide pandemic afoot, I have not seen my friends IRL in a long time. I feel fortunate that we can hop on Zoom and catch up (thanks, technology). Since we’re all adults now, it can be even harder to communicate regularly with everyone having jobs and such, but those Zoom meetings bring me the inner peace that I need.

Usually, we play Among Us or other games that everyone can join virtually. It brings me back to when we were in college, and we’d all meet up for a squad sleepover and play games and watch movies and confide in each other. Good times!

How to De-stress - Neon sign on a black wall that says "Do what you love"

Photo by Riz Mooney on Unsplash

8) Find a Creative Outlet

Without creativity, how would the world be? Having a creative outlet is freeing and gives you the ability to immerse yourself into something all your own entirely.

My outlets include painting, writing, and photography, but your outlets could be something completely different. Maybe you love making beautiful plates of food or screenplay writing or singing. Whatever your creative thing is, investing time into it is a positive way to de-stress.

9) Rest and Recuperate

Like myself, you may feel overwhelmingly unproductive when you are not actively working on a project. In turn, this lacking feeling makes you feel anxious and worried. It’s more common than you think.

Although you may feel this way sometimes, you need to take some days off to relax and recuperate. There is absolutely nothing wrong with resting for a weekend instead of working on your next big project. Take that break, take a walk, do whatever eases your mind. If your hobby is making you feel burnt out and tired, it’s time to schedule some time to rest. Then in a day or two, you can get back to work.

How do you de-stress, especially considering all the craziness going on? Tell me in the comments!

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