-Aubrey Baucum, Editor and Contributor of EpicFootNotes
As we look to our futures and how blindingly bright they are, students may have intense feelings of stress, worry, and feelings of being directionless as the semesters fly by (or drag on…). This editor feels that stress too, however, it is always necessary to remember to practice self-care in order to achieve what we all really want, without becoming sick from it. It is so important for our psyches to remain strong and get through schooling that at times is so stressful, we can lose sight of why we’re even getting an education. Depression and anxiety can cause us to do silly things like drop out, starve ourselves, lose sleep, and for what? Nothing I just mentioned gets us anywhere in life and we need to stay vigilant in order to complete our educations. Below I have listed a few things that we all can do to alleviate stress and disorder in our lives, and like I always say: It might not work for everyone, but it could work for anyone.
As someone who lives with chronic depression, I’m hesitant to tell people to meditate. Living with depression and meditating might make the disease exponentially worse. However, mindful meditation is something that can distract someone from the woes of college life. Breathing exercises are a great way to mindfully meditate on your current situation and take you away from the stress you might feel. There are too many to go into here on this ‘notes’ post but hit Google and search for ‘mindful breathing techniques’, there are a million, and they are all fabulous.
Free writing and journaling about your stress and feelings is another great way to get things you feel off your chest. It never has to be shared with anyone (unless you want to) but it is a great way to work through the problems you might be facing in your life. Be ritualistic with it if you need. Some people write their feelings and share it with their loves ones, so everyone is on the same page with what is going on in that individual’s life. Some people like to write down their feelings and never look at it again, and some like to write it down, and then to get rid of the feelings, they put in their fire places, and light it on fire (please do this in a safe manner, and don’t burn your house down). The psychical removal of feelings through a pen can be extraordinarily freeing and uplifting. But it is also a way to show you that stressors don’t have to be a thing that remains attached to you. You can let it go, and for the sake of your health, you should let it go.
As a writer, and as a human, I take on way more stress than I need to, so what I’m trying to get in the habit of, is talking with my significant other after I have written my “stressor of the day.” I talk about why this thing (whatever it may be) is bothering me, if I’m in control of the situation, and what steps I need to take in order to let it go. Sometimes we take a walk around our condo complex, sometimes I take a bath, and sometimes I play my favorite English Punk music, and physically remove myself from these feelings through dance. Somethings work somedays, and not others, so it really is experimental as to how I remove my stressors.
Just remember, it will take time to be comfortable even bringing your stressors to light. Some of us don’t even realize what is happening, or what exactly is stressing us out, and this is why writing is so incredibly important. Writing helps us tangibly work through all the thoughts in our brain until we have that moment of realization that “oh my god, I didn’t know that never sleeping is what makes my brain not work” or whatever might be going on in your individual life.
My best advice is to learn to be mindful about what is going on in your life. During the upcoming fall semester, I will be running a “Mindfulness” workshop for both writing consultants, and students, so if you need some instruction on general ways to achieve mindfulness, please check them out. The dates are not set yet, but they will be run every semester, so we all can make sure we’re practicing self-care and being mindful of what is happening in our individual lives, and in the lives of friends, and loved ones.
If you want me to go over anything specific that has worked for you (mindfulness-wise) for my upcoming workshops, I greatly appreciate your input. You can so in the comment section below, message me on our Facebook, Instagram, or Snapchat pages, or simply come by the writing center during our summer hours and have a chat with me. For links to our social media handles, visit the EPN homepage and you’ll see them listed on the right-side toolbar.