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Many people like to think that that being a college student is easy. All you have to do is study and write papers. But boy are they wrong! There is family to take care of, a jobs, internships, clubs, school, friends, social life; it can be overwhelming! When you over-commit, you end up having too many plates to juggle most likely leading you to crash and burn out way too soon in the semester.
As an undergrad, I was a full-time student with a 5 class workload, a full-time job, a student leader in various clubs, an internship, Greek life, and a boyfriend. Thankfully, my family was understanding of my schedule so they excused my absence for the most part, however, my overall stress level was pretty high for most of the academic year. By midterms, though, I was completely burnt out with everything. I mean everything! All I did was go, go go.
Don’t get me wrong, I understand that stress is a part of college life and a little stress isn’t bad for you, however, constant and unmanaged stress can cause mental, emotional, and physical damage (Read this article, from Psychology Today to see if you are experiencing symptoms of burnout).
Scheduling in self-care throughout your week is crucial to your overall well-being (You can’t perform at your best if you are a wreck). You know that if you don’t write it down or pencil it in it won’t happen. Here are some of the things I like to do:
I try to be consistent with writing in my journal for at least 30 minutes a day, whether right before bed or first thing in the morning. In my journal I can say whatever I want, I can be myself without fear of being judged. After I’m done, I literally feel lighter in my mind and body. I recommend this be an ongoing practice for everyone.
My grandmother, a devout Catholic, has a very disciplined spiritual practice. I see how that has helped her take on her day. When I’m feeling stressed or facing a difficult situation, I like to the pray the rosary, to calm my whirling thoughts and anxieties.
I was surprised when I read an article in the Huffington Post on the effects of praying the rosary. If you aren’t religious, there are other ways to connect with our spiritual selves, like being in nature, writing, meditating, yoga, etc. There is no denying that being connected to our spiritual selves helps one feel grounded.
TV is my favorite form of escapism. Call me a nerd, but I especially love British period pieces, like Downton Abbey. Sometimes, I just need to be transported to another time and place to give myself a break from everything that is going on around me. Whatever treating yourself looks like to you, do it. You deserve that break!
As soon as I wake up or right before I go to sleep, I grab my phone and get on facebook. It’s an awful habit that, I noticed, has me feeling moody all day. Currently, I am creating the habit of not looking at my phone for at least 30 minutes after I wake up or before I go to sleep. Don’t get me wrong, it’s really hard! But I notice the difference in my mood immediately.
Instead, I decided to wake up in the morning and set the intention for the day with positive affirmations, like, today is going to be a great and amazing productive day! I’ll repeat this over and over again as many times as I need it.
Do you have a group that you can turn to when you are feeling stressed? A group that you can have fun with? If not, get started on assembling them. This is why getting involved in so important, it not only helps you professionally but socially. They can be your go to when you need help or just need to vent.
These are mine, what are yours?
These are just some of the things I do, but of course, there are a million other ways that fit your personality. When you take the time to pencil in self-care on a daily or weekly basis, you have the strength to handle whatever life throws your way.
What are your go-to methods for handling stress, especially during midterms and finals?