Pacifica: Remember To Take Care Of Your Soul

Pacifica: Remember To Take Care Of Your Soul

A college students life is full of stress. Use this app to make sure you're taking care of yourself.
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Maintaining emotional well-being while in college can be hard. There are so many things to do; classes, homework, jobs, internships, clubs, meetings, events, socializing—and that's just to name a few. Sometimes even eating becomes something we need to make time for! But how can we make time to make sure our hearts are alright?

The Anxiety and Depression Association of America states, 80 percent of college students experience daily stress and 34 percent of college students have felt depressed at some point in the past three months. The Associated Press Survey found that 60 percent of students said stress interfered with their schoolwork.

With finals week on the horizon, stress may seem inevitable. I've had friends tell me they sometimes get so stressed that they feel paralyzed and end up not doing anything for hours. Here are healthier ways to manage your stress that'll hopefully prevent you from becoming overwhelmed.


Through Pacifica I have found an easy and fast way to relieve stress. The tagline is, "daily tools for managing stress, anxiety and depression." This may seem like more than you can add to your busy schedule, but it's really quite simple.

The tools include logging your mood throughout the day, journaling your thoughts, and participating in daily goals. These tools are not meant to be a burden, but to integrate into your life like how opening Facebook and Instagram has become a habit. You just open Pacifica, log your mood and that's all.

There are different levels of moods, so you can log that you are feeling good, bad, OK, great, awful and more. The creators of Pacifica understand that moods and feelings are more complicated than that, so they also have tags you can add when you log your mood. So if you're feeling very bad, you can also say you're feeling anxious, stressed, and lonely.

This helps to pinpoint your feelings and problems more thoroughly and make sure you understand what exactly you are feeling. Sometimes it's hard to really get to the bottom of a negative or positive feeling. You may be feeling down, but you don't know why. Pacifica asks you to go a little deeper and it gives you insight into yourself.

The journaling tool lets you record your thoughts and feelings then walks you through them. It shows you that you are not alone and while your mind may overreact, you can make a positive out of it. The activity titled, "Thinking Traps" makes you think of a time when you were anxious or upset, then you write down everything you felt during that moment. In the second step, you break down what you wrote into facts and negative feelings.

It asks you to highlight anything that you wrote that is a negative feeling that may not be true or is an exaggeration. The final step asks you to replace those negative feeling with advice or positive feedback that you may give a friend in the same situation. It teaches you how to treat yourself better and not be so hard on yourself when something bad happens. All of your journal entries are saved so you can look at them later and reflect when something bad happens again.

The third activity you can participate in is goal setting. There are goals that Pacifica provides you to choose from. They fall under many areas of your life like, family, work, social, romance, health, and destinations. This can challenge you in small ways to get out of your comfort zone and try something new. Some challenges include take a nap, go to the gym, write a letter, compliment a stranger, go to a museum, apply for a job, go to work, and more.

The goal I currently need to complete is arriving five minutes late. I am always early, and it makes me really nervous when I'm not. I don't understand how people can be late to classes or to meetings - I'm beginning to think it's impossible for me to be late, but this is a way for me to challenge myself and try something new.

After completing a goal, you get a list of completed goals, so you can always look back and see what you have accomplished. No matter if it's as small as brushing your teeth, or as big as going on a date, it's something to be proud of.

I have had this app for awhile, but they recently added some new social features. You can now join groups, like support groups. The groups are just to let you have a way to connect to others that may feel how you do. You can even start your own group and vent about how hard your classes are and how you're dreading finals week.

Another social feature that was recently added is a community thread. There you can find threads titled relax, health, music, books, stress, and personal stories. These sections give Pacifica users a place to anonymously talk about their thoughts and feelings as well as a place to help others. There you can get advice on how to handle stress or find new music that inspires you. If you become a premium member, you can post about your own experiences and share your favorite movies, videos, and books.

Basically, Pacifica is there for you when you need it. You can use it at your leisure. It's not a commitment that you have to follow, it's something you will want to use. It takes hardly any time, and won't take away from your other responsibilities throughout the day. It just sets some time aside for you to reflect.

So during finals week, take care of yourself. Yes, grades are important. Getting a degree is why we're in college, but if your soul is suffering, maybe it would be good to take a moment and check up on yourself.

One of my friends says that her mom asks her how it is in her heart. It's more than asking how you are. You can't shrug it off with a "good," and push through the sea of stress you're treading through. It requires a moment to stop, think and reflect. That's what Pacifica does. It has helped me a lot with getting my emotions and thoughts in check during stressful times. I'm sure it can help you too.

Cover Image Credit: listhunt.co

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College As Told By Junie B. Jones

A tribute to the beloved author Barbara Parks.
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The Junie B. Jones series was a big part of my childhood. They were the first chapter books I ever read. On car trips, my mother would entertain my sister and me by purchasing a new Junie B. Jones book and reading it to us. My favorite part about the books then, and still, are how funny they are. Junie B. takes things very literally, and her (mis)adventures are hilarious. A lot of children's authors tend to write for children and parents in their books to keep the attention of both parties. Barbara Park, the author of the Junie B. Jones series, did just that. This is why many things Junie B. said in Kindergarten could be applied to her experiences in college, as shown here.

When Junie B. introduces herself hundreds of times during orientation week:

“My name is Junie B. Jones. The B stands for Beatrice. Except I don't like Beatrice. I just like B and that's all." (Junie B. Jones and the Stupid Smelly Bus, p. 1)

When she goes to her first college career fair:

"Yeah, only guess what? I never even heard of that dumb word careers before. And so I won't know what the heck we're talking about." (Junie B. Jones and her Big Fat Mouth, p. 2)

When she thinks people in class are gossiping about her:

“They whispered to each other for a real long time. Also, they kept looking at me. And they wouldn't even stop." (Junie B., First Grader Boss of Lunch, p. 66)

When someone asks her about the library:

“It's where the books are. And guess what? Books are my very favorite things in the whole world!" (Junie B. Jones and the Stupid Smelly Bus, p. 27)

When she doesn't know what she's eating at the caf:

“I peeked inside the bread. I stared and stared for a real long time. 'Cause I didn't actually recognize the meat, that's why. Finally, I ate it anyway. It was tasty...whatever it was." (Junie B., First Grader Boss of Lunch, p. 66)

When she gets bored during class:

“I drew a sausage patty on my arm. Only that wasn't even an assignment." (Junie B. Jones Loves Handsome Warren, p. 18)

When she considers dropping out:

“Maybe someday I will just be the Boss of Cookies instead!" (Junie B., First Grader Boss of Lunch, p. 76)

When her friends invite her to the lake for Labor Day:

“GOOD NEWS! I CAN COME TO THE LAKE WITH YOU, I BELIEVE!" (Junie B. Jones Smells Something Fishy, p. 17)

When her professor never enters grades on time:

“I rolled my eyes way up to the sky." (Junie B., First Grader Boss of Lunch, p. 38)

When her friends won't stop poking her on Facebook:


“Do not poke me one more time, and I mean it." (Junie B. Jones Smells Something Fishy, p. 7)

When she finds out she got a bad test grade:

“Then my eyes got a little bit wet. I wasn't crying, though." (Junie B. Jones and the Stupid Smelly Bus, p. 17)

When she isn't allowed to have a pet on campus but really wants one:

“FISH STICK! I NAMED HIM FISH STICK BECAUSE HE'S A FISH STICK, OF COURSE!" (Junie B. Jones Smells Something Fishy, p. 59)

When she has to walk across campus in the dark:

“There's no such thing as monsters. There's no such thing as monsters." (Junie B. Jones Has a Monster Under Her Bed, p. 12)

When her boyfriend breaks her heart:

“I am a bachelorette. A bachelorette is when your boyfriend named Ricardo dumps you at recess. Only I wasn't actually expecting that terrible trouble." (Junie B. Jones Is (almost) a Flower Girl, p. 1)

When she paints her first canvas:


"And painting is the funnest thing I love!" (Junie B. Jones and her Big Fat Mouth, p. 61)

When her sorority takes stacked pictures:

“The biggie kids stand in the back. And the shortie kids stand in the front. I am a shortie kid. Only that is nothing to be ashamed of." (Junie B. Jones Has a Monster Under Her Bed, p. 7)

When she's had enough of the caf's food:

“Want to bake a lemon pie? A lemon pie would be fun, don't you think?" (Junie B. Jones Has a Monster Under Her Bed p. 34)

When she forgets about an exam:

“Speechless is when your mouth can't speech." (Junie B. Jones Loves Handsome Warren, p. 54)

When she finds out she has enough credits to graduate:

“A DIPLOMA! A DIPLOMA! I WILL LOVE A DIPLOMA!" (Junie B. Jones is a Graduation Girl p. 6)

When she gets home from college:

"IT'S ME! IT'S JUNIE B. JONES! I'M HOME FROM MY SCHOOL!" (Junie B. Jones and some Sneaky Peaky Spying p. 20)

Cover Image Credit: OrderOfBooks

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The Things I Found At Rock Bottom

It was the darkest, but the dawn did come.

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About 3 months ago, my whole life was uprooted by a breakup.

My ex ended a relationship with me very suddenly that I had the full intention of being in for the rest of my life, and even thought I knew it was a necessary loss, coming down from that high and detoxing our toxic relationship from my system was the hardest thing I have ever been through. There was a day I finished up in class and zoned out and started driving, until I found myself three hours away from home. I didn't eat for days, and I woke up every day having panic attacks when I remembered everything that had happened. The first few weeks were a dark, horrible blur, with pain at levels I would never wish on anyone. On top of that, I was also forced to move an hour away from home and quit a job that I loved as a result of the breakup.

I wasn't just losing a person, I was losing everything that I built my identity up to be. Our relationship was my whole life, and that's why I knew that us breaking up was necessary, but that didn't take away the two and a half years of memories I was left with. He also chose to end it in such a violent and excruciating way — telling me he never loved me, cutting off all contact with me, and basically telling me to kill myself. Sitting in the rubble of all of this, I had never felt so empty and void of happiness before.

But when you're completely shattered and sitting in nothing but rubble, you're presented with a beautiful opportunity — a blank canvas. There are no morning and night routines laid out for you, you don't have the same people texting you as before, you don't have the good morning text that you were used to. You have nothing. Because of these things, your own interests and desires become the default setting you're programmed to operate on, and you get to know yourself in a way that you didn't before.

Here's how I found my way out of the void.

1. Small distractions are so helpful.

.There were a few things that I turned to that were absolutely crucial to me when I was struggling to keep it together: New Girl, playing the game Words With Friends, and journaling (free-writing, and writing in these that I found at Target). Honestly, these things rarely actually made me feel better. However, the value I found in them was creating new habits and filling my life back up with things that didn't involve my heartbreak.

2. You need a support system.

I have always had a hard time trusting people and talking about my feelings. So I thought, naturally, the way to cope with that is to find one person you can trust, and for them to be your ride or die. That's what my ex was for me. When he was gone, I had to learn how to open up to people again, which was extremely foreign and uncomfortable for me. It was an odd feeling to text a friend and say "I'm not okay right now and I need you", and even more uncomfortable when they were nice and supportive back. But all of the dozens of people I leaned on ended up being literally a support system for me- giving me advice, keeping me in check, and telling me all of the things I didn't want to hear, like how pathetic I was acting at some points.

3. You absolutely cannot avoid pain in life.

A quote I found by Jon Kabat-Zinn reads, "You can't stop the waves, but you can learn to swim" and that became a guiding philosophy for me in dealing with pain. As comforting as it would've been for me to tell myself I'll never let anyone hurt me again, or I was never going to be in another relationship again, I instead decided to tell myself that I was never going to let something break me so deeply again, because I would have a stronger foundation of me and a stronger sense of self. So that when the next person left my life, I would be sad, but I wouldn't feel shattered to the core ever again. Life involves constant rejection, constant disappointment, and constant anxiety. You will never escape that. You will hurt so much throughout life. But if you can build yourself to be strong enough, it won't matter.

4. You can empathize with somebody and forgive their actions and still want nothing to do with them- and that's okay.

When my ex and I were together, he messed up and did a lot of things wrong. He would scream at me and tell me he hated me and apologize with so much fear and hurt in his eyes and say, "I'm sorry, sometimes my anxiety causes me to demonize you" and in the moment I wasn't strong enough to say "it's okay, but you're abusive and I need to be away from you". I instead would say, "It's okay, let's not worry about it and just go to bed" and it would keep on happening. I empathized too much with his demons and gave him too much understanding at my own expense. Now I've learned that I can still feel that way about him, but when he reaches out asking for another chance, I can say no. And I don't feel guilty anymore.

5. Your relationship with yourself should be your top priority.

To explain my experience of learning to love myself, it would take pages. Simply put, I started being okay with things just being me, myself, and I. If I had a rough day, I would at first come home wishing I had my ex there to talk to and be there for me. Eventually I started going to Target, picking up a bottle of wine, and taking care of my damn self. I stopped thinking "oh I'd love to do this but I don't have anybody to go with me" and started eating at restaurants alone, going to bars alone, and going on hikes alone. I bought myself jewelry that I wished a guy would buy me. I said yes to every guy that asked me out on a date just to put myself out there. I spontaneously went and got a new tattoo completely by myself. And now that I steady to the core in my own being, anybody in my life is there because they're a complement, not a supplement. This will protect me from ever staying in a relationship again that manages to gut me in the way my previous one did.

A quote that I love from J.K. Rowling reads, "Rock bottom became the solid foundation on which I rebuilt my life", and that is absolutely true of what the past three months have been for me. Day by day, I've pieced together a new identity and healed my soul. I wouldn't have been here if I hadn't hit rock bottom.

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