If you're anything like me, the constant loom of anxious thoughts before anything life-changing really leads you to second guess just about everything — specifically, the thought of picking back up after a much-needed and seemingly not long enough winter break. This familiar tale not only makes your stomach turn but completely makes you want to run out of your skin. But before you take that dive in the other direction, consider how you can prioritize your life to make it more beneficial for you.
I am involved in so much on campus and often that's when I notice my mood spike. I am prone to worry about so much more than usual when planning meetings, thinking about the first day or booking rooms for events that the thought of having to make it through another PR or Marketing class shortens my breath. Maybe it's my campus leadership duties that make me want to run to stage left, but whatever it is, I've figured out a few simple tools to stay sane when I feel like I can never make it back to that neutral place.
1. Accept the moment that you’re in and let it pass
Hit the breaks, sis. Sometimes you have to stop, be still and let life happen. A part of anxiety is wanting to be in control of what happens next, and what I've found through my personal battle is that life will happen regardless. In an anxiety infused breakdown, that might not be easy to adhere to, but even in those moments, take several deep breaths and settle what is giving you the most anguish at that very moment. This is where I learned the true definition of mindfulness. No, it is not always yoga, a nicely curated inspirational Instagram post, the most expensive tea set up or colorful bath bombs (even though, they’re nice). It is, however, you accepting how to be present in a moment, even when that moment feels less than pleasing.
2. Cry if you need to
Yes, even in college we have to dismiss ourselves from our duties and let it out, especially if it's a less than amazing grade on something we studied so hard for. There were some days when I had to cut class or meetings short because the day had become too much. Find a safe space on campus with a few good friends to talk you through whatever you're experiencing. Sometimes all we need is reassurance that we will make it. Besides, crying isn’t a sign that you are weak or that you can't handle something, I think that it means you have held on for so long that your cup is simply overflowing.
3. Get active, girl
Seriously, this helps me so much. Get active in every area of your life and take your life back. From working out to cooking your own meals, you have the power to say and do what is mentally and physically going to benefit you. Changing my diet not only made me feel like I was giving back to myself, but I also saw health benefits when I made these little changes. The fact that I attend a college that encompasses downtown Atlanta makes it a little easier for me to get that workout in when I can’t hit the gym.
4. Saying no isn’t always easy in college
We have all heard this before, the whole “just say no” thing. Well, that isn’t always easy when you deal with anxiety and when you want to take part in your social life, too. Some of us tend to go back and forth on the consequences of saying yes or no that it inflicts more worry on us than peace. Despite that, once you have decided to say no to a specific duty or even a social gathering, accept that moment and gradually move on. I know how it is, those constant thoughts about what you said or did not say can lowkey haunt you if you let them, but practicing mindfulness allows acceptance to flow easier.
The honest truth behind it all is that anxiety is hard to describe to those who don't live with it. Try to imagine cleaning up every speck of glitter off of the floor after you have dropped the container, super tedious, right? Even on my best days, I'm wondering about the next assignment or meeting and how I will make it through, but it is with the help of those tools and more that I can figure it out day by day.