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Mental Health

Is the Spring Season Crowd Draining Your Energy? Here are Some Ways to Relieve Sensory Overload

You’re walking alone with an hour before your next class, and you find yourself stuck in the middle of the quad. You go to Starbucks and the line extends outside; everyone is taking pictures. It’s more than you can take—it happens and you are not silly for feeling anxious, so here are some ways to cope with the sudden flow of either the cherry blossom crowd, campus tour crowd, orientation crowd, or maybe just the regular crowd.

Realize that what you are feeling is rational and natural

Your mind can only take in so much input at once and feeling overwhelmed from so many faces passing you by is just your caveman brain’s way of protecting you from danger—even when you’re not in danger!

Remove yourself from the situation if possible

Go to the library or find an empty classroom—just sit and relax for a while!

Find some ground in reality

Recite your name, age, and birthday in your head. Or ask yourself some binary questions (Is the sky blue? Am I in Washington? etc.).

Focus on something

Make a list of all the colors you see, or what you can hear. taste, smell, or touch

Stare at a blank wall

Go inside a bathroom stall and notice the scratches on the door.

Put headphones on

You don’t even have to listen to anything! But you can also put on your favorite calming  or classical music

Touch something

Put your hands in your pockets and fiddle with an eraser or a blueberry.

Exercise your breathing

Breathe in for 4 seconds, keep your breath for 7, and exhale for 8 seconds.

Good luck out there!

Mayumi is an undergraduate student at the University of Washington majoring in Political Science and Cinema and Media Studies, minoring in Informatics. She grew up in the Philippines and went to high school in Washington state. She is an advocate for socioeconomic equality, civil rights, and anti-imperialism. She likes sightseeing and listening to music, drinking tea, and over-analyzing movies. Contact her through mayumi.alino@yahoo.com
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