Create Your Own Calm Corner
Feeling stressed and anxious seemingly out of nowhere while at home (or the gym) (or class) (or anywhere else humans go?) It’s ok! As Dr. Ann Epstein says, "some degree of anxiety is normal and even necessary," and good coping mechanisms for stress and anxiety can help you stay healthy during turbulent times (Harvard Health Publishing, 2017).
While your Calm Corner on campus, inside the Silver student lounge, can help you alleviate your stress and stay present, you can also create your own Calm Corner at home with a few simple changes. ‘Tis true! Here are all six tips:
It can be difficult to quiet your mind when there is chaos everywhere you look– When things feel out of order, it can make us feel scattered and stressed out (Haun, Nubold & Bauer, 2018.) So, why not create a Calm Corner at home starting with a de-cluttered space? Just the gesture of organizing our space can help you calm down and set a relaxing tone in your environment.
(Yes, please!) Surround yourself with items that relax you! Maybe it’s all your fav books (as long as they are not school/work-related), throw pillows, blankets, journals, coloring books/pages, succulents, etc. Afraid of going overboard? Don’t be! This is your space, so make sure you have at least one thing you find super cozy available to you at all times in your Calm Corner. In fact, just knowing that comfort is within your reach can be comforting all on its own (Altman, 2014!)
Let’s face it: We are immersed in and surrounded by technology. Constant pings and alerts can keep you on edge and cause anxiety (Zhang, Russo & Fallon, 2015.) Let your Calm Corner breathe by keeping your screens out of it– Allow yourself time to be present, alleviate stress and practice self-care.
Tune. in. to. your. calm. with. music. Studies have shown that music produces serotonin to relieve your stress and relieve any physical pain (Osmanoglu & Yilmaz, 2019.) Specifically, slow-paced instrumental music can induce your relaxation response by helping lower your blood pressure, heart rate, and stress hormones (Osmanoglu & Yilmaz, 2019).
While all of us love smelling good smells, some scents act like nature’s anti-anxiety medication (Harada, Kanmura, Kuwaki and Kashiwadani, 2018.) Lavender, jasmine, citrus peels, pinene, and pine trees not only can help you calm down, but they can also help improve your sleep! Why not include some essential oils or organic candles in your Calm Corner next time?
Did you know that in high-stress situations, your rate of breathing is disturbed which can lead you to have an even stronger stress response (Garis, 2020?) Whenever you’re in your Calm Corner, try to slow down your movements. For example, next time you’re drinking a cup of tea in your Calm Corner, try picking up your mug a bit slower than usual, have a full inhale of the tea aroma, take a small sip, and enjoy the taste fully before you put down your mug. Where else can you slow your roll? Try talking more slowly, relax your shoulders when you are sitting and standing, and roll your neck back to ease tension. If it’s *necessary* to use electronics in your space, try typing thoughtfully (even though your thumbs know how to bust a move!) Slow and relaxed body movements help trick your brain into believing there’s nothing amiss.
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