April is Stress Awareness Month, and I don’t know about you guys, but I am definitely aware of my stress. Research papers, projects, and exams are rolling in faster than ever before and it seems like I can’t finish one thing without getting behind on another. Not to mention the hours of sleep lost worrying about that summer internship or if that guy from last weekend is ever gonna call me back.
So what’s a girl to do? Meditate? Listen to Enya? Write in a journal? Does any of this bullsh*t actually work? Maybe it’s all the caffeine running through my system, but I can’t even sit still long enough to try (plus, Enya is just not my thing). Here are some surprising tips for stress relief better suited to our lifestyles…
When we’re stressed-out and exhausted, nookie is often the last thing on our minds. But heed my advice, grab your guy and get going! Studies show that sex improves mood, lowers blood pressure and levels of the stress hormone cortisol, and releases endorphins, meaning that the next day we are happier and much more productive. If finding a partner is a source of stress, go at it alone! Getting to orgasm sans partner still has some of the mental and physical health benefits of regular intercourse.
2. Reduce Caffeine/Alcohol Intake
Most of us rely on coffee or energy drinks to help us tackle our to-do lists, and there’s nothing like a round of cocktails (or five) to help us kick back after a long week. But unforch for me, it turns out that my bevs of choice are actually counterproductive to relieving stress! Caffeine ups levels of cortisol and messes with neurotransmitters in your brain, leading to moodiness and a crash later on. Drinking it too late in the day can affect sleep, and a lack of sleep leads to a lack of concentration. As for alcohol, one drink can relax us and help us focus, but any more than that negatively affects us. Anyone who’s ever tried to cram for a test with a nasty hangover can probably attest to this. Try sticking to a cup of green tea in the morning and one glass of wine at night during finals week, and you’ll be golden.
3. Bond with your girlfriends
It may seem counterproductive to sit around and BS with your BFFs when you should be studying, but studies show that laughter and physical contact (like hugs) are awesome ways to relieve stress. It reduces stress hormones, releases endorphins and even increases production of antibodies to keep you healthy! There’s also proof that distractions help put you back in a positive mood so you’re better able to focus when you do return to your work. So ditch that desk chair every few hours and take a break with your friends to watch a funny movie or just goof off. It’ll be worth it in the long run!