With so many things to accomplish, you may feel pressured to rush through things or multi-task. Attempting to get so much done can actually slow us down. When is the last time that you actually took a moment for yourself? Does is seem like your mind is constantly racing? Do you constantly worry about things? Despite the pressure you may feel to keep working, you may be more productive if you allow yourself to take a break.
Prioritize you work.
If someone asked you to jump as high as you can to touch a high point on the wall, would you just start jumping over and over in the hopes of reaching the desired mark at some point? Wouldn’t it be more productive to come up with a strategy that would increase your likelihood of hitting the mark? The same is true in preparing for semester exams. Take a moment to think about what needs to be accomplished to get ready for tests or to complete papers. Then, come up with a realistic schedule that allows you to prioritize. Consider what needs to be completed first or what may be the most urgent. Then, allow for some flexibility in case something unexpected comes up.
Put life in perspective.
Consider what is driving you to work so hard. Are you placing your entire worth on your accomplishments? How much of an impact will getting an A on the next test have on your life overall? In a rigorous academic environment, it is easy to lose perspective of what is truly important. Spend a few minutes reflecting on your values. Are your current tasks in line with them? When engaging in activities that do not feel meaningful, it can increase our sense of stress. On the contrary, engaging in meaningful tasks can feel very satisfying, even if it may be exhausting.
Take a moment to engage in relaxation exercises. Focus on your breathing. The easiest way to breathe correctly is to place one hand on your chest and the other on your stomach. Breathe in slowly through your nose and exhale through your mouth. As you breathe in, the hand on your stomach should move out as your belly expands. Your hand should move again when you exhale as your belly deflates. However, the hand on your chest should barely move. You might also consider engaging in meditation. Much research evidence points to its mental health benefits.
Spend time with friends.
How often have we kept our eyes on our smart phones rather than engaging with those sitting next to us? Living in an age where much of our social interactions occur online can prevent us from reaching out to those who are close to us. Instead of connecting via social media, spend some actual time with your friends. Open up and let them know how you are really doing.
If you find that you are still feeling overwhelmed, contact the Counseling Services at 567-2648. We are here to help you work through problems.
If you would like to take an anonymous online screening for depression, alcoholism, bipolar disorder, eating disorders, generalized anxiety disorder or post-traumatic stress disorder, please visit the Counseling Services website.
This post was written by Mia VeVe, Ph.D., director of the Student Counseling Center.