Swinging Bridge Magazine: March 2021

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STUDENT LIFE

Stress Free Semester RELEASING ANXIETIES

BY KAITLIN MERLINO

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t this point in the semester, we often begin to feel bogged down by the weight of our course load. No more busy work; we are now heading into the beginnings of papers, reports and team projects. Though it may appear like an insurmountable pile of homework has plopped itself in front of our paths, it is important to take each day one step at a time. Sooner or later, you will realize you have made it to the top. Keeping track of every due date and definition may cause your brain to feel a bit like a wet sponge: you simply cannot soak in any more information. Remember that you need to wring yourself out and allow your head to gain some of that space back. One way to accomplish this is journaling, though maybe not in the most traditional sense. When your mind begins to fill to the brim, grab a notebook or random slip of paper and let it out. Write down each thought as it comes to your mind, never mind neatness or spelling. Then let the thoughts sit there on the paper instead of in your head. You can revisit them later but once they are out there in the ethos, you may feel relieved that they are not crowding up your brain.

On the topic of anxious or negative thoughts, it is important to either let them out or push them around, rattling them around to see if there is any grounding for those worries. Carolyn Steber’s Bustle article, “11 Calming Questions To Ask Yourself When You’re Feeling Anxious,” recommends questioning the thoughts or the situation that brings them up. Check in and ask yourself “What’s my evidence for XYZ?” or “Based on the past, how will I end up coping with this?” One question that I have found particularly helpful is asking “Why though?” For example, maybe I was not able to complete a task on my to-do list for the day. When I start to beat myself up about this, I ask why I absolutely had to complete it today. It can just as easily get done tomorrow and I accomplished other objectives today, so why does it matter that much if I did not get that one thing done? For many people, figuring out their boundaries and how to set them is a difficult subject. Whether regarding school, friendships or relationships, we may find setting time and spaces just for ourselves proves tricky, especially as we lug around the heavily packed schedule of a college student.

Michelle Elman, better known by her Instagram handle @scarrednotscared, is a life coach based in the U.K. Her new book, “The Joy of Being Selfish,” outlines reasons why having boundaries actually aids your mental health. The word selfish has developed a realm of unsavory connotations. Elman maintains that selfishness is a prerequisite for having selflove and that putting your needs first does not make you a bad person. In fact, when you continually bustle about in the name of others’ needs, you oftentimes end up forgetting to take care of yourself, which can cause internalized resentment and frustrations that get taken out on the people around you. Elman gives specific ideas for how to allow yourself to figure out what it is that you want out of life and communicate that to and with others. This U.K. book is available on Audible and from Book Depository. As we walk into April, make sure you continue to take care of your mental health, especially as that mountain of homework piles higher. You have got this.

PHOTO BY JOANNA-KOSINSKA ON UNSPLASH

THE SWINGING BRIDGE

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