By: Mary Clark
Unfortunately, it's inevitable. Everyone deals with events in their life that pack on so much worry and burden that sometimes, a part of us just wants to shut down and check out. However, more often than not, it's the mundane, little “nitpicky” things in life that wear us down most and ultimately cause us to need a break.
One of the hardest things to do when everyone is as busy so often is to remember to focus on ourselves, and keep this daily stress (or big stress) manageable. It's hard, but is probably one of the most important things for people who need to get through the day to day drag.
Here at CBU, now is as good a time as any to keep in mind that nearly every one of us is in need of ways to keep their stress levels in-check. We are in the spring semester, have just finished midterms, and spring break was probably just a little too short for everyone. It sure was for me. A great thing about CBU and Memphis, though, is that there are tons of different ways to destress and build our happy levels back up to where life isn't as difficult.
Professor Chanda Murphy is an expert on this type of thing (seriously, she's very zen). She knows the value of destressing, and the best ways to do so. She was my professor for General Psychology and some of the most valuable advice I have gotten throughout college came from her.
I can't say how many times we heard this in class, but seriously, it's the best thing you'll ever do. Take 5 means: everyday, take at least five minutes to sit (stand, run, lay down) and just chill. Don't think about stressful things, remove yourself from burdensome people, situations, or ideas and just focus on yourself. There are all sorts of other things you can do to destress (exercise, eat healthy, or what have you) but these five minutes alone can completely change your mood and stress levels.
So in the spirit of being back in classes (at work, or whatever else stresses you out), here's a list of mine and Professor Murphy's favorite places around the city of Memphis to take 5:
1. Memphis Botanic Gardens
Photo by MKX Photography
96 acres and 30 different themed gardens make up what is a true gem on the city of Memphis's resume. As someone who is from a small rural town, anytime big cities make an effort to preserve and celebrate nature within their boundaries, it is sure to be something special. The park and gardens have a long, winding history dating back to 1819. It wouldn't be accurate to say that these gardens were constructed, because as the years went by, they were built one at a time as creators realized there was an interest and a need for a new garden.
In the spirit of taking 5, this was #1 on Professor Murphy's list, and probably on mine too. It's beautiful, relaxing, and it's right here in the area, easy to access. Five minutes here may turn into five hours...but who's counting when you’re destressing?
2. Brooks Museum of Art
Art is soothing to the soul. It's a piece of the artist on display for the viewer. There is something so organic and transcendent about art, no matter what type or in what form it is. Art breathes life, and when you're stressed out, sometimes all you need is that one good breath. The Brooks Museum was commissioned in 1913 in honor of Samuel Hamilton Brooks, today it is home to 29 galleries, and is one of the largest art museums in the American South. When in search of a place to take 5, you will find not only a relaxing atmosphere, but an incredible cultural experience too. It's also good if you're not a big outdoorsy person.
3. Shelby Farms
When Memphis is dropped into casual conversation, many things come to mind. I like to think that one of these things is Shelby Farms Park Conservancy. When you think Memphis and nature, this park is what you think of. 4,500 acres of everything from Buffalo herds, to a brand new restaurant in the FedEx Event Center rests smack dab in the middle of the Greater Memphis Area. As soon as I transplanted to Memphis from my rural Arkansas community, Shelby Farms has been a go to place for me to get away from the lights, traffic, and stress of big city “adulting.”
This place also hits two places on Professor Murphy's list. The Greenline is a great place to take 5 if you're into walking, jogging, running off your stress. The lakes are awesome for meditation and fishing, and there are literally things to do for just about everyone there.
Fun Fact: Shelby Farms Park, aside from being newly renovated and picturesque, also boasts the honor of being one of the largest urban parks (inside a city) in the United States. It is five times the size of New York’s famed, Central Park.
4. Mississippi River Park, Mud Island
Photo by Lance Murphey
Memphis wouldn't be Memphis if it wasn't called the Bluff City. It wouldn't be the Bluff City if not for the Mighty Mississippi. The River is an ever constant reminder of life, power, greatness, and something bigger than ourselves. Whether people acknowledge it or not, it gives a strong culture to Memphis. It mimics the heartbeat that comes from Memphis too, as you will sometimes see and hear musicians playing near the water. Just like the river, Memphians never quit and they never give up. Like in 1812, it takes something massive to stop the Mississippi River in its tracks, and the same can be said for Memphis. Whether you buy all this pride or not, thinking like this is a good way to battle stress. When you tell yourself you're strong, and that you won't ever quit, well, you believe yourself. Looking out over the Mississippi River is a good place to take 5 and take in all the glory and strength that flows just off the bluffs of Memphis.
5. Beale Street
This one is a little off the path from the others in this list. All I have mentioned thus far are relaxing, quiet, calming places. Beale Street probably brings partying, drinking, and frivolity to mind. The reason I think it's important to list is because taking 5 doesn't have to mean quiet meditation. That might work most productively, but there are tons of extroverts out there that absolutely hate being alone, and crave excitement. Beale Street is a fun, happening place. For those that need people to reenergize them, there is no better atmosphere for relaxation and focusing on the self.
5 minutes. That's all you need. That's probably half the time it takes you to get through the Starbucks drive through every morning to get coffee. It's literally like waiting for a commercial to come on, muting the television, closing your eyes and relaxing. Life's hard, it stresses us all out and makes us need a nap (maybe more than one). It's incredibly important to find ways to stop the noise and relax to keep your mind and body healthy. These are just 5 ways to do that whether you like nature, art, or need a party and a drink. Whatever five minutes of relaxation means to you, do it. You'll thank yourself for it later.
Mary Clark is an editor at the Galleon and a senior at Christian Brothers University.