As an overworked college student, getting to the end of each day and crawling into bed has become literally the best feeling in the entire world. Every morning when I have to wake up and leave the warm comforts of my hibernation hub, I silently will myself to be brave and unwrap the cocoon of blankets around me. It seems like the most daunting task I’ve ever faced, but then I remind myself that the day is only just beginning.
It’s kind of a given that the first semester back to school hits like a hurricane chock full of emotions. It rolls through at high speed, powered by the never-ending checklist of things to get done, and it never really makes its way out. Forever brewing in the distance, the ominous threat of responsibilities takes a toll on mental saneness as disaster lurks around the corner. From the busy course load to the just as time-consuming social schedule, the pressure to succeed in every involvement morphs into a dark cloud hanging overhead that you can never quite shake off.
But being overwhelmingly busy doesn’t have to mean being overwhelmingly stressed. As someone who thrives on a hectic go-go-go lifestyle, I’ve learned how to juggle all the chaotic emotions that are part of the "being busy" package. It’s not a perfect science, but there are methods of coping with tight schedules and countless obligations without going off the deep end.
1. Read some inspirational quotes.
Get your mind off the stress track and take in some much needed objective words of wisdom.
2. Wake up ten minutes early.
You probably think I’m crazy, but seriously, this might be the best advice someone’s ever given me. When you wake up earlier than normal, you give yourself more time to get a head start on the day. You even have time to enjoy your cup of coffee rather than sprinting to class with a to-go cup spilling everywhere.
3. Listen to a song that means a lot to you.
Close your eyes and just absorb the words for all they are worth. You will be able to identify your feelings and leave behind the swarm of thoughts buzzing around your head.
4. Get and actually use a planner.
With a place to write out all of your responsibilities, you can physically see what needs to be accomplished. And the sweet satisfaction in crossing things off the list is a personal bonus.
5. Know that it’s okay to say no.
Turning down an invitation to go out in favor of studying for a huge test on Monday is sometimes a necessary evil, but it’s key in recognizing the balance between school and social life.
6. Go outside.
Breath the fresh air, take in what surrounds you. Go running and give yourself a break from your time spent cooped up with a computer on your lap or your nose glued to your phone.
7. Give yourself ultimatums
With personal goals that are achievable, it makes everything that much easier. You will have a series of small obstacles to tackle, rather than one huge mountain to climb.
8. Realize when enough is enough.
Feel out your limits and respect them to keep yourself in check. When you feel on the verge of a mental breakdown, step back and reflect on what matters most to you in life. Is the sixty page reading that’s due tomorrow morning really going to impact you in the long run? Probably not. If you have to sacrifice a few things, that’s okay. That’s life.
I live by the fact of life that you’ll never be fully living if you aren’t spending your time doing things that push you out of your comfort zone. Dive into the year. Take advantage of every opportunity you can, but most of all, make sure you’re putting your well-being first and taking care of yourself mentally, physically, and emotionally. Figure out how much you can handle, and take it one step at a time. Oh, and remember the motto: busy doesn’t have to mean stressed!