Awareness of physical space key to relaxing headspace


GVL / Sheila Babbitt

Maddie Zimmerman, Columnist

A lot of the time, I find myself using social media during what I call my “break from schoolwork,” often starts when I’m not even 10 minutes into doing homework. But I’m here to tell you that watching the 30th comedy TikTok isn’t really relaxing from the stressors from everyday life. 

Although it may seem like it’s impossible to put your phone down when you want to relax, I promise you, it’s possible. 

Putting down your phone and putting it on silent is the best way to start. This way, you don’t have any pesky notifications or your mom telling you about the 10th Laker event she saw on Grand Valley’s Instagram. Notifications, social media and even texts can be very overwhelming whether you realize it or not. Once you set down your phone, you are a step closer to becoming overall more relaxed. 

Second is finding a good environment. If you’re in a noisy area, sometimes it’s harder to feel like you can wind down. For me, I like just to curl up in bed with a bunch of blankets and watch The 100 (a great show, by the way). 

If you only have a few minutes between classes or are out and about and have a little bit but can’t be in bed to relax, you can walk around and take a break in nature. Nature is a great place to destress and also see some beautiful views. You can go on a walk on a trail, sit down and eat lunch on a picnic table at a nature park, go to the beach. 

Unfortunately for us Midwesterners, we’re not so fortunate with the nice winter weather. Instead, you can sit and look out a window to see the views if it’s not so nice outside. 

Another thing that tends to block the feeling of being fully relaxed is working from home. When your workplace is your house, it can be challenging to differentiate between what time should be used strictly for work or just to take a break. 

Due to COVID-19, my mom was forced to work from home. At first, she hated it; she didn’t really have a set schedule, she missed her coworkers and just missed waking up and getting ready for work. 

Now, almost a year later, she absolutely loves it. She doesn’t want to go back to her office. Her biggest tip is to “make the most out of it.” 

If you need a break, try to go to a different part of your house or apartment to detox from the stress of work. If you try to relax behind your computer desk, your mind won’t be able to focus on taking a break from work. You will just think about what you should be catching up on instead. 

This is basically the equivalent of doing homework in bed. You might have good intentions and I know it’s comfortable, but you associate your bed with sleeping. Your brain will eventually take over and convince you to lay down instead of finishing your complicated biology homework. 

Find a spot to relax that is separate from your work. Separate spots equal separate thoughts. 

Out of all the tips I gave on how to relax, the ultimate one is to take a deep breath. I know I sound like a quote that my mom has on a sign hanging in our living room, but it does help. 

You have time to relax. You need to relax in order to be able to work. You deserve it.