De-stress with me!
To say it is a busy time of the year would be an understatement. With it almost being December and 2021 coming to a close, a lot of us are feeling the pressure! Whether you are in school and cramming for exams, trying to finish projects and meet goals for work, or are focused on shopping and spending quality time with friends and family ahead of the Holiday season.
Our calendars are busy and this can foster a stressful environment. And on top of all these stressors, it gets dark at 5pm, making it that much harder to face everything with a smile on your face.
Luckily for you and I, our Youth Advisory Board at Lead Thru Sport are wise beyond their years! We asked students in elementary, high school and post secondary institutions to share some coping strategies during this time of year. Take a read and hopefully you learn one new way to bring yourself some peace of mind.
A theme across the board from these brilliant minds was to bundle up, grab your hats and mitts and explore the great outdoors! Whether you are walking your dog, or yourself, take a step outside and appreciate nature. Breathing in the brisk morning air as the sunrises, or staring at freshly fallen snow are both serenity inducers.
If you are reading this you are most likely no stranger to enjoying exercise as a way to clear your head. Regardless of which format you choose, exercise reduces levels of stress hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol! PLUS … it makes more of the mood enhancers that are called endorphins. Whether it's a workout, playing a sport you love, running, stretching or taking a quick dance break. Move your body to destress!
Do- re- mi - fa- sol- la- ti- do
Okay so maybe singing isn’t for all of us and the sound of our own voices is more cringe worthy than stress relieving. But, listening to music can be a soothing activity in itself, specifically slower tempo tunes. Rain and thunder sounds are relaxing, along with light jazz, classical and easy listening music. But truly, this depends on the individual, so explore for yourself and see what genres create a sense of calm for you. On another note, no pun intended, grab a ukulele, guitar, flute or sit down on a piano bench and create your own music.
Pen to Paper!
Over the past year I have developed a love and appreciation for writing. When I am stressed and overwhelmed, or simply have too many thoughts in my head, putting a pen to paper often relieves this for me. Sometimes I create a schedule, set daily goals or make a list and check items off one by one as they get completed. I am overcome with a sense of accomplishment and the reassurance that I can get all my tasks done in time. Other activities like journaling or colouring can also help destress and allow us to be creative!
I am probably stating the obvious but relaxing with some self care should not go unmentioned. Taking time for yourself, enjoying aromatherapy, a warm bath or practicing breathing exercises through meditation are all ways we can recharge the batteries. If you are anything like me, meditation can be difficult. Turning off thoughts and avoiding distractions for even only minutes sometimes feels impossible. But if you can be patient, meditation allows us to handle stressors more effectively. It teaches us to become the observers of certain mental patterns, and, therefore, become less affected by them. Headspace is an app that you can leverage if you are interested in exploring meditation!
Lean on Others
And last, my favourite suggestion, is that you never have to handle a stressful time by yourself. Lean on others! See friends. Go out and explore your neighbourhood together, try new foods, watch a movie, talk to them about how you are feeling. Voicing and naming that we feel stressed can help us acknowledge and move beyond these feelings. Another amazing resource I have leaned on is speaking with a counsellor. Whatever works for you, just know you are never alone.
I hope you are able to take at least one activity away from today’s article and that during any stressful time you are experiencing this makes things even slightly easier.
A big thank you to our Youth Advisory Board for all the suggestions on how to destress!
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