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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Tampa chapter.

College can be extremely hectic, especially with all the coursework, clubs, events, and other commitments. But what happens when you finally have some free time and can unwind for a little while? For me, it’s important to keep myself busy even when I do get the day to myself. Otherwise, I risk getting trapped in these hypothetical “what if” scenarios. “What if I was back home right now, spending time with my loved ones, friends, and even the pets that I really miss?” After some time, those “what if’s” can wear on me. However, by keeping myself occupied, I am able to remind myself that this is my new life, and I’m starting a brand-new chapter, which is genuinely exciting, and I should take advantage of every minute. Here are five ways I keep myself busy when I’m feeling overwhelmed by “what-if’s”:

  1. Getting Coffee: If exploring new coffee shops every week is a hobby, then consider it mine. This not only gives me a boost of energy, but I also enjoy looking through the many coffee shops because they are all so unique in their aesthetics and variations. In this type of environment, I  have a sense of calmness and ease, and I feel most comfortable.
  1. Working out: The gym is a good way for me to keep my mind off of all the bad thoughts. I channel all of my stress and frustration at the gym! I let it all out, and by the time I’m done, I’m so worn out that I don’t want to waste any more energy caring about any of my other issues.
  1. Reading: Simple as it is, I find that this distraction is the most effective. I enjoy losing myself in the world of fiction and temporarily escaping from reality because it helps me to be present and concentrate on thoughts other than my own.
  1. Take lots of pictures: Now, I get that this can seem like a routine activity, but I mean, go outside and spend some serious time taking some really good images, not simply a fleeting moment. Consider the perspective, the world around you, and the best way to capture a specific moment. I enjoy doing this whenever I want to take a brief moment to observe the world and how I want to always remember it.

    5. Sitting outside and observing: This one kind of ties into step number four, but instead of using your phone, set it aside for a while and simply take in your surroundings. Even the weather, whether it’s sunny or cloudy (ideally you don’t sit outside in the rain), but even if you do… simply observe the many different people and how they interact. I like to do this to maintain my attention on the here and now—not the what-ifs or what I wish I could have—but the present moment.

    Taylor Quinn is a social media manager and writer for Her Campus at Tampa chapter. She is part of the social media team who posts regularly for Her Campus events and updates as well as engaging with viewers and followers. Her articles cover a variety of subjects, including pop culture, entertainment, and lifestyle topics. Taylor is a sophomore at the University of Tampa who is majoring in both Film and Communications, Media, and Culture. She has worked on numerous student film sets and is currently a member of a number of clubs at the University of Tampa, including Tampa's Cru, a religious organization, and being a student mentor to incoming freshmen. Taylor is from Kansas City, Missouri and enjoys exploring big cities, watching movies playing her guitar, listening to music, and adventuring new places.