Ask Dr. Syl: Where Can I Turn to for Help on Campus?
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Hello there multitasking super-achieving college students! I congratulate you on all of your successes, carrying a heavy unit load, working, interning, extra-curricular activities, event attendance, juggling your academic, professional, and personal lives. You are so incredibly busy; you have to set a reminder to remind yourself of all the things you need to do!
As you know, my schedule challenged Chicas; this will eventually catch up to you! When you find yourself feeling overwhelmed, overbooked, exhausted and stressed out (OOES), it’s time to slow down.
Being on activity overload reminds me of one summer many years ago, while I was juggling full-time work, managing a household of three children, and was also a part-time student. I had to take a biology course for my Human Services major, and I was a little bitter about it! Because 1.) It was summer school, (who likes going to summer school?) and 2.) I did not see how it was going to help me in my work as a psychotherapist.
Anyhow, while I was sitting through what seemed to be a never-ending lecture, it happened, a lightbulb moment, I learned a juicy morsel of knowledge that has stayed with me ever since. The professor was discussing the various physiological processes of the body and how in many of those processes, there was a common goal: homeostasis.
Homeostasis is the tendency of the body to seek and maintain a condition of balance and equilibrium. Boom there it was, I finally saw the connection between this course and my work as a mental health professional. As a mental health pro, it is my aim to help and encourage my clients to seek balance or homeostasis. So here is the deal ladies, the mind, and the body are connected!
When you find yourself becoming OOES, it will show up in your body, in the form of a cold, exhaustion, anxiety, or some kind of ailment. This is your cue to ground and center yourself, as your mind and body are always seeking to find balance. The following are 5 ways to get back to center, and stay grounded in college and in life:
Go to the place that is your sanctuary and sit still. Rest and re-evaluate your activities. The number one activity of adulting is making choices about how you spend your time and energy. Make sure that how you are spending your time is aligned with your goals and priorities.
Stop overcommitting yourself and taking on projects that will send your schedule into chaos.
Eat healthy well-balanced meals, Exercise, 30 minutes, three times a week, Find ways to relax, such as meditating, listening to music, and/or connecting to nature, Do your beauty treatments, Get at least 8 hours of sleep per night.
Make sure you have healthy and supportive persons in your life to talk about what matters to you.
Perhaps you can break down study materials with a study buddy or a group? Maybe you can delegate some of your tasks to a co-worker or a friend? Ask for help with big projects.
If after doing all of the above you still aren’t feeling quite yourself, you may need to seek medical and/or psychological assistance. Be sure to make an appointment at your college’s health center/counseling center and get the help you need.
On an aside, keep an open mind about the courses you are taking, one never knows what lessons you will learn that will stay with you for life!
Dr. Sandra Calles is a psychologist, mentor, and activist. She has over 11 years of experience as a mental health professional and was a therapist at Los Angeles Harbor College, where she helped many students overcome emotional obstacles so they could transfer to universities and meet their career goals.
She devotes her personal and professional life to activities and causes that promote the empowerment of Latinas for education, business ownership, political engagement, financial literacy, and successful lives.