Studying abroad has been a dream come true, but it is also an overwhelming experience. Between exploring Milan, taking trips to other Italian cities, planning future trips, and starting classes, I have been feeling a little stressed out.
Balancing everything is not easy. Meeting new people is exhausting and culture shock is overwhelming. Learning how a culture works and adapting to a new lifestyle is so exciting, but it can also be stressful at times. I have quickly learned that I need to remember to make time for myself and to do things that I enjoy doing and that relax me. I have always been the kind of person that stays busy and says “yes” to everything. Since being abroad, I have found that I need to find a way to balance my time so that I don’t become too overwhelmed and stressed.
Take a break from social media. Stop looking at all of the travel blogs and Instagram accounts, wondering why you aren’t posing in front of the Eiffel Tower or basking in the sun on the Amalfi Coast. You will get to those places someday. Just focus on the now and enjoy being where you are. Also, keep yourself from constantly checking out your friends’ social media. This will just make you feel homesick and question if studying abroad was the right choice. Don’t spend your time wishing away your adventure.
Find a place that relaxes you. Personally, I enjoy being in cute coffee shops, finding a comfy chair, and sipping on a coffee or tea. I also enjoy doing homework, writing, or reading a book in a coffee shop. When the weather is warmer, I also like to find parks where I can just walk or sit and read a good book or listen to music.
Exercise. Exercising is proven to improve your mood and boost your energy. When I get stressed I like to go for a run. I turn my music on and I don’t have to think about anything. I can just completely relax and let go of everything. (Running also makes me feel better after eating a whole pizza and gelato for dessert.)
Journal. I love writing and journaling. It allows me to get all of my thoughts out of my head and put them on paper. (This also works especially well if you are having trouble sleeping!) Sometimes it is just easier to see all of your thoughts on paper rather than trying to sort through them in your head.
Read a good book or watch your favorite show on Netflix. Sometimes escaping into another world is just what you need.
Don’t be afraid to text your friends from home or skype with your family. They are there to support you and they want you to have a good time! They also want to hear about your travels and your adventures. They’ll listen to you vent and allow you to let out your stress and frustration.
Photo: Max Tanner