It’s almost a month into the spring semester, and if there’s one word to describe the way I’ve been feeling, it’s exhaustion. I’m not alone in this thought. In fact, most people I’ve talked to have felt the same way. Whether it’s a more intense course load than the fall semester, the pressure to get a summer internship or job, the weather or maybe you don’t even know — we can all agree on one thing: The “scaries” suck. The term “scaries” has been tossed around for years now, specifically pertaining to the Sunday Scaries. According to Cleveland Clinic, the Sunday Scaries are described as feelings of intense anxiety and dread, often occurring on Sundays, to close out a perfectly relaxing weekend. Now take that feeling and apply it to an entire semester. Many students agree that the fall semester is generally better than spring, socially and academically. The dread towards the spring semester, combined with the rising mental health issues that almost half the population of college students experience, often results in the feeling of impending doom at the beginning of the spring semester. The “Spring Scaries” are very, very real. So, how do we go about them?
1. Realizing you’re not alone
I know, cliché, but it’s true. Many college students are often stuck in a weird stage of adulting, yet still, feel incapable of certain responsibilities. Almost everyone is struggling to find their place — use this to your advantage. There are plenty of resources, free of cost to college students. At the University of Florida, specifically, the Counseling and Wellness Center puts on frequent workshops and discussions, tackling different issues daily. The schedule (and more information) can be accessed here. Sometimes finding a place to vent about the struggles of being a college student can help keep your nerves at bay.
2. Weekend adventures
Something that’s helped me a lot is finding something exciting to look forward to on the weekends, especially after a busy week. These activities could range from exploring a coffee shop thirty minutes away, to a road trip to the beach or even exploring a park locally that you’ve never been to. The act of simply getting out of the area you’re used to on the weekdays helps your mind relieve stress, even if you don’t realize it at first.
3. Set time aside for yourself
As college students, we all end up feeling burdened with stress, one way or another. One of the most foolproof methods to reduce stress is to reserve time for yourself. Write a certain date or time in your planner to focus time on yourself — nothing, or nobody, else. You could try out a new hobby, such as painting or cooking, to help your mind distract itself from anxious thoughts. While it’s important to focus on the tasks in front of you, restricting your mind to only think about academic and career responsibilities can hurt your mind in the long run. There is tons of research from psychologists that discuss the importance of hobbies and time to yourself.
4. Keep a journal
This is one of the most beneficial ways that I’ve been able to manage my stress in college thus far. Whether it’s writing down things you’re grateful for, intuition or even a recap of your day, journaling is an effective way to focus your thoughts and truly understand your emotions. Psychology Today has an extremely helpful guide to different types of journaling methods that can guide you in starting your “journaling journey.” In addition to these, there are a variety of relatively cheap journals that you can buy that give guided prompts. Amazon has a ton of options. The link to best-selling journals can be found here.
Listen: It’s 2022. There is nothing wrong with going to therapy. One benefit of our constantly-developing society is the strides we are making around mental health. The stigma around mental health has drastically changed over the past five years, and plenty more resources have become available. There are tons of affordable options through insurance and websites such as Better Help, which try to get counseling for as many people as possible at affordable prices. Many college campuses also offer free counseling or consultations to students. The link to UF’s CWC consultations can be found here. Working with a therapist or counselor can be one of the most beneficial ways to understand your emotions and find ways to cope with them.
So, if there’s one thing we’re doing in 2022, it’s bettering ourselves. Find ways to push yourself out of your comfort zone. Remember: College isn’t all about getting an education. It’s equally important to discover things about yourself and better yourself as an independent individual.