if the world was perfect, it wouldn’t be

As I’m applying for my graduate school programs, one of the most challenging things to manage is … well, everything. Juggling school, work, and extra-curriculars is difficult enough, but to add in something that determines the rest of my life can be, at moments, unbearable. I’ve noticed my body reacting in different ways, many similar to the back pain I mentioned in my previous post. Something that’s taken me off guard is the mental roller coaster that I’ve been on throughout the entire process. One moment I can be feeling confident and on top of the world, knowing that I am going to be able to carry out my dreams, and then, a couple of hours later, I see myself living in a van down by the river.

Now I know how I can physically relieve the stress that builds up in my body as tension, I simply go to the gym. Something that I’ve been struggling with is how to treat the mental aspect of my health.  Unfortunately, this is something that too many people fight with. Sadly, many people do not even realize that mental health is truly an aspect of health. This is something that needs to change within our society, and it can only be changed with work and practice on being mentally healthy, just as a healthy diet and regular exercise regime must be practiced for physical health.

One thing that I have going for me is that I have a WONDERFUL support system; my friends and family love and support me more, and I will forever be grateful for them. Something that I do in return for their love and support is to love and support them right back. Those closest to you can always tell when you feel physically sick, and they can tell when something’s going on otherwise, too. Everyone says, “Hey! How are you?” when they’re greeting you; sometimes you need to look a person in the eye and say, “How are you really doing?”

Something that I’ve been doing for myself is to watch my thoughts. When I see them spiral out of control in a negative turn, I catch myself and take a deep breath. Beating myself up over my own negative, usually unreasonable, thoughts is not going to help anything. It’s not always easy, but I treat myself just as I treat a child: I redirect myself.

I know that I can always count on my support system to listen to me if I just need to get things off my chest. However, I’m lucky that I have a great Student Health Center with an awesome mental health department. Sometimes, it’s better to talk to an unbiased third party; their thoughts and opinions from a different perspective can be incredibly helpful.

The point of all this rambling is to not only take care of yourself, but also take care of those around you. Be there as a listening ear or a shoulder to cry on, everybody’s different.

 

 

Mental Health is a serious issue. If you or someone you know needs immediate attention call a Mental Health Help Hotline, or emergency services. If you’re a Mizzou Student, be sure to check out your resources on campus.

 

The Weight of the World on my Shoulders – Ouch!

Since school started, my back has been hurting. At first I just attributed it to stress. Being in a new apartment, as well as starting a new semester is incredibly stressful. To my dismay, it kept getting worse. Still, I was doing more and more both in and out of the classroom and I chalked it up there as my stress level increasing.

I had been sitting for a while in the Student Union working on homework for a while when I looked down at the table in front of me. I was sitting at a rather large table, and yet when I looked down I saw no tabletop. The entire table was covered in stuff that I had been pulling out of my book bag for the past couple of hours. I have one medium sized binder that I keep everything current in for each course, my laptop, a notebook, one textbook, one reference book, some pens and pencils, a calculator, a stick of deodorant, and my clicker. Individually, none of these items are incredibly weighty. Even together, they’re not outrageously heavy.

As I have discovered, the issue is my binder. At the beginning of the semester it was mostly empty, just had a few sheets of notes and syllabi. Since I have gathered more and more notes, the binder has gotten increasingly heavy.

What’s the point in all of this? Little things add up. One single sheet of paper is seemingly weightless, but when accumulated to a stack of papers an inch and a half thick, the papers acquire a weight. In life we tend to let the little things just “roll off our back.” Sometimes we say they have rolled off our back, but really they haven’t. Just like a single sheet of paper, those little things add up.

Dealing with things one by one is much easier than dealing with everything all at once. Stress adds up within the body and must find ways to exit; it will do everything it can to get out, no matter how much discomfort it causes. Find something, even something small, that you can do on a daily basis to relieve your stress before it starts weighing you down.