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What to Do When You Feel Lost

Truthfully, when I pitched the idea for this article, I was feeling a bit overwhelmed myself. I had decided that I was lost, and hoped that, through writing this article, I would be able to figure out the secret to self-discovery and effective planning skills. Unfortunately, I have some bad news: there is no secret.

If you are reading this in times of hopelessness, whether you have a term paper due, a scary exam on the horizon, or if family or personal issues are causing you to rethink your life, you are not alone. Although there may not be any “cure” for the anxiety or uncertainty that may be plaguing you, there is a way to completely change your outlook on the situation. 

It is important to note that, by finding yourself here, you are already doing a great job! You have identified your uncertainty, and have decided to take constructive steps in order to rehabilitate your mindset. There are undoubtedly many pressures associated with life and growing up, which can be daunting and overwhelming at times. However, the way that you choose to react to these will ultimately have a large impact on your mental state. In order to maintain a healthy mind and spirit, it is important to take care of yourself right now, in this moment!

It can be tempting to start stressing over events which haven’t occurred yet, or goals that you have yet to reach, but don’t fall into this trap! Check in with yourself, and remember to breathe. One strategy that has helped many to approach things one at a time is the creation of lists. Write down everything that you need to get done today, even the small things! Every time you cross something off, it will remind you how much you have accomplished, and will establish a visible goal as the final item on your list. This allows you to only focus on the things that require your immediate attention, and will alleviate anxiety related to events that lie farther in the future. Only once you’ve prioritized, and identified the things that require your focus at this moment, should you start to plan for events that may be approaching.

In addition, it is important to check in with your self-care. Ensure that you incorporate nutritious meals and adequate resting periods into your schedule, even on your busiest days. Even though you may feel so stressed that you have no time to eat or get enough sleep, you need to remember to take care of your body first. You can’t properly complete your work with a tired body and exhausted mind! If you find yourself overwhelmed at any point, consider one of the following self-care strategies: yoga, fresh air, coffee, consuming a balanced diet, reading a book, or taking a much-needed nap.

Anthony Tran
Anthony Tran / Unsplash

Once you have completed your work for the day, reward yourself. Take a deep breath, get cozy under blankets and watch an episode of whichever Netflix show you’ve been binging lately. Part of improving your mentality involves acknowledging your accomplishments and rewarding your hard work! 

A fuzzy screen in the back ground might say "netflix" but the image's selective focus is on a mug of some sort.

Now, I know this all seems easier said than done, but taking things one step at a time is the key to breaking down your anxieties. By isolating and approaching each stressor in your life individually, you will be able to attack each one with clarity and motivation! Don’t lose hope simply because something seems more difficult than you can handle. You can do this. And, when all else fails, talking with friends or family members helps tremendously. There are so many people, whether it’s your loved ones, or an advisor, or school faculty, who are able and willing to help you out with whatever life throws your way!

In life, there will always be something approaching that may cause you to feel lost or uncertain; it’s inevitable. Just know that approaching and tackling these things with a positive attitude and healthy mindset will lead to a much more successful and happy life! Keep working hard, don’t forget to take care of yourself, and you will thrive. 

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Lindsay Thompson / Her Campus

Avery is a sophomore Economics major, with minors in Business and French, at Siena College. Naturally, being from Massachusetts, she’s a big fan of the Bruins, Red Sox, Celtics and Patriots! Some of her favorite things include hiking and adventuring with her friends. Keep up with her adventures by following her on Instagram @avery_knous!
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