February 25, 2024

Tips to relieve stress as the holidays near

Holidays are quickly approaching. With

the season comes struggles, from finding the

right present for your sister to keeping the

peace during the political debate holiday

known as Thanksgiving.

The stress of family life comes when days

are shorter and nights are longer. The winter,

especially in valleys such as ours, can have a

big impact on mental health. We can’t absorb

as much vitamin D, which has a bigger impact

than some may realize.

The Utah State University Eastern campus

has counseling and student support groups to

help out during this difficult time. Our school

has four counselors, all trained to help find

the right therapist for your needs.

The student support group provides the

opportunity to talk and share experiences

with people going through similar things. The

support of people our age can be crucial; it

can help you to make some friends on campus.

It can be very difficult to find a group of

people to call friends. But the support group

offers the perfect opportunity to create those


Sometimes, we just can’t make it to either.

Maybe the support group is at an inconvenient

time, or schedules are too full for therapy.

Some of us are too uncomfortable to take the

brave step to attend group, or even to have

a one on one with a professional who is a

stranger. In that case, there are ways to cope

with stress, anxiety, depression, etc. from the

comfort of the dorm.

We’ve heard these things bunches of times:

Distance yourself from the stress. Eat a wellbalanced

diet, exercise, get good sleep. But a

well-balanced diet may be the last thing on

your mind when the world feels like its crashing

in on itself. And, good sleep requires not

being stressed, and yet, not sleeping causes

stress and the cycle continues.

A good practice is meditation. Don’t scoff

at the idea because of your preconceived notion

of meditation. It comes in many forms.

There is the type you see all over TV screens,

of course, the kind when a lady with a nice

voice guides breathing exercises. Others have

you listen to fancy music. But meditation can

be as simple as playing your favorite album,

of any type of music, and just thinking. Lay

on your bed, sit on the floor, turn the album

all the way up and just close your eyes. Lose

yourself in the music, clear your brain of all

your distractions. Not only does this help you

destress, it can help you to fall asleep.

Another popular stress reliever is writing

— also known as journaling. It sounds

weird, maybe stupid. But writing down your

thoughts just as they come to your head, no

filter at all, is an amazing way to get all your

feelings sorted out.

Maybe your parents yelled at you for not

doing well in school, maybe you didn’t get

back to them as soon as they wanted. Everyone’s

first reaction is to get defensive and fight

back. After the worst has passed, take out a

journal or any piece of paper and write down

everything. If you want, throw it away when

you’re finished. Keeping it is not important.

Getting thoughts out can lead to a healthier

conversation in the future.

A similar form of expression is art. Painting,

drawing, whatever it may be. Go somewhere

private and draw out your feelings.

Maybe it looks like nothing later, just a bunch

of colors splattered on a page. But drawing

anything you want free of judgement can relieve

stress in and of itself. Taking the time to

get your feelings out, whether through writing

or drawing, helps get poisonous thoughts out

and no longer stuck in your brain.

Try something as simple as taking a bath. A

bath bomb you’ve been saving, or put essential

oils or soaps that smell nice. Set up a bath tray,

watch a movie. And just relax. It resets your

brain and takes away the edge. Play a game.

Take the time to do something for yourself

for no reason except to relax.

Take time for yourself. Just for you. That

may be therapy, or group, or sleeping in. Take

the time and your smile will be a little brighter.