College is stressful.  That’s no lie.  The funny part is, as students, we know this is true, but tend to do little about it.  How often do we give our poor, overworked brains a break? Or pay some attention to the health of our bodies?  Not often enough, that’s for sure.

Let’s treat our minds and bodies a bit better, by giving ourselves the breaks and relaxation we need.  Below are some ideas:

1.Get the heck out of dodge. Leave campus, leave Forest Grove.  Get out and let school worries slip away as you explore new places.  Don’t have a car?  That’s no problem.  Consider taking a bus to the Oregon Coast, called “The Wave”, based out of Tillamook (http://www.tillamookbus.com).  It’s less than $20 round trip!  Or, there’s always Trimet transportation to Portland, and then an Amtrak train to anywhere.  Don’t have the money?  Hit up Portland Craigslist for a rideshare, and meet some new people to ride with!

2.Work your body, not your brain. Get your tension out, and give your brain a break!  You can do this in the gym, but that gets old and it doesn’t help you escape campus.  Instead, go on an indoor rock-climbing trip, hike, or sea kayaking adventure with Outback.  If you have your own gear and transportation, take some friends out for a hike or bike ride.  You may have to drag them at first, but they’ll thank you for it later.  Forest Grove is just 8 miles from the border of the Tillamook State Forest… that’s just a healthy bike ride away!

3.  Massage. The power of human touch cannot be underestimated, and you don’t have to be a professional masseuse to do some good.  Even with zero prior experience, just gently rubbing another person’s head and shoulders can start to relieve stress.  If, on the other hand, you happen to be great at giving massages, you’ll be in high demand!  Below is a recipe for homemade massage oil, using herbs from campus and B Street:

FoGro Massage Oil:

First, purchase some oil at Safeway.  I’ve found that high-temp oils like grapeseed tend to work the best, due to their thinner consistency.  However, if you already have some olive oil in your dorm, that will work too.

Then, make a trip to B Street Permaculture Farm, where you can have your pick from different herbs.  Lavender may still be left over from last fall, and it is the “sleep helper” of the herb world. It is often used in dream pillows or smelling salts to aid people in falling asleep.  Lemon balm has the opposite affect, the delicious lemon scent helps awaken.  It is best used with another herb (so that the massage oil doesn’t smell like lemon bathroom cleaner).  Mint is in abundance at B Street, and mint oils also help awaken and refresh the body.  Rosemary grows behind the library, and has a strong, cedar-like scent.  Also, to get orange-flavored massage oil that smells like sunshine, start collecting orange peels.  I recommend using organic peels only, so that you don’t rub pesticides into someone’s skin when you massage.

Next, fill a glass jar halfway with your herbs (or peels) of choice.  Pour the oil over the herbs until it almost fills the jar, then put the lid on and leave it for a few days to a week.  Afterwards, you can separate the oil from the herbs by draining, so that the herbs won’t attempt to rot.  Voila!  Homemade massage oil, that has a shelf life of about a month before it starts to lose it’s herbal flavor.  Don’t toss it, though!  Just re-infuse it with more herbs, and keep massaging.  Feel free to use the infused oil for cooking, too.  It can add a fancy, unexpected flavor to your dishes.

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