The Stress Strikes Back

Yes, it’s only the second week of class. Yes, I am already feeling that inevitably feeling that comes when your schedule starts to fill up with responsibilities and days feel too long yet lack enough time.

While I do enjoy having a routine that keeps me accountable for being a functioning adult, I don’t know if there is a true indicator, a fine line of knowing when you’re happily occupied with what you have and realizing you’re in too deep. It can be quite difficult then to simultaneously want to get my hands in many various projects or fill many roles, and also fear losing any opportunity to simply do nothing or spend time with others for pure socializing.

So how does somebody who is easily flustered like me manage to stay afloat? How do I expect to meet all of my desires for a “balanced” life, or at the illusion of one? Well, my friends, beyond the fun times that high-functioning anxiety brings, I am here to not only dispel any wisdom I hopefully have and request some support from anybody else out there who might juggle life better than I can. I bow down to you, people.

This fall semester I have been trying something new out that is a step up from what I’ve always done when it comes to organization. Since probably the third grade, I have used some form of an agenda or planner. Obviously since venturing from elementary school, the usefulness of said agenda has expanded many-fold.

I haven’t always been the best at actually keeping up with writing everything I need to do down, but I am making the conscious effort this last year of college to use my agenda to its fullest potential. When it actually has times throughout the day listed, I put in my schedule. I make mini to-do lists for any school assignments or responsibilities for a certain group. I make sure to plan and write down any sort of socializing I want to partake in to actually hold myself accountable for building up my friendships and not just resorting to excuses the day of.

In my planner, I also decided to list out some goals I have the semester and school year. As someone who totes the importance of having some sort of goal to strive for that encourages regular personal growth, I’m not the best at actually writing them down and remembering what my specific goals are. I can now see what I want to prioritize short-term and long-term, including all relevant aspects of my life.

Within those goals, I’ve set priorities that reflect a need to maintain wellness. This includes the earlier mentioned time spent building relationships with loved ones and securing regular moments to recharge my batteries. It’s too easy for me to get caught up in a bunch of schoolwork and projects I want to tackle all at once, the last thing I remember to take care of ends up being myself. Hopefully I can become more mindful in preventing a major slump.

As a general rule, taking care of yourself means knowing your limits. It sucks having to say no to something you might really want to do, but if it’s adding unnecessary stress into your life, is it worth it? That’s for you to judge. Just remember, your health is infinitely more important than your grades. Your well-being and sanity should always come first.

And again, mindfulness is powerful. It’s far too easy to just run through the motions of a weekday routine without giving much thought to what we’re actually do and the purpose it might serve for us. Losing ourselves in the rush often ends up biting us in the butt, especially if it means overlooking things like eating nutritious food, drinking water, and sleeping. If you’re in the tizzy phase feeling like a headless chicken, return back to yourself in the present moment.

When you do end up with a spare moment, take advantage of it any way you see fit. The key takeaway message, if you don’t remember anything else, is self-care. You are actively engaging in life, but you shouldn’t sacrifice what truly uplifts and motivates you. If you spend free time scrolling on your phone, chances are you won’t feel satisfied and yes, the urgency might kick in. But if your free time is actually energizing, whether that means making art, working out, reading, taking walks or sitting in a bubble bath, then you might find more fulfillment where originally there was chaos.

Making this post today is a reminder not only to anybody else stressing out, but also to me when I inevitably panic over what is probably a reasonable situation. We all come across times when we wish the world would stop moving forward and we stumbled upon an imaginary month-long vacation from everything. However, we are capable of anything life throws at us. It wouldn’t end up in our visions in the first place if a certain task or opportunity would be too much. Our heads can get work ourselves up to the point of exhaustion, but we are the ones in control. Insert general encouragement here. Cliche, but we can do this.

Take care, and keep the faith. -Allie


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