Don’t Let Your Mind Drag You Down this Semester!
Serious pep talk. Once again I decide to be sincere with you and give you some advice. Why? Because we are almost reaching midterms and you might think things will slip from your fingers. But nobody wants that, right?
Rough things are going on back home in Venezuela right now–like really bad–and I’m not going to lie...I’ve been distracted. If I’m doing something, I have my social media feeds next to me checking what’s going on. I’d be checking in with my friends and family back there every now and then. And the situation gets worse every day. But I’m dealing with school, and I’m trying that this doesn’t affect my performance these weeks–so far it hasn’t. And then there’s the question of the day…how do I keep my head in the game with all that’s going on?
It might be a different situation for everyone, but our emotions attack us just the same. So what can we do to relieve that built up stress that we may feel? Here are some things you can try out:
1- Watch a movie or distracting videos
Either before going to sleep or before getting some serious homework or studying done. This will clear your head from some of your worries and relax you at least enough to get those very needed hours of sleep.
2- Create a playlist
Music can do wonders. Put together either a relaxing or happy playlist you can listen to and throw your head back on the couch. Transport yourself to another world for a few hours. Music speaks the universal language of absolutely anything you need at the moment, just remember that.
3- Write messages around your house/room
I have a lot of dry-erase boards scattered all over my room. They have either encouraging messages or quick things I need to remind myself. You can also work with random post-its all over your house. A little reminder that “you got this!”
4- Impromptu dinners or getaways with friends
I ask one of my roommates if they want to grab something for dinner…or ice cream. You can also pay for their treat as an incentive. Or you can be sneaky and slip into someone’s plans to get ice cream. I mean, you want to get out of the house, and you would have someone to keep you busy talking about everything and anything other than your worries. Last week I spontaneously decided to go to Hickory Park and it was a big relief.
5- Simply get out of the house
If you don’t find anyone to go out with you, go out anyways. There are also times you just want go out alone. Doesn’t matter if it’s just out to lay on the grass/snow to get some fresh air or drive around Ames. It simply clears your mind when you start to feel claustrophobic.
6- Talk to other people about it
When you do want to talk about your worries, don’t keep them inside. Find someone, your roommate, a friend, anyone who is willing to listen to how you feel. Note to the listeners: you don’t have to do anything, just listen. What did I do? I spoke to the Des Moines Register and got to be a voice in my community. Here’s the article.
Go to the gym or do it in your own home. It’s one of the best distractions you can get, as well as a quick relaxing option for you.
8- When you’re at your best, write letters to your “future worried self”
Most effective one for me. I wrote some for each situation I could think of on a weekend. When I really can’t get out of the house for whatever reason, I can take the time to read that letter and set my head back in the game. It works as following:
- Define the specific situation and topic (e.g. “Open when you get bad news”, “Open when you see a familiar name”)
- Extend your reasons why you need to calm down or how you can do it. Maybe a sentence you can repeat to yourself
- If it happens to include actions, don’t hesitate to do those because your positive self is wise and knows it’ll make you feel better
- Why does this work? When you’re at your best, you have a better judgement and can come up with those things you need when anxious. Sometimes it’s hard to think positive when your tension is up the wall, you know?
You may have seen this before used with couples for their cheesy purpose (no hate, haha)…but it serves the purpose for yourself as well.
Read anything not related to your problems…unless it’s ways on how to overcome said problem. Get that book you haven’t had time to read because of college. But, why would you have time now? Because you really need to get away and this is a solution. Also, writing could be a creative distraction.
10- Balance your “intake of energies”
What is this? For example, if you’ve already felt down today, try to bring something good or distracting on the plate. Balance your feelings. Counterattack that bad thing. One of the reasons you may have a breakdown is because you’re taking too much of the bad energies. Now, a real example:
- Bad factor: I saw a very awful video of the violence occurring back home
- Good/distracting factor: I took 10 minutes reading this interesting theory of the true identity of Andy’s mother (from Toy Story)
The key to these things is to make sure to also balance the time between them and study time. Remember, dedicate time to yourself sometimes. My study breaks these days have turned into breaks I use to put myself back together with either of these tips. Don’t mind me, I’m overwhelmed, but so far I can deal with my anxiety. You can definitely come up with methods and tell me what works for you…it’s never to late to learn more of those.
But really, this solely depends on you. Do you want to let this thing drag you down or do you want to fight it?
My mind is in all sorts of places, but I’ve learned to moderate that and concentrate on what I have to concentrate on when I need to. You’re in college right now, and your semester is still rolling. Life moves fast and you need to be caught up with it. Do whatever works for you to keep up…or ask someone for help, there’s nothing wrong with that at all.
I challenge you to fight your worries this semester and overcome those. I know you can, and I know I can.