Monday, February 29, 2016

Why do you look so stressed?

When I was in town a few weeks ago, someone I'd estimate to be in their late 40's asked me why I looked so stressed.
Who me?

A college student in their 20's, stressed?
Maybe a few of these stressors sound familiar to you: Uncertainty of what the heck you're going to be doing for the rest of your life, exams, group projects (that turn into you doing the group project), exercising, friends and family, eating, clubs, volunteer work, social media, roommates. Oh, and you either have a job or internship, or you're desperately searching for one.

We are all playing a game that teaches you how to find your balance. The good news is? As each semester becomes more challenging and involved, you learn to adapt. This is my sixth semester at Bloomsburg, and I have found that with each new semester and each passing year, the balancing game gets easier.

One advantage we have is our schedule. We have a pretty consistent outline of classes and clubs, which makes filling in the gaps a little easier. I have established a routine of basic activities I personally need to do to get me through my day as a sane human being. The first thing I do when I wake up is hit the gym. I love hearing my friends' reactions when they ask if I want to go to the gym with them at 6 p.m., and I tell them I was there 12 hours ago.

Waking up early allows me to have the morning to myself, which as we all know is hard to come by in college. Working out is one of those things that a lot of college students cut out because of time, but it really is one of the most important things you can do for yourself.

If you find it hard to get to the gym or work out, find a way to reward yourself after going, or drag your friends or roommate along with you to make it more enjoyable. I'll be dragging my roommate from sophomore year, Jess, because we have been promising to go to these classes since the fall of 2014. The Rec Center offers classes like Yoga and Pilates, which are focused on building your strength and clearing your mind.

The middle of my days are always the most chaotic- I find myself constantly worrying about where I have to be next or what else I have to get done, and I end up losing out on the moment that I'm in. This is something that I'm trying to get better at, which is why I have taken up mediation and deep breathing.
If you asked me to do this at any point before this semester, I literally would have laughed at you and told you that I have no time for deep breathing, because I barely have enough time in my day to breathe at a normal pace. Well, let me tell you, this has changed my life in so many ways — not in a crazy divine ways or even visible changes for that matter, but in smaller important ways.

I am not exaggerating when I tell you that this has made me slow down and feel more at peace with myself and my surroundings. Although I do still jump ahead to the next thing on my schedule, I am more conscious of doing this, and it's still a work in progress.
However, I am more productive, more energetic, and overall more attentive to my every day activities. I appreciate the little things more than I used to, something that is so easily taken for granted.

— Kate Armstrong, junior communication studies major #HuskyLife #ProfessionalU

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