The transition between summer vacation and school can be difficult. You go from watching 12 episodes of Gilmore Girls a day to having class every day. You don’t have time to learn all the words to all of the songs from Hamilton (I’m working on “Guns and Ships”) anymore. You have to read on average 50 pages a day in any given textbook. You might not even have all your textbooks yet- I sure don't. You might also have some things going on at home (I do).
You go from relaxation to high stress.
I feel you, so here are some semi-serious tips to keep things under control when you feel like it’s all just a little too much.
As someone prone to panic attacks, I find that breaks are the only thing that keep me going sometimes. When I feel like I have too much to do and too little time, I make sure that I factor in a few minutes to gather my self and refocus on my tasks. Sometimes I end up on tumblr for an hour when I meant to check my email and go right back to my work, but for the most part, breaks keep me productive.
2. Find Your Chill Spot
Find a spot that you find relaxing and claim it as your own. After a big test or quiz, or even when you are just having a bad day, I find that if I have somewhere to go after that’s free of things that bother me, everything doesn’t seem so threatening. For me, my quiet spot is on the floor in the very middle of my bedroom when no one else is home. I spread out like a starfish surrounded by all my stuff, and instantly feel a little calmer. If someone else is home I try for a quiet spot in the library where no one can bother me. Take some time to center yourself, and let the stress just roll off of your body.3. Find Some Jams
As with any other moment in life, the perfect playlist makes everything better. Usually when I’m feeling really stressed or feel the beginnings of a panic attack, I like to listen to really mellow music. Music that is super upbeat will only accelerate my heartbeat, and that will just make everything worse. Usually some low-key electronic, acoustic or folk rock, or --a stealthy favorite of mine-- piano covers will do the trick. Staples on my mellow playlists are “Let It Go” by James Bay (the love of my life) and “Don’t Worry Baby” by the Beach Boys (who doesn’t love the Beach Boys?). I often find myself singing those to songs to myself when I feel a little tense. Who cares if I look crazy, jams are jams!
4. Eat Your Feelings!
When school things start to weigh on me, and I’ve dedicated all of my brainpower to doing everything I have to do, I sometimes forget to eat. I sometimes forget to eat even when I’m not stressed, but skipping meals is never good. If you eat a whole row of Oreos before midterms, you might feel a little sick, but no one will think any less of you. I try to always keep a granola bar in my backpack for when I start to get a little frazzled. I almost always feel a little better after eating. So always take a snack break! Eat your feelings; no one will judge you!
Lastly, find someone you can vent to. Find someone who will listen to you, and talk through the things you’re worried about. DO NOT find someone who tells you that your concerns are invalid or stupid. Newsflash: the last thing a person with anxiety needs to hear is that the things they’re worried about are senseless or invalid, because we already know! We know we don’t need to be so concerned, but we are. We can’t help it! And you never know if a person has an anxiety disorder unless they tell you, so its always a good idea to err on the side of caution. You also should let them tell you about the things they’re worried about; Compassion is a two way street. My best friend Emily is pretty awesome at this; she always knows just what to say to talk me down when I start to spiral. I only hope that she finds me as comforting.
If school is stressing you
out, it's always good to remember that things will get better as time goes on.
Sometimes it takes a little while to get back into the swing of school. If you
feel genuinely anxious, and can’t seem to calm down or find a way to alleviate
the tension, you might want to seek professional help. You can figure out your
own ways to keep things mellow during hard times; I can only hope that my
methods are helpful to someone else out there.
In the words of my bae: “Let it go, just let it be. Why don’t you be
you, and I’ll be me.”