So, the world feels like it's falling on you; but it's not.

I Asked Some Friends How They Deal With Stress, And Here's What They Said

Listen to some music or take a nap, it's gonna be fine.

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So I'm writing this whilst in-class essay finals are waiting to attack me. In other words, I'm procrastinating; but I see it as releasing my mind from studying for a while.

It's crazy how calm I look/feel sometimes when all of these things are just piling up haha the bright side of it is that I'm not constantly putting up this stress on me. I'm calmer than I was before because I learned some things along the way. One of which was self-advocacy.

Advocate for yourself when you feel like the whole world is falling on you. I don't think we were ever programmed to just stress out 24/7. We don't deserve to put that on ourselves because that is not self-respect. Tell yourself that it's okay to cry, to step back even for a while. Coming into university, I have to admit that I went through some stress and anxiety. It went to the point when I realized that it was time I gave up my pride.

I thought there were some special remedies that I needed, but it turns out: I was already doing what I was supposed to be doing. It started with me realizing that too much was too much and being confident enough to take things one at a time.

As time passed, I found more ways that calmed my mind. Vocalizing what I had to prioritize and having supervisors/directors and professors/teaching assistants understand helped...a lot. I can't say that anxiety is totally gone because, well, it's finals week. There will be times when I'm laying in my bed, and suddenly this wave of stress and anxiety will just overcome me. My time here has taught me a lot of myself; and while it's taught me those negativities, it's also taught me love and patience (sorry, I had to put Ari's song somehow). It's taught me how to cope with stress in a way that makes me feel less overwhelmed with the work in front of me.

I always asked for tips from my friends because I was just a lost little bee. I asked for study tips and what type of environment helps them study well. I never got around to asking them how they coped with stress because, well, the question never came up. It wasn't until my friends showed me subtle ways of self-care that I found just how easy it is to step back. I wanted to share some responses they gave on how they cope with stress. When I read these, I saw how similar we were (like, wow, it's just so nice to know that I'm not the only one who procrastinates!!); I also learned some new ways.

1. Finding an escape

There are some talented people out there omg

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Most of my stress comes from things that are out of my control, so to cope with it, I do things that allow me to do things freely. I especially like sketching on my notebook because it allows me to create something from nothing and it gives me the ability to control whatever I choose to put out on paper. There are so many things on my mind when I'm stressing out, but drawing something from that chaos gives me peace.

- Diwana Lucero, UCLA '20 | Psychobiology

2. Focusing on something else

Listen to something else besides the stress. Listen to your heart... or your stomach; once you do, let's go get ramen!

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I cope with stress by either eating, hanging out with my friends, or sleeping. I feel like those serve as the most impactful distractions for myself and allow me forget about the problems momentarily. When stressed, I tend to use up a lot of energy overthinking a majority of things which makes me exceptionally hungry. I savor every bite of my meal to avert my focus away from the stress. Sometimes, I go out with my friends and just talk. We talk about the cause of my stress and also about other things. I think this allows a good release of negative thoughts and energy and it most times clears my mind. Sleeping, however, is my best coping mechanism for stress. Whatever predicaments I come across become less concerning after a good rest. Such rest relaxes my tense muscles and gives my brain a chance to recalibrate to become replenished. These are all of my coping strategies; in sufficient time, however, stress is bound to retreat from our bodies as we find more positive focal points in our lives.

- Jenny Chun, UCI '21 | Cognitive Science

3. Externalizing the stress

Take control.

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I cope with stress by writing down everything that I have to do. As college students, it's no doubt that we are all overwhelmed with homework, studying, and even simple tasks like doing laundry. Sometimes, these things become so overbearing and we even forget to take care of ourselves. By writing everything out, I'm able to visually see and assess my problems. I do this because if I keep everything in my head, I feel that every task intensifies and I jumble it up with the million other things I have to do. But once you write everything out, you see that it isn't in fact a million things — but a smaller amount of things that can be done with careful planning and organizing. I like to list down my tasks, and tell myself to take it easy and to take it day by day. The list can seem so tedious to look at, so this is why it's important to also separate what needs to be done immediately, and what can be completed throughout a couple of days. It's also a very rewarding experience once I finish a task, and cross it off from the list. This rush of excitement then motivates me to finish the rest of my tasks.

When writing everything down still doesn't work, I like to engage in the wonderful art of karaoke (lmao, Bea). There's something about singing my heart out (even when I'm not amazing) that lets me release stress. Karaoke isn't an escape mechanism where I can forget the things I'm stressed about. Rather it's a way for me to address these things, and reduce their impact by singing the stress out.

- Beatriz Cuenco, UCI '21 | International Studies

4. Avoiding the problem

A positive twist to procrastinating: diamonds are made under pressure!

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When it comes to stress, I feel so overwhelmed with all my emotions that instead of doing something to cope with it I just avoid the problem itself. Academically, I procrastinate on a lot of things so stressing is a common feeling for me. I probably stress every day, and even though I know it's better to just do my work or face my problems I can't make myself do it because I'm too lazy. If I'm feeling overwhelmed, I just take naps or distract myself by going on social media. This isn't a good way to cope but it helps me forget about my problems temporarily. I am reluctant to try other coping mechanisms for stress because I feel like they won't work for me and that all I really need to do to stop stressing about work is to actually start doing my work.

- Dora Cabrales, UCI '21 | Business Administration

4. Planning out actions

Planning has its advantages, tbh

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In moderate times of stress, I plan what I'm going to do next in order to resolve it. For example, if I'm really stressed about the feeling that I can't cram enough time to study, I plan how I can study and give myself mental boundaries. These include resisting the temptation to procrastinate and realizing that time is so short. In extreme times of stress, I simply engage myself in the present by following my breath, re-feeling my feet, or feeling whatever sensation stands out the most. It allows me to remind myself that most of what's happening is in my mind and that the present is far more stable than what my mind images it to be.

- Byron Briones, UCLA '20 | Political Science

5. Step away from reality 

Look at the little doggo omgg be that dog and just wave goodbye to reality for now

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I cope with stress by hanging out with friends and processing with them!!! Honestly, video games are such great distractions from real life! If it gets too much, I usually just need the time to be physically away from the spaces that I am involved in and the ones that are causing me stress

- Justin Suarez, UCLA '20 | International Development Studies

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Everything You Will Miss If You Commit Suicide

The world needs you.
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You won't see the sunrise or have your favorite breakfast in the morning.

Instead, your family will mourn the sunrise because it means another day without you.

You will never stay up late talking to your friends or have a bonfire on a summer night.

You won't laugh until you cry again, or dance around and be silly.

You won't go on another adventure. You won't drive around under the moonlight and stars.

They'll miss you. They'll cry.

You won't fight with your siblings only to make up minutes later and laugh about it.

You won't get to interrogate your sister's fiancé when the time comes.

You won't be there to wipe away your mother's tears when she finds out that you're gone.

You won't be able to hug the ones that love you while they're waiting to wake up from the nightmare that had become their reality.

You won't be at your grandparents funeral, speaking about the good things they did in their life.

Instead, they will be at yours.

You won't find your purpose in life, the love of your life, get married or raise a family.

You won't celebrate another Christmas, Easter or birthday.

You won't turn another year older.

You will never see the places you've always dreamed of seeing.

You will not allow yourself the opportunity to get help.

This will be the last sunset you see.

You'll never see the sky change from a bright blue to purples, pinks, oranges, and yellows meshing together over the landscape again.

If the light has left your eyes and all you see is the darkness, know that it can get better. Let yourself get better.

This is what you will miss if you leave the world today.

This is who will care about you when you are gone.

You can change lives. But I hope it's not at the expense of yours.

We care. People care.

Don't let today be the end.

You don't have to live forever sad. You can be happy. It's not wrong to ask for help.

Thank you for staying. Thank you for fighting.

Suicide is a real problem that no one wants to talk about. I'm sure you're no different. But we need to talk about it. There is no difference between being suicidal and committing suicide. If someone tells you they want to kill themselves, do not think they won't do it. Do not just tell them, “Oh you'll be fine." Because when they aren't, you will wonder what you could have done to help. Sit with them however long you need to and tell them it will get better. Talk to them about their problems and tell them there is help. Be the help. Get them assistance. Remind them of all the things they will miss in life.

If you or someone you know is experiencing suicidal thoughts, call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline — 1-800-273-8255

Cover Image Credit: Brittani Norman

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An Incurable Disease Doesn't Change The Love I Have For You

Because one day the one you love the most is fine and the next day they're not, it causes devastation you never truly recover from.

nadoty
nadoty
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Loving someone with an incurable disease is the most emotionally straining thing I have ever experienced.

My significant other and I have been together for almost six years. During the summer of 2018, we all noticed the significant changes he was going through. He had lost around fifty pounds and had a lack of appetite. We had figured something was going on, however, we didn't realize it was anything serious.

Fast forward to the Fall semester of 2018. I had visited my boyfriend and we had expressed certain concerns, such as, through the night I would try and get him to stop uncontrollably itching his legs to the point of bleeding, or that he was looking a little yellow and was exhausted all the time. After seeing his sister in November, while I was at school, she pleaded with him to go to urgent care because he did not look good. He was yellow, exhausted, and very sickly looking. We didn't realize that the urgent care visit would be the precedent of the rest of our lives.

After coming home for Thanksgiving and spending a week straight in the hospital with him, it finally set in that something was not right. Between all the vomit, getting moved for testing, the weakness, the constant calling for medications because the pain was so severe, and the almost month-long stay in the hospital, it hit me full force that something was really wrong. Words will never truly describe the emotions I was feeling, or the burden of my thoughts that I felt were too selfish to pass on anyone, so I kept them to myself.

When we finally got the diagnosis, we were surprised. PSC, otherwise known as Primary Sclerosing Cholangitis, is an incurable liver disease that affects the bile ducts which become scarred and inflamed, more likely than not lead to cirrhosis and an inevitable transplant. There was no cure, rather the only solution was a liver transplant, and even then the disease can be recurring.

I was thinking selfishly. I was torn in two. What would our future look like? Could we have children? Could we ever do the things we used to?

Loving someone with an incurable disease is a mix of emotions. There is a constant fear in the back of my mind that he is going to wake up in intense pain and have to be rushed to the hospital. There is a constant fear of every time waiting for the bi-weekly blood test results to come back, in fear that his Bilirubin spiked again or he is undergoing a flare up and needs to be hospitalized. There is a constant anxiety that one day he's going to be fine, and the next day he won't be. Even the simple things, such as laying beside one another, was a constant fear I had, due to the pain he was in every day. What if I hit him in my sleep on accident? What if I accidentally hugged a little too tightly and caused him pain?

Loving someone with an incurable disease can be a fluctuation of emotions, however, he makes it worth it.

nadoty
nadoty

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