Feeling Stressed? 8 Tips for Winding Down

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The first few weeks of the semester can be full of new adjustments and stresses. Taking time to relax and wind down is an imperative habit to develop if you want to avoid burning out.

Just like it’s important to plan time to eat and sleep, it’s also essential that you plan time to take mental breathers. Finding the right balance between your daily responsibilities and maintaining your health, both mental and physical, is a skill that must be actively developed throughout your life.  

Here are a few ideas to help you relax:

1. Take a moment to breathe!

This is a good trick to use when you’re studying in the Harold B. Lee Library or there are lots of people around. Close your eyes and take a moment to breathe. Breathe in for four seconds, hold for four seconds and breathe out for four to eight seconds. Try to keep your mind clear while you count in silence. Repeat this exercise until you feel ready to hit the books again.

If you want, look up other breathing exercises until you find one that fits you.

2. Pray

This sounds like a typical “seminary” answer, but you should never underestimate the power of prayer.

Try saying gratitude prayers. If you want, you can make a list of things, people and experiences that make you happy or have changed your life. Then practice giving thanks for those items on your list in prayer.  

Also, consider praying with a focus on receiving revelation. President Russell M. Nelson encouraged us in his message, Grow into the Principle of Revelation, “to take the necessary steps to hear the Lord better and more often so that you can receive the enlightenment He wants to give you.”

3. Learn to meditate

Find a comfortable, calm environment where you can take time to guide your thoughts to positive, happy places and experiences. Try discovering meditation exercises that work for you and combine them with breathing exercises that you’ve practiced earlier.

4. Take a screen break

It’s way too easy to slip into scrolling through TikTok or Instagram when you’re tired or stressed. Social media isn’t an effective way to calm down your mind, and taking a five-minute break from the screen never hurt anyone.  

5. Yoga

Yoga can offer some incredible mental and physical benefits, including improvements in mood and sleep. You can practice alone or in a group, and BYU Women’s Services and Resources offers free in-person yoga classes that both men and women are invited to attend.

6. Physical exercise

This can be as simple as going on a walk or creating a full-blown workout routine. How you treat your body has an effect on your mental health. Try to get into a regular habit of physical activities that you enjoy.

7. Listen to music or read

Set a timer so you don’t lose track of time, and read or listen to something that you know will have a calming effect on your mind.    

8. Sanvello

Sanvello is an app that describes itself as made for “stress, anxiety, and depression based on cognitive-behavioral therapy, mindfulness, and wellness.” Register using your BYU NetID for all of Sanvello’s premium features.

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