Happy first day of June!
With the last week of school and finals quickly approaching, things have been getting pretty stressful. Finish this, write that, turn in something else – it’s hard to keep up with everything and sometimes I can only think of giving up. Yeah, that sounds a bit discouraging and depressing, but I think we’ve all been there at one point or another.
I found my solution to stress in exercising. Please don’t roll your eyes yet. Quite ironically and conveniently, I have a job at a gym, so last week I decided to get myself together and try working out. The main reason for that was my health – I’ll be honest and say that I’ve been battling acne for the last 6-7 years, there are some other issues that have popped up recently and I myself am feeling pretty chumpy (thanks, stress eating!).
On the first day, like an average beginner trying to look like I know what I’m doing, I headed straight for the treadmill, so I could look over the machines and see what others are doing. Earphones popped in, Netflix turned on….and the next thing I know is I’ve been jogging for 30 minutes! Was that even real? I am probably the least athletic person in my circle of friends and in high school wasn’t even able to run a mile in less than 10 minutes. This 30 minute jog seems like the optimal workout for me right now. But as a substitute for that on my lazy days, I just do a brisk walk for 30-40 minutes as it still makes me feel better about myself :)
There are a few ways how it’s been helping me manage my stress level:
Any distraction from homework and assignments is welcomed in my head at this point in the year. Driving to the gym for 10 minutes and then spending about 40 there gives me a good hour or free thinking period where I can focus on my future abs of steel and forget about school.
2. Catch Up On The Shows
I think the last time I’ve sat down and watched an episode of something on my own was more than two months ago – I just feel so guilty wasting time that way when I could be doing homework. Jogging or even fast walking on the treadmill for the duration of an episode of Gilmore Girls or Parks and Rec completely justifies my watching TV instead of listening to lectures.
3. Acne and Hydration
Yep, I’m in the same boat. My doc (bless her heart!) told me that my problems are coming from the inside – something weird is disrupting my levels of hormones or something and it all comes out in the form of acne. Gross, I know, but it is what it is and I’m sure I’m not alone out there. Over the last few days my face has really improved, and I can totally feel the difference. So that’s a nice bonus.
In terms of hydration, I always had a problem with just drinking plain water 24/7 to stay hydrated. Now every night I drink a bit before the gym (right on my way there!) and then finish the bottle afterwards on my way back home. Hydration improves a ton of things like skin and metabolism, but the results will take a bit longer to show.
Several times now I’ve noticed that even after sleeping for a mere 5-6 hours a night, I’ve been getting surprisingly energetic after the workouts. I come home around 10:30 or 11 and am still able to stay up till past midnight, whereas before I crashed at around 10. So I am enjoying this inflow of endorphins, yes.
5. Feeling Better About Myself
Body image has never been a huge problem for me, except when it came up in the last few months. So even a brisk walk or a light jog makes me feel so much better about myself, like I actually did something for my health and body today. That and my muscles are a bit sore so I already feel like Arnold Schwarzenegger when I lift a bag or something like that. And just in general, I feel like I’ve been in a much better mood!
What do you do to manage your stress levels? Check out some of these helpful articles on Exercising: