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As another semester begins, one can quickly find themselves deep in a sea of homework, meetings, work, and other responsibilities. As important as all these tasks are to your intellectual development, it is also vital to remember that your mental health supersedes above all. Burnout is real and can make your daily routine harder than it already is, but here are some ways to prevent overloading yourself from our CAVE staff. Easy things you can do too!

Breathe Deeply
To manifest good vibes Harnek, our Weekend Wildcat intern said this is how he likes to get into his good place,“I like to shift my mindset and focus on other things that make me happy or on things related to my goals in life.” Yes, often times one of the best tools is simply deep breathing. Breathing exercises, or even just taking a few deep breaths, can reduce tension and relieve stress. All thanks to an extra boost of oxygen. Regathering yourself after taking a step back can diminish any uncertainties you might have about your workload.

Step Away From the Screen
As helpful as the internet may sound to relieve stress, more often than not it is actually a major cause of it. Close the laptop, put down the phone and live your life for five minutes. For Amanda, our Helping Hands Coordinator, she said, “I feed off of people’s energy, so being around a tight group of friends to boost me when I need it or spark a creative conversation is what keeps me off my phone ans away from my worries.” You could use that extra time to find another hobby you enjoy, or try something you've never tried but always wanted to.

Meditation is a widely accepted method of relaxation and stress minimization. Contrary to popular belief you don't need to sit cross-legged in the middle of the floor while loudly chanting “OMMMMMM” to yourself. Meditation is simply about taking a moment to quiet the mind and become aware of the present. Our Excel Coordinator, Shelby said, “I manage stress by putting my phone on silent and leaving it face down and trying to do something that allows my mind to wander. Sometimes I'll use apps to do a guided meditation, or I put on a playlist with lo-fi beats and write down all of my thoughts in my journal.” Apps such as Calm, Head Space, Insight, and Breath can help make seemingly daunting tasks a lot easier. Even a minute of this practice can make an incredibly long day that much easier to deal with.

When we help others we feel better about ourselves. When we feel better about ourselves, we feel more comfortable and in control of our lives. Tak, one of our Adopt-a-Park Group Leaders said, “I go volunteer! We move our bodies and exercise there, so it gets a way to release my stress. With my sweat, my stress is also blown away.” There are a million reasons to volunteer, but at the end of the day, volunteering is volunteering no matter who it's for!

Even if none of these stress relieving activities fit into your daily routine, there are so many other ways to relax and compose yourself. Above all, the most important thing is to make time in your day to take care of yourself. CAVE cares about our community, our volunteers, and our campus. There are resources like Safe Place, Zen Den, etc to help you feel like your goals are achievable!