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What to Do When Everything is Falling Apart (AKA De-Stressing)

Things were fine for me for awhile. I was keeping up with my schoolwork, living healthier, being more productive with household chores, being nicer to my friends, making more money, growing closer to God (yeah, spoiler alert: I’m a Christian, which I’m sure none of you really knew based on my inherent usage of the f-word), etc. etc.

And then it all came crashing down.

I’m not sure what it was. Still not sure. But, my focus has been lost, and my drive is non-existent. I snapped at middle-school parents the other day (“So what if you don’t know where buildings on campus are? Pull up a campus map online and be a better parent to know where your kid is.”), have a HUGE pile of laundry sitting in my closet, and almost broke my water bottle by tossing it across the room after I tipped it over the the tenth time in one day, ruining my bullet journal spread. So, I’m doing the only thing I know how to when the going gets tough and the world is crumbling around me: I’m writing about it. I’ve been doing some research and trying to learn different ways to de-stress. Below are some of the things I’ve tried, as well as my own personal success rate.

1. Cry

I hate crying. Really. I only cry when I’m angry, but last night was the final straw. I cried for like twenty minutes, head in my hands and everything. Think the dramatic moment in the drama film where the protagonist just lost her best friend to a car accident, and that’s me.

Success rate: 4/10. I still don’t feel amazing today, and the ridiculous pounding of my heart in my chest/lack of consistent breathing ability was not the most delightful thing. In fact, I started stressing more about whether or not I’d need to use my inhaler, which made things worse.

2. Journal/Write everything down

This one was interesting. I hate journaling because I’m a perfectionist — my handwriting becomes more loose and cursive-like (and spidery, I’ve been told) the longer I write. It doesn’t look as pretty, it’s inconsistent, and it makes me cringe. But, I just freewrote for like three days straight and put all my fears and hopes and desires down on the page (I limited myself to one page per day) and left them there to marinate.

Success rate: 5/10. I felt better, sure, but I’d re-read what I wrote and feel horrible all over again. Plus, handwriting hurts my hand, so there’s that.

3. Pray/Worship

For some people, this will be a dud. If you don’t believe in God, awesome, great, amazing, not my place to judge you (esp because I’m the most likely person to burn alive stepping foot into church), but for those of you do who or you just aren’t sure, it can be something to try. Note: Remember earlier when I said I cried? It was in the shower. Listening to Chris Tomlin and Casting Crowns blasted from my phone with me repeating, “Why the f*ck are you letting this sh*t happen to me?” over and over. Not one of my best moments, and probably not what I’m “supposed” to do but guess what? I felt better.

Success rate: 7/10. Forreal, there was, like, comfort or something that happened here. Like I was angry and burning and suddenly I was calm and, I don’t know, encouraged. Would highly recommend, friends.

4. Workout

I recently wrote an article about my “fitness” journey (if we can even call it that). I was feeling down, unmotivated, and exhausted, but I got up and blasted some Logic and Coin and went for it.

Success rate: 9/10. Legit, I felt so great afterwards. Adrenaline was going, I forgot everything that was going on, and realized that I need workout shoes. Idk what it is about weight lifting and doing excessive amounts of jumping jacks, but I was feeling myself afterwards and was ready to take on the world (except it was 11:45pm and I needed to go to bed instead).

5. Vent to your squad

Fam, I am not kidding when I say that it’s important to have a squad. Mine consists of three of my best friends (thanks, @HerCampus for helping me find the three most amazing women I’ve ever had the privilege of meeting and knowing in my life), and I vented to them for like twenty minutes the other night. It was literally just a bunch of “WHY AM I LIKE THIS????” texts and Michael Scott’s “Why are you the way that you are?” GIFs of me @-ing myself.

Success rate: 10000000/10. I felt SO much better after this. They didn’t just go “Omg poor thing that’s horrible,” but they were like “We love you and support you and here’s a bunch of ways you need to think about the situation and grow as a person to handle this.” And I felt so much more validated about my life and feelings (which, fun fact: I never have them but lately my heart has been thawing and I don’t know how to manage it so here we are).

Stress is the legitimate WORST. Everything is horrible, the room’s on fire, but you’re sitting there going, “This is fine.” Except it’s not. Are there some ways that you cope with stress that I didn’t mention? Leave a note in the comments and tell me about it!

Remember, Captains, CNU offers free therapy sessions in the Counseling Center above the Health Clinic at the Freeman if you need someone to talk to!

You can categorize Royall as either Leslie Knope when she has her color-coded binders: or Hyde whenever Jackie comes into a room before they start dating: There is no in-between.  Royall recently graduated with her B.A. in Sociology & Anthropology from CNU and now studies Government & International Relations at Regent University. She also serves as the Victim Advocate and Community Outreach Coordinator for Isle of Wight Co., VA in Victim Witness Services. Within Her Campus, she served as a Chapter Writer for CNU for one year, a Campus Expansion Assistant for a semester, Campus Correspondent for two years, and is in the middle of her second semester as a Chapter Advisor.  You can find her in the corner of a subway-tiled coffee shop somewhere, investigating identity experiences of members of Black Greek Letter Organizations at Primarily White Institutions as well as public perceptions of migrants and refugees. Or fantasizing about ziplining arcoss the French Alps. 
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