With school starting up again, it is common to feel overwhelmed and stressed out. However, there are ways to tackle that feeling to remain calmer and in charge of our lives. While the usual suggestions have to do with eating right, sleeping well, and working ahead in classes, the shape of our environment is often overlooked. Our environments tend to be reflections of how we feel inside, so when our environments become disorganized and messy, we start to feel burdened and burnt out. Having a clean environment to work in can boost productivity and reduce anxiety about upcoming deadlines.
The first step would be to clear surfaces, put items in their designated places, and dust/disinfect commonly touched areas. Things like doing a load of laundry, putting on clean bed sheets, or taking out the trash can be done next. Little things like diffusing essential oils (peppermint, spearmint, or lavender) or burning non-toxic candles can help freshen up the air. More specifically, according to a recent study, peppermint essential oil has been shown to improve the outcomes on tasks related to attentional processes, recognition, and working memory. This can prove to be extremely beneficial when studying for exams or preparing for presentations. Oils can also be mixed in order to boost their effects and combat the negative effects of stress. Here are a few ideas:
After cleaning up our surroundings, it can be worthwhile to do a “brain-dump” and prioritize remaining tasks that need to be done. It can be soothing to visually look at what is taking up space in our brains and allows us to slowly tackle any daunting tasks. Best of luck with the semester!