As a college student, life can be loaded with stress. Trying to balance work, school, a social life, physical health, and sleep doesn’t always align with my schedule. Though I’d like to think that I manage my stress properly, that’s not always the case, and I find myself often getting lost in the wave.
Personally, I constantly stress myself out, regardless of the situation. Whether it’s a rapidly approaching deadline for a class or trying to figure out what to wear in the mornings, I never fail to make myself worry.
Most of the time, though, my stress can be managed with a large cup of peppermint hot chocolate, a bag of popcorn, and watching The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, but that isn’t always the case. Sometimes it takes a lot more self-care and outside help to manage my stress.
In fact, I just recently had an incredibly important paper due. Once I turned it in, my classmates would read through my piece in a workshop and critique what I had written for over an hour. At the thought of it, I found myself quickly overwhelmed and unable to maintain my stress—I was a mess.
My mind reeled with ‘what-ifs’; what if I couldn’t get it done in time? What if no one liked my work? What if no one had anything positive to say? My thoughts became an endless cycle of negativity that I couldn’t seem to break out of.
This situation couldn’t be helped with ‘Me Time’, so instead, I confided in my close friends who were able to ease some of my unsettled thoughts. Then, at the end of each day for the next week, I took a few minutes before bed to practice mindfulness.
This therapeutic technique is used to focus on the present moment, acknowledge my thoughts, and understand my feelings. Like meditation, it’s used to reduce anxiety but also accept my current situation.
After doing this for a few nights in a row, I realized that whatever happened that day wouldn’t matter. If my classmates didn’t like my piece, I would be able to grow as a writer from the critiques. This wasn’t something to be worried about—it was just another learning experience that I’m sure everyone else was stressed out over.
That was exactly what happened, too. The class went by smoothly and though I did receive some ideas for improvement, I was able to find new avenues of writing. That’s when I realized that my stress almost ruined a great learning opportunity for me, and only through managing it was I able to enjoy a previously stressful experience.
So while managing stress can sometimes be as easy as applying a face mask and essential oils before going to bed, for me, it isn’t always that easy. Sometimes it takes relying on others to talk about your worries, practicing mindfulness, but most importantly, accepting your situation and making the most of it. From it, you will realize that your worries weren’t nearly as bad as you anticipated, and only then will you be able to grow.
Written by, FIT contributor Kaylee Nye