I always thought senior year was supposed to be "the year of fun." Whenever I saw seniors lying around the great lawn on campus, or lounging around elsewhere not doing homework -- ever! -- I assumed that one day I would take on that carefree, couldn't care less spirit, and spend my days napping, watching bad TV and enjoying my last year of absolute freedom. What a beautiful scenario, right?
Let me tell you though, that couldn't be farther from the truth. Not only do I have more homework than I ever did, -- don't ask me why, I honestly have no idea -- I also have to worry about finishing my major/minors with the best grades I possibly can, of finishing a thesis, and, to top it all of, I have to worry about the impossible (really, really, impossible) task of finding a job.
Talk about stress, huh?
And since I know I'm not the only senior, -- or freshman, or sophomore, or junior, -- that's currently dealing with more stress than anyone should ever have to handle, I've put together a small list with the most effective strategies for dealing with stress on a college budget and with limited college resources.
Here they are:
- Yoga/meditation: I know what you're thinking. Of course I had to include yoga in this post because stress + yoga = match made in internet heaven, right? I promise though, this really does help (and I really do practice yoga on occasion, so I'm not lying through my teeth here.) I don't know what about it helps so much -- probably the fact that you are all but forced to take so many deep breaths, -- but I really do notice a difference in how relaxed I feel before and after a yoga class. Plus you can't really concentrate on balancing a pose and solving all of your life's problems at the same time, so you have to let go of the never-ending cycle of worry (at least for an hour or so).
- Watching really bad TV shows/movies: I have a confession to make. Of this, I am an expert. Think something bad, something so, so bad, it's actually good. The Bachelor is a great example of this, and the finale this Monday (which I totally didn't see), an even better one. You should essentially look for something that requires little concentration, that way you can multitask and catch up on your homework/ talk on the phone/ eat your heart out as you laugh at whatever outrageous show is playing in the background. Tip: The Kardashians never disappoint but pretty much all reality TV shows will get the job done -- the faker, the better.
- Food: This one sort of speaks for itself doesn't it? Starting with yoga or any other form of exercise is usually a better idea, -- a long run or a quick weight lifting session are great at improving a bad mood, -- but if all else fails and you find you can't even get yourself to the gym, the comfort of food is generally a good and very quick relief from stress. I know everyone has different opinions on the specific kinds of foods that should be eaten depending on the mood, so I wont comment on that, and I won't tell you what my favorite thing to eat is, cough, ice cream, cough. All I have to say about this one is: Eat and eat and eat, and then repeat.
- Friends: Last but not least, spending time with friends and family is often the greatest medicine at time like these. Even when you feel like a hermit or think that, since everyone around you has suddenly become so absolutely and undyingly frustrating, it's surely better to be alone than risk being rude to someone, its always good to make an effort to spend quality time with those who know you best. They might have something useful to say, and if they don't, just talking about a problem helps.