Adventures in stress reduction

October 20, 2016 — by Saya Sivaram

Senior Saya Sivaram explains the ways in which she reduces her stress levels.

It’s my senior year — the year of parties and slacking off and relaxation.

Ha. What a joke.

In point of fact, it’s the year of college apps and stress and AP Language Composition, and sometimes I feel as if I’m dying a slow, painful death.

I’ve suddenly been thrust into a world of responsibilities and deadlines. My entire life is defined by a Google spreadsheet that lists out all of the colleges I’m trying desperately to get into.

So, naturally, as one does in situations such as these, I spent the first three weeks of school in panic mode. I had a higher blood pressure than 80-year-old my grandma’s and my palms started to feel perpetually clammy. I knew I had to do something in order to combat this awful college anxiety that had overtaken me, so I turned to BuzzFeed for suggestions.

Strategy No. 1: Create a clean and cheerful living space.

That seemed easy enough. I cleaned my room and hung inspirational quotes on the walls. Using Pinterest as my main inspiration, I made a DIY necklace holder that ended up looking more like a toilet paper roll with hot glue on it than the elegant oak tree that was pictured online.

It didn’t work. I was still stressed out, and I had hot glue burns all over my fingers.

Strategy No. 2: Make a color-coded list of all of your to-do’s.

I’m not going to lie — it seemed fairly stupid, but I was desperate enough to try. I got myself a stack of beautiful, embossed card stock and invested in a plethora of rainbow colored pens. I thought that this might actually be successful, but then I actually tried it.

My to-do list for one day took up half the stack of paper, and seeing the giant list of responsibilities was more stressful than anything. I wrote “to-do list” on my to-do list and crossed it out, and that was that.

Strategy No. 3: Try to exercise.

This was my last resort. I generally hate any type of physical exertion, but I realized that I had no other option.

I went to my mother first — she’s the queen of workouts and could probably bench press me — and we decided that the best course of action would be for me to try yoga. I joined Yoga Source Studio in Los Gatos and picked my class, Yin Yoga. After buying a yoga mat, I began my journey to Nirvana.

It was love at first sight. The minute I walked into the studio, I was no longer hung up on whether reading “Don Quixote” would make me seem most impressive to Columbia, but was instead wrapped up in aligning my chakras and extending the energy of my soul.

To be completely honest, I haven’t done yoga in the past month or so because I’ve been so ridiculously busy, but there are some values from my classes that I can carry through this hectic fall semester.

The deep breathing, the meditation and the comfortable clothes are all things that I apply to my day-to-day actions, hoping that my mastery of the crow pose will carry me through senior year.

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