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My Anxieties (And Overcoming Them)

I said I was going to chill out with the deep posts. Fooled ya!

Last Spring was by far the worst semester of my college career. I’m a person who prides myself on working hard, getting good grades, and having good time management skills, and last Spring, I felt like no matter what I did, I was coming up short in all aspects of my life. I was constantly exhausted and overworked, my anxiety was getting worse due to the amount of stress, and I was miserable.

My second worst semester was the Spring before that (are you noticing a trend?). So, when this Spring came along I began expecting the worst. Spring semesters, in my experience, are just tougher. My classes seem to be harder, more time consuming, and my schedule is never balanced. When January rolled around and we came back to school, I told myself I was not going to fall into the traps of past Springs, and I was going to be prepared and ready for anything.

Fast forward to the end of February where we are now, and I can feel the Springtime stress I know all too well creeping back into my life.

I think one of the biggest issues is that, as a coping mechanism for my anxiety, I NEED “me time”. I become easily consumed in work because I’m an absolute workaholic and perfectionist– what a duo. So when Spring rolls around and I have a hectic schedule that is difficult to manage, I lose “me time” in order to get things done because in my mind, grades and school are above EVERYTHING else in my life. So I get sent down this toxic spiral of working, not having me time, getting anxious from not having me time, not being able to focus on work because I want me time, falling behind, and so on.

Now, this is not a post calling people to check in on me. I truly am fine, and I think right now I’m more stressed about the stress I anticipate than the things that are currently going on. This post is also not necessarily about this class, but the larger schedule of my life, that this class is included in.

This post is a call to action. I want to kick Springtime stress in the butt.

I was inspired to write this ever since we did the in-class activity where we talked about the absolute worst things that could go wrong in our class. Just talking about those ideas made me physically anxious, and I don’t think that’s good. I forced myself to think about those worst case-scenarios long term. Will they truly effect my ability to get a job? I don’t think so. Will they effect my ability to live a happy life? Maybe temporarily, but not long-term. Will they hurt people I care about? Probably not, maybe my group members temporarily but we would have each other to get through it hopefully. At the end of the day, these things probably won’t happen, but the exercise forced me to realize that if they did, I would survive and function and live a happy life.

How am I supposed to curb the anxieties I feel? I’m not entirely sure. Anxiety has been something I have struggled with since my 10th grade year of high school, and I am proud to say I have, for the most part, found wonderful ways to cope and help. Still, it has seemed like Spring semesters are my kryptonite, and I’m suddenly left feeling alone and like a failure in the blink of an eye.

I’m on my third Spring semester, and I still don’t know “the answer”, but I do have an idea on where to start. I think a good place to start is to set “hours” for myself when possible. I am notorious for checking my email constantly and never turning off “work mode” even when I do have “me time”, which is probably why I feel like I need so much “me time”, because it’s not satisfying when I’m still thinking about everything that has to get done. I text people at midnight to talk about things that could wait until tomorrow morning because I can’t stand to go to sleep without any possible stressor resolved, and that’s not healthy. My goal for this semester is to not just “manage my time”, because I think I’m doing that– but to manage my time in a healthy, sustainable way that betters me and the people around me by allowing myself to be more present and not work constantly.

This is not only a goal I have for myself, but a goal I think a lot of students could benefit from. So I challenge you, readers and classmates, to go on this journey with me.

2 Comments

  • Martha

    There is so much I can related to in this post!! I’ll share two things that maybe you’ll find useful. If not, ignore!

    First, a wise person (trained in therapeutic methods) once told me that we tend to procrastinate and avoid work when we’re not giving ourselves permission for “me time.” It’s not that we avoid the work we need to do by doing the stuff we want. Rather we just sit and stew and get NOTHING done because we’re resentful on some level of not intentionally carving out time for the stuff we enjoy and that reinvigorates us. SO, I HIGHLY recommend building in “me time” into your schedule.

    Second, I used to be AWFUL about falling asleep if I felt there was anything little unresolved issue going on. I would lie awake at night trying to come up with stuff that I should be worrying about. It was pretty terrible. I started to keep a small journal next to my bed and whenever one of those things would come into my head, I would write it down. It felt like by writing it down I was “holding” it for the morning when I would be refreshed. The stuff that would keep me up at night stopped being so anxiety-producing! After a while, I stopped even needing the journal. The trick, for me, was to write down ANYTHING I was ruminating on that was keeping me from getting the sleep I needed. Sometimes, I’d wake up the next day and read the list and think, “Why was I even worrying about that?!”

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