Columnist Sarah Poyer discusses the benefits of relaxing and how to do so as a college student. 

Editor's Note: This piece is a part of the series "Let's talk."

I think our society glamorizes being stressed and grinding all the time. But in reality, is that the healthiest scenario we could be giving ourselves? I know that I like to fill my time up with many things, so I feel like I am getting the true college experience. But that leaves me not sleeping as much as I need or not prioritizing myself as much as I should. 

Now don't get me wrong, college classes, your friends, clubs, extracurricular activities and your grades are important. But you are the most important piece in that whole puzzle. If you are not taken care of and able to be your best self, then how can those other things line up and matter? If you, yourself, are not given the time to relax and recharge, there is no way that you will be able to do everything you need to do.  

But as I said earlier, our society glamorizes stress and grinding all the time. So just how are you supposed to relax and give yourself time to recharge? I found the internet was full of lovely lists that seem to have some beautiful intent behind them. But, I think we have all heard them before, so I dug deeper to find other suggestions for all of us to learn from. 

  1. Naps 

Sleep is so important. Your brain does some pretty cool stuff while you are sleeping. You also deserve the relaxation that sleep brings you. Your body and brain need sleep, so giving yourself time to just shut down and relax is really important. No matter the length of the nap, it is important. A short catnap or a longer hibernation will both be beneficial in your attempt to reduce some stress and hopefully find some inner peace. 

  1. Meditation 

Meditation is a great way to allow your body and mind to relax. There is a lot of scientific research to prove that meditation is not only beneficial for relaxation but for health benefits as well! I have found some really nice apps that I have been able to use for meditation quickly in the rush I have in my morning and evening routines. Giving yourself even 15 minutes to meditate and encourage some relaxation in both mind and body would not be a bad addition to your daily routine. 

  1. Empty your brain 

Sometimes it feels like my brain gets overwhelmed with all of the thoughts I have and the information I am receiving constantly throughout the day. Some days emptying my brain consists of me grabbing my journal and just writing down everything I can think of until my brain feels less heavy. Other days, my best friend and I have rant sessions with each other where we just say everything that is weighing our brains down. Both are great ways to reduce the heaviness that sometimes builds up in your brain. So, when you have a few spare minutes, grab your journal and start writing or check in with a friend and see if you two can talk. 

  1. Clean 

Sometimes the space I am in being untidy causes me more stress. Spending a few minutes decluttering whatever space you are in may help you relax a bit. I normally take that time to fill up my water bottle, throw away scratch paper, grab some gum and check items off my to-do list as well. Cleaning up your space is a simple yet really effective way to help lower your stress levels and create some more relaxation in your life. 

Now this list I gave you is clearly not exhaustive. There are many other things you could be doing to help promote relaxation in your life. A quick Google search can give you some more ideas to try out. Otherwise, the websites linked above have more ideas I did not include in my column, so maybe try some of those out! I would love to hear your relaxation tips; you can send them my way! 

Give yourself some grace. College is stressful in itself, let alone tackling college during a pandemic. Giving yourself time to promote some relaxation and hopefully create some ease in your life is necessary. Grinding all the time is not as glamorous as it seems and will eventually run you into the ground. Step back and give yourself some time to recharge, relax and rejuvenate.

Sarah Poyer profile pic

Columnist Sarah Poyer is a junior in women's and gender studies and journalism with a minor in biology. 

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