Recently, I’ve been feeling off – things in all spheres of my life have been a bit overwhelming. I’m graduating in a year, which is a scary thing on its own, and on top of that, I don’t have an internship for summer. I’m navigating the ups and downs of my first relationship. I’m working through major mental health stress from my job. I’m learning how and where I will fit in to my future professional field. In other words – life is kind of kicking my ass. Although it can be easy to let self-destructive feelings take over, working through my panic era has taught me three important things.
1. I am not behind schedule.
In college – especially in a setting that encourages competition – it’s easy to feel like you aren’t doing things right. Your roommate might have gotten her dream internship months before you got your first rejection. People in your classes might be talking about applying for post-graduation jobs when you didn’t even know you should be looking. They are not you. It took me a little while to realize it, but my life is on my schedule and while taking other people’s advice can be helpful and guiding, it’s not how I have to define my future.
2. Take it slow.
College life has thrown a lot of curveballs at me. Sometimes it feels like I’m just dodging the shots instead of playing the game. It feels like I have to move so fast just to get by – or do I? A lot of stressful situations that I encountered can be managed with one simple thing: slowing down. Taking time to look at all the things in my life is inexplicably beneficial. Taking a deep breath and thinking “What exactly is causing my stress?” can relieve stress in the moment and in the future.
3. Get out of my own head.
When feeling overwhelmed, it’s easy for me to get stuck in a cycle of intrusive thoughts. I’ve found that doing little activities to get out of my head has really helped me to stay positive throughout many slumps. Some of my favorite getout-of-my-head activities include working out, cooking a meal, and reading a book. I’ve also found hanging out with my favorite people is helpful. Isolating myself is something that I tend to do in high stress situations, but trying to deal with problems completely on my own often made things worse.
If your panic era seems never-ending, I promise it isn’t. Life doesn’t always get easier, but you can get better at managing all the things life throws at you. My panic era seemed like it had gone on forever and would never stop. But one day, I started to feel better. And every day after that got better and better. All I did was keep my eyes open so I could see the light at the end of the tunnel. Keep your head up, listen to a good song, make your favorite dinner, andhang out with your favorite person. Let life throw things at you, because you know you can catch them.