What I'm Working On: Stress

I have not only caught END-OF-SEMESTER SYNDROME but END-OF-SCHOOL-YEAR SYNDROME. Those of you not yet in college will one day know what I am talking about, and those of you in or out of college know exactly what I’m talking about. I don’t want to wake up, I’m over my classes, I don’t want to do homework let alone study for finals, I don’t want to get dressed—I’m just done.

This only adds to how straight-up stressful the past few weeks have been. As Sunday night faded into Monday morning my girlfriend and I lay in bed absolutely dreading another week. I honestly didn’t think I could go through another five days of commuting, homework, and exhaustion. I just wanted to stay home, sleep and watch Dance Moms.

I did not want a repeat of last week--it could have easily turned into one--so I've put a few things into action:

  •  Listening to the “I Wanna’s”: Sunday I read the post What my Fear block needed me to say (which I encourage you to read after this), and it was like looking in a mirror. Jenn writes The thought of having to go to work, interact with people, smile, talk – it did absolutely nothing for me. Well, that’s not true, it made the anxiety and irritation blow up ever bigger inside of me.” This is exactly how I woke up yesterday (Monday) morning: nothing seemed more terrible than pulling my head off the pillow and sitting in classes for three hours. The little kid in my head screamed to stay home where it’s warm and safe! Jenn says to listen to this voice, go deeper than the initial “I wants” and find what you need in the moment, the day, or the week. This post turned my week around. I looked into why I wanted to stay home: to be somewhere I feel comfortable, relaxed and unrushed (essentially). I feel settled at home, like I’m in my space, like time is slower here. Monday I decided to make everywhere I went like home, and I did it in myself. My girlfriend drives with me to campus, and she is my home, so I remembered that: I’m home no matter where I am with her. I focused my mind on where I was in the moment—the hallway, the car, the desk—and on what I was doing instead of where I was going. This kept me from feeling rushed and feeling here. I walked slower and took deeper breaths to keep a clear mind and calm being to keep my “rushing” at bay. Just by reconstructing how I live within my “self” and my “body” I reconstructed how I felt in the various environments I moved through in the day. You can’t always be in your windows and doors “home,” but if you make home in you, you take it everywhere, and that’s just what I’ve needed. What are your fears and wants telling you? Are you listening to them?

  • Praying: Kristen texted me over the weekend “The Lord loves me!” When I asked why she explained that a few days back she had prayed for relief from financial anxieties and went into how He had answered them. This sparked jealousy in me. How was it that easy for her? Why did God listen to her while I’ve been having such a crummy week? Underneath jealousy was shame, because I don’t pray like I used to. Even knowing this, I closed out of the text and went on without sending a Hello to my Creator. Only yesterday morning did I really think about Kristen and her text and that I could pray anytime of any day. I stopped and said a quick prayer to God/The Divine, telling Him what I needed that minute, that day, and this week. I even added a request to find an easy parking spot… Forgetting the prayer after I said it, I was oblivious to the ways the Lord answered it. The problem is never Him not listening to me, but me not listening to or seeing Him. He is with me at all times, but since I can’t visually see Him, it’s easy to forget. Yesterday afternoon it hit me in the car just how much He listened even when I didn’t talk to Him. Everything I was praying for was being heard and responded to without my knowing, even the parking spot! He didn’t answer in the ways I expected, because He never does. Just as Jenn reminds herself that she is in the palm of the Universe’s hand, I have to remind myself that my Lord, my Creator, the Divine, or whomever you send your prayers and praises to, is inside of me. He is in my beating heart, my typing fingers, and my soul. He never leaves me, is always guiding me—I am always in the palm of his hand. It’s easiest to forget this during a bad week, because our minds are so easily distracted and our time is so effortlessly put elsewhere, but I challenge you to change this as I am challenging myself. This week I pray for patience, peace of mind, and the strength and energy to walk my path.

  • Be Present: Just as I’ve said in this post and past, don’t just get through your day to be over it. LIVE THIS DAY! THIS WEEK! Even if it is horrible, live it and be in it! Even when you’ve had a screaming fight with someone you love or somehow screwed everything up (which I bet you haven’t), don’t throw that away! There’s something in those times for you: it didn’t just happen to happen. Trying to get through a period of time means you miss something beautiful. It’s inevitable. You miss a smile from a stranger, the wonderful life and sounds going on around you, the feel of rain drops on your bare skin, and ultimately the moment you are in. It’s like you aren’t even there. I don’t know about you, but I want to be right here, right now, but it’s so hard. My mind is constantly racing from next week’s exam, to how I did on my last one, to plans for the summer, and back to my homework I should be doing right now. Rarely are my thoughts and energies centered solely on where I am, but I want to experience and live my life, because it’s mine. The good, the bad, and the stuff I want to forget, it’s all mine—why would I want to miss that? Being present keeps my anxiety under control and my focus stronger; I become more aware and make clearer decisions. How do you remain present (if you try at all)? I use my breath, slowing down, and focusing on one thing at a time. Yoga helps me with all three!

Some weeks are going to be awful and stressful and make you cry with frustration. When you find something that works for you, you aren’t going to do it just right every day, but not every day has to be like this. I transformed my week, and you can change yours. The best part is, it’s only two days into the school week and I’ve already forgotten to put some of my new favorite tools into practice, tried to get over the day, and found myself right back in the cycle. That’s okay, because I took a breath and restarted. That’s the relieving piece: you can restart as many times as you need. 


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