By Daryanna Lancet
The hope for this article is to name reasons for stress and offer suggestions on processing or channelling stress that feels positive and kind towards yourself.
Reason 1: There’s too much do — I feel “AHHHG”/and or tired and numb.
Processing Suggestion: Write it all down—in whatever medium you prefer! When it’s down on paper, it’s no longer a mesh of pressures twining together like so much grey mental spaghetti in your head. The activities are named—they are pinned down as little black letters on a page.
Splitting obligations into ‘Logistics’ (ie: emailing professors, searching up a job opportunity, texting that friend back) and ‘Academics’ (ie: each class gets its own mini sub–section) helps sort through the mesh even more. You can make this in the evening, looking towards the next day, or in the morning at the start of the day — whatever feels better! What you didn’t finish Monday, move to Tuesday. Keep track of things that didn’t or did get done and be understanding and gentle with yourself.
Remember, all of this keeping track is not another restriction or pressure, but just a place for your ‘to-do’s’ to be, other than in your head. Therefore, your head can focus on being in wonderful moments throughout the day! Leaving little love notes to yourself on these daily agendas never hurts… “Dear (your name), you are so adaptable, brave and kind…I love you! Treat yourself to some really good sleep tonight!”, or a just a solid, “Hell yeah let’s do this”.
Reason 2: The future looms ahead and I’m not sure what I want to do with my life/what it will bring
Processing Suggestion: Ah, you know… life is long. What would you like life to bring? What would you like to bring to the world in the next couple of years? You don’t have to decide until you’re 80 years old — and you don’t owe a mini-existential crisis to each casual acquaintance’s offhand attempts at small-talk. Try thinking of any question other than “What are you going do with your life?” that asks one to project so far into the future without the use of rigorous scientific testing and calculation. Saying, “I’m figuring it out, we’ll see” is perfectly acceptable, honest, and logical!
Speaking of testing and calculation, though… It is your last day on Earth, and you wake up, get out of bed, and are allowed to do one ‘thing’ — what do you do?
Here’s another one: if you had absolutely no restrictions on your person whatsoever, you’re free-floating in space, and someone told you had to pick an environment in which to entertain yourself for 8 hours, what would it be? Would it be individual or collaborative, inside or outside, a mix of both? What colors are you surrounded by? Are you on your feet moving around or sitting comfortably? Now, in this simulation, what do you have in your hands? You can choose four objects to fill this environment with to keep you sustained and engaged for 8 hours. What did you think of, did you surprise yourself in any way?
Reason 3: I just feel…weird.
Processing Suggestion: A big part of working through ‘feeling weird’ or ‘off’ seems to be figuring out ‘why’. Check in with yourself, however you do this. Open a Word document on your computer (or grab and pen and paper) and free-write/word vomit the first words that come to your mind for even just five minutes. What has happened today, what happened yesterday, what is happening in the world around you now, and how does it make you feel?
If you’ve spent a lot of time around people lately, try going for a walk alone without anything on you (including your phone), and see what it feels like to walk with your head up. Make it a goal to notice three different and new things about the people, streets, scenery around you.
If you’ve spent a lot of time with yourself, try reaching for a coffee or chat with someone.
Try a few power poses – make yourself as big as possible and stay that way for a while. Break into a run on impulse. Play a feel-good 80’s song and DANCE.
Make a really tasty meal, just for yourself. Keep changing up your routine and enjoy the process of seeking new activities to gently shake yourself — you can do it. Also, a solid night’s sleep is powerful stuff…
Big Picture Conclusion:
Cheers to living and caring about things! It would definitely be a dull world without stress, and in the right quantity and manner, stress can be extremely helpful and motivating.
Ultimately, finding balance is a life-long, and eternally worthwhile adventure—cheers to that as well!