the antidote for overwhelm

self-care tips for students and recent grads

When you first go away to college, and also this happens in your early 20’s, sometimes you’re painted a picture that these years are going to be the best time of your lives, but, like most situations that involve a lot of growth, it honestly has a lot of ups and downs. One minute you absolutely love it and the next minute you can’t believe you’re squeezed into a shoebox-sized room with a stranger you don’t know as a roommate. 

A few years ago, I mentored several girls at different schools who were pre-med at the time. They were totally stressed out by the workload. I thought it was synchronistic to see students dealing with the same issue at once. It made me pay more attention. I remember I was always asking them what they had been doing to have a little fun and the answer was always nothing. When we’re really busy, stressed, or anxious the idea of indulging in something fun can seem unproductive and undeserved, but usually it’s exactly what you need. When I feel my world getting really heavy, I ask myself:

What sounds fun?

I don’t ask it in a sarcastic way where I’m like a vacation sounds fun or a million dollars. I’m really asking, what can I do to take care of myself in this moment? What would be something that could add levity to what I have going on? The goal is to try to get to your know your inner needs! 

Almost always when I ask myself that question, it’s usually something really small that I can do to add some relaxation, levity, or joy to whatever it is I’m spinning through at the time.  Some of the things that come up for me when I ask myself what sounds fun is to: 

  • go for a walk
  • call a friend 
  • move my body
  • grab a coffee 

It’s never something that’s over complicated or too crazy, but here’s where the mentoring comes in: you have to ask yourself the question then ACTUALLY go do the thing. It’s easy to get stuck in whatever’s going on and don’t do the thing that will make us feel better. If what sounds fun is a mentoring session (and trust me they are fun!!),  you have to put in the time to actually schedule and go to a session. If what sounds fun is stretching your body then you need to actually get on your yoga mat. You deserve to treat yourself well. You deserve to have fun. We’re here on this planet to be of service and purposeful and you can’t do that if you’re not allowing yourself the joy of being alive. Even if you’re going through a time, you are totally worthy and deserving of moments of joy throughout your day. Fun is a form of self-care. What sounds fun is a way to take care of your inner self. Secret bonus, joy makes  tackle your to-do list or get through anything hard a lot easier.