1. Think about a situation you recently confronted — a falling out with a friend, an ethical dilemma (read: deciding whether or not to return that dress you only wore once and already know you will never wear again), or a to-do in your romantic life. Think about how you would’ve handled that same situation if it had occurred a year ago, and realize how much you’ve grown emotionally since then. Sometimes, introspection can provide much-needed perspective.
2. Take a break from the pressing tasks at hand, and call or Skype a friend you haven’t talked to in a while. Otherwise, it becomes too easy to lose track of what’s important to you if it isn’t right in front of you — without urgent deadlines and daunting 12-point Times New Roman font.
3. Lie down with your laptop and play one of those thirty-minute long sleep hypnosis videos on YouTube. The idea of hypnotizing yourself to sleep sounds strange, I know, and I was incredulous when my friend first recommended doing this. But, these videos will knock you out like that — even though some greasy guy named Bob, who is hardly knowledgeable, probably made them in his basement minutes after leveling up on World of Warcraft. You’ll fall into a relaxing deep sleep and wake up feeling more refreshed than you could’ve anticipated.
4. Breathe and remind yourself that what matters now will cease to matter ten, five, or even one year from now. That less-than-perfect exam grade you just received? It won’t alter the course of your life. That boy you found out was seeing three other people at the same time as you? You won’t even remember his name in a few months. Okay, maybe that’s a stretch — but he will definitely become only a background player in your life.
5. Download 2048 on your phone at the behest of your friend who is a borderline 2048 addict. Play 22 games in succession. By the time you manage to beat it, you will have forgotten all about the stressors in your life. Kind of.
6. Instead of dwelling on the past or fretting about the future, learn to enjoy experiencing “right now.” What’s done is done, and you can’t control what hasn’t yet happened. Instead, it’s more important that you’re having fun in the present moment — especially if you have the Instagram photos to prove it.
7. Turn off your phone and go a whole day mobile-free. If you can make it, you’ll see how refreshing it is to remove yourself from the barrage of constant texts, emails, social media updates, etc. — most of which are ultimately meaningless.
8. Close the blinds in your bedroom and crawl into bed with a freshly loaded Netflix queue and a full pint of Ben and Jerry’s. Demolish the entire container. Accidentally — ha, who are you kidding? — watch an entire season of Dexter in one sitting. Occasionally turning off your mind from the everyday chaos can be necessary.
9. Take a long shower. Sing a song or two. Fantasize about meeting Zach Braff.* Contemplate existence.
*Don’t scrub too hard.
10. Place a pillow on the floor. Lie down, mash your face into it, and beat your fists against the floor while kicking your heels. Some people might try to convince you that you outgrew temper tantrums around the same time you learned how to go to the potty on your own. But, throwing a good ole fashioned temper tantrum when the circumstances call for it can help relieve stress or frustration more than few other things can.