10 ways to de-stress

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1. Prioritize
Usually when we get stressed it's because we feel unorganized and bombarded with work, school, and/or mandatory events. A great way to feel organized and in charge again is by making a list of what needs to be done, starting with the most urgent task and ending with the least. Being able to see the tasks in front of our eyes helps us to literally look at the big picture. Also,with every task we cross off the list we feel empowered and productive.

2. Exercise
If you are feeling tension from stress then the rest of your body will tense up as well. Soothe and relax your muscles with a workout (even just 10 minutes) and you will immediately feel your mental stress decrease as well as your physical stress. My favorite way to de-stress is by practicing yoga because, after practicing, I feel agile, replenished, and ready to begin my day again.

3. Choose healthy foods
When we are stressed, our bodies take a good amount of damage; nutrients are lost as we tend to turn to convenient foods. Even a plant-strong diet can have not-so-healthy food options like sugary drinks, over-processed packaged snack bars, and ice cream (vegan or otherwise). Make the best out of your diet by choosing clean meals and snacks that are brimming with minimally-processed foods (think lots of produce) and have decent amounts of fiber. Knowing which foods are healthier for us will keep us running in top condition even in tough times.

4. Treat yourself
Sometimes when we get bombarded with mandatory events and dates we tend to forget about taking care of ourselves; in this case, I'm talking about hygiene. A good, warm shower or bath always seems to do the trick and wash away all of our stresses. If you're the eco-friendly type, even a quick warm shower will do (trust me, I would know!). After washing up, scan yourself from head to toe; clip your nails, slather on some body lotion, comb in a leave-in conditioner... whatever needs to be done to make yourself feel like you've shed your old skin and you're starting over with a clean slate.

5. Read a good book
It could be anything; a novel, a spiritual text, a college textbook, poetry, even a cookbook! When we read, we usually have no visual aids as to what we are reading. In other words, reading allows our imagination to grow and we become more creative than before (this is the beauty of texts that do not have pictures). So pick up a good read and free your imagination.

6. Talk it out
Get together with the people who care about and listen to you. When you're with them, vent out whatever pent up feelings you have inside. Acknowledge what's been bothering you and let it be known to those closest to you. Chances are they'll know a way to help you out.

7. Know your control
It's very common for most of us to get stressed over things we cannot control. Knowing exactly what we can control takes a tremendous weight off our shoulders. For instance, I can control my study time and how much I understand a certain class but I certainly cannot control what grade my instructor gives me. In other words, don't worry about things that are not in your hands.

8. Never compare
Personally, I am not very sharp on this one but I know it to be true that comparing yourself to others is never a good thing. First off, it's unnecessary because there truly is no good reason to compare yourself with anyone or anything. Secondly, it causes stress if you do compare yourself! This tip goes hand-in-hand with the previous one (#7) because we can control how we feel about ourselves. So before you mix yourself in with a negative thought, focus on the positive aspects of yourself (like how far you've gotten in learning an instrument or how great your hair looks) and soon enough you'll feel confident in your own skin.

9. Laugh!
You know what they say is true: laughter is the best medicine. Watch a comedy with the ones you love, have a tickle fight with a friend, play with your pet(s), recall a humorous memory... whatever it is that makes you laugh and forget about stress.

10. Always do what you love
Even amidst stress and tight schedules, we must always find a way to fit in whatever it is that we love to do most given it's a positive thing like working out, spending time with a best friend, or even playing video games. Even the usual, not-so-good things like indulging in a rich dessert or oversleeping can give us a sense of wellbeing and happiness. Retouching on the first tip, keep priority in mind and you will always be able to find a way to squeeze in time for yourself.

Joanna Tenderro | Blog | Twitter | Facebook | Google+
San Diego, CA Born and raised in San Diego, CA, Joanna has been vegan since mid-2010 and is passionate about nutrition, animal rights, eco-friendly living, and yoga. She's studying to major in the field of nutrition to counsel and educate those around her about living and eating healthy... the vegan way.

Photo credit:cc:flickr.com/photos/philippelemoine

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