For some of us, when the stress of daily life becomes too much, we find comfort hiking down Riley Trails, safe amongst the tall trees and fresh air. For others, we find comfort alone with a notebook and pen in hand. Still, others find comfort in a big bowl of chocolate Sleeping Bear Dunes ice cream.
It’s important for those who live a stressful life to have an escape. “Most stress doesn’t do anyone any good. People need to find a happy medium of organization and good time management that help with the daily struggles of life,” Counselor Mitchell Veldkamp said. The American Psychological Association is very clear about the harms of stress. “When stress starts interfering with your ability to live a normal life for an extended period of time, it becomes even more dangerous. The longer the stress lasts, the worse it is for both your mind and body.”
Obviously then, it is important to find different techniques to destress. WO students share their stories and personal preferences on where they go to find comfort.
For some, it’s all about the outdoors. Jr. Jared Wiseman makes a point of hiking down Riley Trails as often as possible. “I feel relaxed, in touch with myself and detached from whatever else in the world is bothering me. I personally would rather spend my time thinking and [wandering] through the woods, rather than playing video games or making unhealthy choices. I love [hiking]. It’s a chance to escape society and live in the present, noticing the beauty of nature and life.” Soph. Innesah Jerding finds peace on the back of a horse. “I feel free. Like all my worries are no more. All the stress and baggage that I carry throughout my daily life all get carried away when I ride. I think riding just genuinely gives me a break from my stress. When I ride, I indulge in the moment and enjoy it. It leaves me feeling good.”
For others, writing helps express the words they cannot seem to get out verbally. Jr. Yazmin Castillo uses her passion for writing as a daily escape. “Writing helps me [destress] because it gives me a voice. I’m a pretty quiet person, verbally I cannot express myself. I have so much to say and want to say but my anxiety prohibits me to do so. Writing gives me this power and relief to let out these thoughts and feelings. I feel free, like a weight’s off my shoulders. I feel like I have a voice, like my words actually matter. It’s an airy feeling, almost euphoric.”
Still, others find comfort eating away their feelings. Sometimes a big tub of ice cream is all we need. “If I’m ever having a bad day, or life just feels a little too chaotic at the time, I curl up on the couch with a bowl of Sleeping Bear Dunes [a caramel and chocolate ice cream], turn on an episode of Supernatural, and forget all my worries,” Sr. Katelynn Lucas said. Sr. Bri O’Dell prefers carbs over sugar. “When I’m stressed I eat carbs. I tend to go straight to Culver’s and grab fries and then [hightail] it to Little Ceasers for crazy bread.”
When stress builds, it is essential to find an outlet that provides stress release. Go for a horse ride or grab a bowl of ice cream, but find a way to relax.