This Friday, I’m sharing a few ways I’ve realized are great for taking a step back when studying for a big exam and putting everything in perspective. I don’t often “stress” about a test, but I can get bogged down in the midst of preparing and start to feel generally gloomy. Each of these things helps me to feel what I rationally know is true – that this test, right now, might be dominating the present, but it’s really just a blip in the grand scheme of life. That’s really helpful to me, a forest-through-the-trees kind of girl. Just a quick note that I left eats and exercise out of this little roundup – while long runs and rising early to greet the dawn can do wonders for the soul, and there’s nothing like a healthy helping of dessert in the form of frozen treats as comfort food, the following list focuses on other things 🙂
1. Sunshine: I’m always amazed by how much good a few rays of sunshine can do. That’s why I’ve continued my regular running and take lots of breaks to walk Sasha or just to step out onto the porch and soak it up for a few minutes. I really loved Hanna’s post about how wonderful nature is for our bodies and souls, and I think it expresses exactly how much more at peace I feel when I’m outdoors.
2. Activity: This one might seem obvious, but it always amazes me how people can sit for hours without breaking even to stretch. Staying still for that long can’t be good for our bodies or our our minds. I always feel stagnant when I sit too long and start to lose both focus on the task and hand, and the ability to put it in perspective (of course my “too long” is a lot shorter, I can’t be still without fidgeting for more than 20 minutes.) So get up and take a little stroll, or see #3…
3. Dancing to the beat: Having an impromptu solo dance party is an amazing little break. Jump up out of your chair, put on one of your favorite tunes, and shake it off for just a song or two! Of course my personal favorite for this is Taylor Swift.
4. Family and friends: Having their support is critical, and just being there makes them essential elements of your life. The only reason I didn’t put this as #1 is because it’s also good to have ways to keep yourself going during the moments when they can’t be there in person, or when you don’t want to talk their ears off about your exam YET AGAIN! Sometimes our loved ones are far away, or busy with their own schedules, and we want to savor the time we have with them and not burden it with the stress of studying. Still, they help more than they ever know, at least they have in my life. I’m lucky to have family and a few supportive friends around, and even for all the Oxford friends and really, lots of others, who have scattered about the country and the globe, one thing I do appreciate about modern technology is that it enables keeping in touch (I just happen to dislike that it disconnects people who are actually close but staring at their phones!) Last weekend when I was alone for a few days with Sasha, I made sure to set up Skype dates with friends for each day so that I would have a good catch up and conversation to look forward to, and it made a big difference. And I can’t overlook Sasha…after all, happiness is a warm puppy!
5. Starlight: Not only is this one of my all-time favorite Taylor Swift songs, it’s my remedy for when evening comes and I still can’t shake that stuffy feeling. Stepping outside to look up at the stars twinkling in the night sky, everything else just falls away for a moment, and seems so small in comparison to the magic up there. Sometimes I even close my eyes and make a wish.
What are your favorite ways to relax and put it all in perspective?
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