‘Overwhelmed’ feels like a consistent feeling for me. I don’t know when it happened, but sometime between my sophomore year of college and now—my senior year—I’ve managed to develop a 24/7 feeling of being overwhelmed, overthinking anxious thoughts about the future, and the fear I’ll fail my classes. So we’re doing great over here as you can see! But in reality, the routine I’ve developed now compared to previous years has truly helped me to remain afloat while I take 18 credits this semester and also work. Before we begin, I do think it makes sense to note that the whole balancing act isn’t realistic. Although there are times when I do feel like I have my shit together (it’s rare, but it happens,) nothing is perfect, or set in stone, etc. There will be days and maybe even weeks where you feel like the whole world is out to get you and you’ve experienced fail after fail after fail. When these times happen, I like to journal or meditate. I don’t always stay on top of it, but when I do, I feel really good.
They’ve become my best friend. I know people talk about them all the time, but I’ve always been here and there with them—never consistent. I think my problem has been maintaining them on my phone, instead of on a physical copy of paper I can always see and work with. Every Monday morning, I’ll grab a piece of paper (be green and get a mini whiteboard instead!) and write down everything that pops into my head as far as things to tackle. Lots of times, especially with school, my mind will go to tests or papers coming up in the next few weeks I should study for because I feel anxious about them (but we’ll get there.) I first try and write down things that need to be accomplished this coming week—so assignments due (whether for school or work,) chores I wanna get done (like cleaning out my closet, organizing my stuff etc.) and things I wanna do for my blog. After I can get immediate to-do’s written out, I’ll then write out things coming up in the next few weeks I should be aware of. For those items, I take a second piece of paper and hang it up next to my “This Week” list. I do this so I can physically cross off everything on my “This Week” list (because obviously you won’t always be able to cross off ‘study for test in a few weeks’ off your list immediately.) Lists like these help me to stay on schedule and drive me away from spending hours on YouTube or doing things that aren’t pushing me forward. It’s insanely satisfying to cross things off your list and for me at least, it helps my anxious-overwhelming-feelings to subside.
To be fair, I’ve always been a morning person thanks to my mom, but honestly it can be taught (is that the right word?) through a consistent routine. For me, I like to have my alarm set around 8-8:30. If my alarm goes off at 8, I’ll lay in bed for 15 minutes and scroll through my phone, double check on emails, scroll through Twitter and Instagram (I know! Bad habits!) and give myself that ‘chill’ time. Then I’ll get up and do all the little bits and bobs that’ll get me ready for the day (this includes skincare, coffee, etc.) I notice that when I push myself to get up early, and get a head start on the day, I don’t get that low feeling when I look at the clock and realize all this time has passed by and I haven’t accomplished everything I wanted to. Obviously, you’re not a superhero. Everything you want to do each day might not always get accomplished, but I promise you can get a whole lot done if you wake up early.
TALK IT OUT
A lot of friends will do this with me and so now I’ve gotten into the habit. Even when you’ve written out the things you need to do, sometimes talking it out with a friends or parent or partner also helps to get your ducks in a row. Sometimes I’ll have things I have to do but don’t necessarily know how I should go about them. Getting perspective from different people really helps to figure out the best way to go about something. It also helps you to see if you’re pushing yourself too hard by putting too much power or stress into something that doesn’t really need it (if that makes sense?) At least with my mom, when I talk over things and express my anxieties about certain things, my mom helps to sort of talk me down from mindsets on certain things that don’t need all the worrying. In the wise words of someone, somewhere: you will be okay, you’ll figure it out, and if you don’t, it’s not the end of the world.
I’ve included this in like, every self-help post, but it seriously helps. There have been so many times where stress has just eaten away at my body and the only thing that’s helped me the way taking Advil for a headache has is exercise—more specifically, running. Running isn’t for everyone, but any form of cardio or yoga is like...magic. When you’re moving your body your stress just melts away. (P.s. workout playlist coming soon!)