How to Destress (When You Have More Work)

Destress. It’s a word that’s been thrown around a lot across my college career, yet no one seems to have a magical formula to make it unnecessary. As my workload has increased over college, I’ve found a few coping mechanisms to destress and continue working under deadlines without (totally) freaking out.

As much as I wish I could be the person who doesn’t stress over deadlines, I THRIVE off of stress. When these deadlines approach, I hit crunch time. In addition to the high of crossing things off my to-do list, I start to feel physical symptoms of stress after a few thousand minutes of sitting in the same position. After moving around, changing scenery, getting food, I still can’t shake the feeling in my shoulders like the world is weighing down. While it takes a lot more to get me to this point of stress than it did a few years ago, it’s still not very healthy over time.  Working under pressure is how I get most things done with the tools below!

1. Center your mind with Yoga

The practice of yoga is all about channeling your energy in the best way possible. My favorite yoga sequence when I need to destress is from Yoga with Adriene! She has a specific stress/anxiety sequence that automatically removes the weight of the world from my shoulders. Through focusing my breath and clearing my mind from my to do list, I feel energized to cross 1 more thing off the list. If anything, it allows me to get a few more emails done from bed.The key to getting more done after yoga is to change into your pjs, take off your makeup, and brush your teeth. The combination of this and yoga sets the tone for comfort when you go back to work. Plus, who doesn’t love really comfortable pjs when working?

2. Drink a cup of tea or a tall glass of water

When I need to destress, it’s because I forget to eat or drink. If anything, I chose a large cup of coffee over everything else. For me, this is even worse because I don’t drink caffeine. After a while, I work off nervous energy instead of relaxed energy or I feel weak because I haven’t eaten anything all day. Drinking water or a cup of tea helps me rehydrate to sustain more energy. My go-to tea is this herbal peach tea because I don’t need any sweeteners!

3. Eat some chocolate or fruit

A slight sugar rush can be a great kickstart for when you need to send 5 more emails before calling it a day. Letting yourself eat a small (midnight) snack can help hold your appetite over until breakfast so you don’t feel weak, like I mentioned above.Another great snack is a handful of trail mix. The nuts provide protein to help sustain energy while chocolate pieces feed your sweet tooth. I like to keep a resealable package of this trail mix in my bag at all times to help maintain my energy throughout the day.

4. Set a timer to do something else

When working for extended periods of time, it helps to get away from the computer to regain focus. However, if you don’t commit yourself to a deadline to return to work, nothing will get done that day (looking at you accidental Netflix marathons!).  Taking a quick lap around the neighborhood, talking to a roommate, or playing with your pet are all great ways to step away from the screen to relax your eyes and settle back into the swing of things.

5. Step away when you’ve had enough

This final step can typically be the hardest step of all. Sometimes, all you need to do is to step away from your work and understand that you’ve maxed out for the day. When you start reading the same sentence for what feels like the 500th time or loop your mind in circles, you might be better off coming back to the task later. Unless you’re under an immediate deadline, your best way to destress might be to wake up earlier and sleep it off.

Are there other ways you destress when you still have more work to do? I’d love to hear about them in the comments below!