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Ways to Self-Care While Going Through a Transitional Period

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

If you’re the type of person that happily welcomes change with open arms, I truly applaud you. There is nothing more impressive than wanting to expose yourself to new experiences and not letting fear hold you back. And although many people acknowledge how change is necessary for growth, it is much easier to thrive in a familiar and comfortable chapter of your life. Still today, even I view change as a door into the unknown where there are a plethora of opportunities to fail. My first year of college was the biggest life adjustment that I’ve ever had. I spent most of my time trying to balance all of the new things happening and spent any free time stressing over my next steps. There are also so many people who move states, or even countries, to spend four years of their life in a completely different environment to rigorously study day in and day out. 

College comes with its own obstacles–academically, socially, and mentally. Needless to say, I struggled with my mental health very early on in the year and I experienced burnout prematurely as well. A synonym for transition, though, is progress and as uncomfortable as it is, these changes are inevitable and imperative so we can develop into better people. As you encounter these hurdles over the course of college and the rest of your life, it’s always good to keep tabs on how you’re doing physically and emotionally. Taking care of yourself and learning how to mitigate stress is a tool that is crucial to surviving failed midterms, packed schedules, the intricacies of friendship, homesickness, and so much more. 

The first and smartest thing to do when feeling overwhelmed is to take a breath. Inhale and exhale. One more time just for good measure. When we are caught up in too many new things, it can be so easy to get tangled up and start spiraling down. You can get so overwhelmed trying to adapt that you suddenly find yourself with tense shoulders and a clenched jaw. Remember to take breaks to breathe and relax. Taking a walk, meditating, or showering in between events can reset your mind throughout the day.

Sometimes when you have so much to do, it can be hard to find a place to start. Compartmentalizing helps to organize your thoughts and things to do. Sort through exactly what is happening in your life by keeping note of new people or events. Write lists, jot down messy notes, or make pretty spreads. I like to use the app Notion, which is a platform used to create calendars, to-do lists, and more while allowing you to add your own pictures, fonts, and colors.

As terrifying as it is, transitional periods shouldn’t be thought of as a dull intermission while you wait for something interesting to happen. To make sure you’re getting the most out of your new life events, working on manifesting your goals and desires is a good idea. You know the feeling when you’re daydreaming of the future and your heart gets warm and excited. Putting those dreams out into the universe will solidify them and you may get a rush of motivation when looking at them. I like to make mood boards on Pinterest so that I can always look through the collection of pictures and be reminded of what I’m working towards. It’s nice to view the future in a positive light so that you’re not already discouraged before you enter the new era of your life. Whether you have daily mantras, write out your goals, or make mood boards like me, manifesting is a great reminder that change can be good and a positive thing.

Mental health is crucial to how you perform for the rest of your life, so don’t forget to take care of yourself first. When everything changes around you, it’s easy to dismiss your own emotions. Just remember that everyone has to go through change and it’s never the end of the world. With the hustle culture that everyone seems to have taken on, I really feel that people neglect the beauty of daily life. It’s always helpful to stop and remember that our problems are never as big as they may seem and they’ll pass, as everything does. New changes won’t always feel so new, and eventually, they won’t feel as scary either.

Karina is a second year Biochemistry & Molecular Biology major at UCD. Although she is STEM based academically, she enjoys advocating the feminist movement, having conversations about the political climate, whilst trying to remind herself and others to enjoy the simplicity of life through it all. She is passionate about writing what's on her mind in hopes that others can relate and find a sense of community.