Monday, December 10, 2012

Tis the season…

…to be stressed out. With only two full weeks left before christmas, and for most of us a week of finals before then, some of us may be feeling quite stressed. I know I am certainly feeling the strain of the season. And it is perfectly normal, I mean we have to find presents for all of our loved ones, find the money to buy said presents, go out into the cold, find ugly sweaters to wear, bake an unnecessary amount, go to holiday parties (which means interacting with people, which is a completely different level of stress), we gain weight from relentless party going and so must also find ways to get some exercise and find our stretchy pants, then for those of us still in school we have to cram in all that makeup homework we did not want to do earlier, study, study, and study, and then finally attempt to ace our finals. I would say that we all deserve a break (which is coming soon, just hold on!). But I am here to tell you that you do not need to wait two weeks to take that well deserved break. You can do it right now. Of course, you cannot take a full blown vacation break where you sleep for three days straight and then jump on a plane for Hawaii. I mean, a short mini respite right now.  I would like to share with all of you my great stress relieving tips.

Paint your nails. I often find that while studying for a test, my mind gets so befuddled and confused that I just cannot focus any more. So, I paint my nails. This allows you to focus on one thing for a couple of minutes and takes your mind off of the test. My dad also says that you inhale toxic fumes, which I bet help clear your mind too, just maybe not in a good way—so make sure to open up a window while doing so. By painting your nails you are doing something for yourself and it makes you feel pretty, and feeling pretty will make you fell happy (unless you don't like beautiful things) and therefore you will be able to return to your studying in a joyful manner.

Bake Something Yummy and easy. During this fine time of year, I often come home from school and before throwing myself into homework, I will do a small baking project. This gives me a nice break between school and more school (just at home…) and also really gets me into the holiday spirit. I then get excited about the holidays and all that they entail and so I am more motivated to power through. But I don't do anything too complicated because that just stresses me out more (like candy, don't make candy when distracted or stressed). Here is the recipe to my amazing short bread cookies.

1 c. butter (1/2 lb)
2 c. flour
1/2 c. powdered sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
a little bit of water

mix until very smooth. Then roll out and cut into pretty shapes (like christmas trees, bells, or hearts).  Place on a cookie sheet and bake at 325°F for about 5-7 minutes, or until they are slightly golden. Then eat 1 or 2 (or 5, it is the holidays, enjoy yourself!) and then pack them up and take them to your friends at school or work tomorrow.

Exercise for 20-30 minutes "Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy. Happy people just don't shoot their husbands, they just don't. " Well maybe you weren't going to kill anyone, but exercising will make you happy and put you in a better mood to attack the pile of work you have to do. Also, it gives you a chance to work off some of those short bread cookies. Here is what I like to do in between homework sets:

1 minute jumping jacks
1 minute high knees
5 minute abs (1 minute each of: crunches, side crunches, straight leg crunches, obliques, and roll ups)
5 minute butt (1 minute each of: donkey kicks left, donkey kicks right, hip bridge, leg extensions, froggy flute lifts)
5 minutes arms (30 seconds each arm of: bicep curls, trice extension, overhead press and 1 minute of: trice dips and half push-ups)
1 minute jumping jacks
1 minute mountain climbers
1 minute or more stretching

Plan out your outfit for tomorrow I don't know about you, but clothes always calm me down. I take 15 minutes every night to plan out what I will wear the next day. It gives you a chance to take a break from stress and feel very put together (which always helps in these busy times). Then, tomorrow, you will look put together even though you might have just rolled out of bed! Here are some of my favorite winter time outfits and clothing pieces (stolen from Pinterest because I haven't had time to take my own pictures recently):
sorrels are amazing. I practically wore this today, too bad it won't snow

I really want this for holiday parties…
I hope you take my advice and take a little break from stress and take care of yourself. Just remember, this is supposed to be a time of joy and peace, not a time of stress and freak outs.

Go forth my young grass hoppers

Here is a quote from my favorite christmas book to remind you what christmas time is about:

“There are many things from which I might have derived good, by which I have not profited, I dare say,' returned the nephew. 'Christmas among the rest. But I am sure I have always thought of Christmas time, when it has come round -apart from the veneration due to its sacred name and origin, if anything belonging to it can be apart from that- as a good time; a kind, forgiving, charitable, pleasant time; the only time I know of, in the long calendar of the year, when men and women seem by one consent to open their shut-up hearts freely, and to think of people below them as if they really were fellow-passengers to the grave, and not another race of creatures bound on other journeys. And therefore, uncle, though it has never put a scrap of gold or silver in my pocket, I believe that it has done me good, and will do me good; and I say, God bless it!”