Admissions Blog: Stress relief and mindfulness

By Damarys Rodrigues ’24
English and creative writing and art history double major

To help me prepare for finals week, I thought a lot about ways to relieve stress and include mindfulness throughout my routine. In March we had a speaker, Tiana Soto, visit campus to talk about how to empower students to care for their mental health and wellness and feel confident in their college journey. One thing Tianna recommended is that students make a reverse bucket list.

A reverse bucket list

College is stressful, and there is so much that I’m sure that students have dreams of accomplishing, but with that also comes the immense amount of pressure to succeed in achieving those goals and the heavy burden of failure. A reverse bucket list is where we can address that pressure! Rather than thinking about the things you want to do and haven’t completed yet, congratulate yourself on what you have accomplished. You’ve worked hard, and you should take some time to pause and acknowledge the time and energy you’ve put into these things you’ve done. Take that chance to breathe in and out, relax your shoulders and reminisce about the joyful moments in your life. It’s easy to get overwhelmed by being so busy and responsible for many things.

Reconnect with yourself and your environment

Tianna also recommended you reconnect with the world around you as a way to prevent burnout. There are so many things that you can do here at Sweet Briar to reconnect not only with your environment but with yourself. 

Here are some things that you can do: 

  • Singing 
  • Making art  
  • Writing 
  • Meditating
  • Taking a yoga class 
  • Working out at the gym 
  • Hiking on one of the trails around campus 
  • Playing an instrument 

Set routines and try yoga

The things that I do to incorporate mindfulness into my life start by setting a routine. On Mondays and Wednesdays I work out at the gym, and on Thursdays I have yoga. I’ve never taken a yoga class before until I came to Sweet Briar, but I enjoy how it gives me the chance to breathe. We do sets of warrior poses, also known as the Virabhadrasana, which is a group of poses that allows us to stretch our muscles and work on our core. The stretches improve our arms, legs, calves, ankles and shoulder muscles. The poses tell the story of a mythical warrior, which is empowering to think of how we, through yoga, are reenacting how this myth became a legend.

Sometimes, when we feel a bit more ambitious, we will do more challenging poses such as the crow pose, through which you have to lift your legs and rest your knees on the back of your arms. It’s a beautiful pose that helps strengthen the wrist, forearms and abdomen while stretching out the upper back. One of the top things that students complain about is back pain, so it’s nice to have the chance to strengthen and work on these things. My favorite pose is the corpse pose (Shavasana), a resting pose used to finish our yoga sessions. It allows us to reflect on what we did in our yoga session and pause on what we have done today. It’s relaxing to lay on the mat and try to release all the tension in your body. 

How will you change your routine?

With all that said, I hope that some of these tips help you out somehow! If you like, let me know what you do for mindfulness and stress relief at home at ddrodrigues9984@sbc.edu. I’d love to hear any advice you may have about including mindfulness in your routine and how to relieve stress. I’m grateful to Sweet Briar for bringing the speaker Tianna Soto to our campus to talk about mental health, for as I’m sure you all know, a conversation is where change can begin.

What is something that you are going to change about your daily routine?