Recently, I’ve fallen into a place where I feel like I’m juggling too many things at once. Like Heracles slaying the Hydra, no matter how many tasks I finish, another two or three seem to rear their heads. In a typical week, I have well over ten time-consuming academic tasks, two two-hour meetings, and three thee-hour labs. On top of that, I’m on a programming team for Makers, a Viterbi Student Ambassador, and in a sorority. Of course, I also have to keep a gym schedule, and make time to meal-prep (Peep the allergy blog, I can only really eat at home). Of course, there also has to be time set aside to facetime my boyfriend from back home (yay long distance!), or keep up with family members.
All of that being said, my life is, literally, a plethora of lists.
And so, I get stressed. Like, reeeaaalllyyy stressed. And with my anxiety, I don’t even need stressful things to be stressed. It feels like my level of worrying is constantly on a spectrum that’s never at zero. Yet, I’m still standing, and kind of doing an okay(ish) job?
Engineering is stressful (duh), and if you’re like me and also want to join a mountain of clubs AND have a social life, you’re bound to run into anxiety. I recently had a conversation about keeping my mental health together in my time of lists, and realized a few things that I need to do (or do more of) to keep myself in check.
We often don’t talk about mental health when we’re deciding on colleges. We tend to get excited about dorms, food around campus, or which clubs we can join. No college tour guide will ever tell you, “And this is where I come to sit and lament about the mountains of work I have to do!”. And so, I have a list (I’m good at those), about some tips I have for those suffering from anxiety or just general college stress:
- Make time for yourself daily.
This is something I’m still working on. An advisor recently looked over my list of To-Do’s and asked, “Alice, where is your time to yourself on here?”, and I really didn’t know how to answer. I’ve been trying to include something like, watch a movie or make some art in my lists recently, and it’s been making a difference so far.
- Have a meditation journal.
This past Christmas, my mom gifted me this cutesy little journal filled with daily reflection entries. Each morning, I write about what my goals are, what I’m excited for, and how I’ll make space for gratitude. Each night before I sleep, I fill in entries on how I felt that day, and positive thoughts to carry me to bed. This little ritual has become something I look forward to, when I can take a deep breath and just focus on myself.
- Find someone to talk to.
It’s not impossible to find someone who feels exactly like you, or is in a similar predicament. Sometimes, sharing your collective stress can prove to be pretty useful, and you might even learn a new tip on how to deal.
These were just a few things from the top of my head. Hopefully, some of these might come in handy — they definitely do for me.
Counseling and Mental Health Services
USC Student Health offers students on both campuses Counseling and Mental Health Services at both the Engemann and Eric Cohen student health centers. Licensed clinical professionals are available by appointment for individual counseling, group programs, and campus postventions.
(213) 740-9355 (WELL)