How to Survive Overwhelm, a Common State of The Student
Definition: bury or drown beneath a huge mass (of responsibilities)
As I’m writing this at almost 2:00 AM, I am truly sleepy and feel overwhelmed with work. This is not a very rare occasion in my life, or in the lives of students – generally. I realize, this is a time in life where we have a need to feel accomplished, and a drive to be good at what we do. However, I can’t help but notice that we often forget to look at the big picture. Currently, I have two part-time jobs, college, and the blog; apart from family and friends. I leave my house at 7:30 AM (when I’m not late), and I usually come back home at 8:00 or 9:00 PM. There are a bunch of reasons why I am doing all that I’m doing (maybe because this is the only way I know), though the main consequence of my routine is the restricted time I have to actually think and reflect. I am not keen to just live my life and let it pass me by unconsciously. Therefore, I decided to write this article, both to illustrate this hectic stage of mine and my peers’ life, but also to give some tips to the reader and myself on how to make this easier on ourselves. These are “remedies”, some of which I use and others that I want to reinforce.
Assess Your State: Where am I?
Ask yourself some simple questions. Maybe even get a pen and paper and write your answers down. Go ahead…I’ll wait.
Okay, assuming you either went to take the pen and paper; opened a word file on your PC; or did neither, I will move on to the questions.
Are you happy at this stage in life with the things you are doing?
Are you glad to be in college and working on your education? Or, does it make you cringe when you think of what you study and how little you will make use of it? Do you HATE your job? Think about it.
I’m happy that I’m both working and going to college. I don’t like one of my jobs so much because my competences are often either overlooked or not fostered enough. On top of that, there are various cases of unfairness. Also, I’m not being able to read enough and that automatically drops my happiness index by 10%.
Are you current commitments in tune with your goals?
It doesn’t matter if you choose to compare them with your long or short-term goals. If what you’re putting effort and time in doesn’t correspond with your goals, you might need to readjust.
Finishing college successfully and gaining skills in my field of study is a short-term goal of mine. However, being healthy and taking care of myself physically, psychologically and spiritually is a long-term and bigger goal that I have. What I’m doing right now doesn’t necessarily fit with my bigger goals. I will probably have to adjust my routine despite the obvious fact that it matches well with my short-term goals.
How close is your current state to your ideals (best case scenario)?
If you could change anything and make it just right, what would it be for you?
Ideally, I would have only one part-time job and college going on. And maybe my part-time job would be my blog. I would be able to pamper myself more and READ much more.
Conclusion on Assessment
Try to make a conclusion based on the answers you gave yourself. This will likely help you understand where you are and where you want to be.
I have a lot of things that I want to do yet very little time to do all of them well. It’s best for me to narrow down my commitments and responsibilities. Though, I still have to think which ones to let go. But I will certainly stay in college (hah) and keep the blog.
Some things you can do immediately, while you think about the life-changes you want to make
Drink Water and Herbal Tea:
Water is just absolutely amazing! The more you drink water the more you can concentrate and help your brain work smoothly. Among many other benefits listed here, water helps relieve headaches which are a symptom of overwhelm. Herbal teas are a true gift of nature, each having an extensive amount of health benefits, among which the most prominent are a calm mind and body.
Sleep and Eat:
I know that this tip might sound pretty basic, but it’s the basics that make the greatest difference. It’s sleep and food deprivation that can actually make you sick. Just this week I came down with the flu, and the reasons are obvious. I was trying to make sense as to why my usually strong immune system sort of failed me, but I just knew – I was not taking good care of myself. Research shows that sleep doesn’t only immensely help your physical health, but also your emotional state. If you sleep well, the brain, heart, and mind are in tune and overall happier. And, yes I am writing this while postponing my sleep but I certainly plan to compensate.
Probably the best way to better your sleep is by scheduling it as much as you possibly can. Try to fall asleep at approximately the same time every night and wake up in the same manner. It will balance you, and it usually takes one to two weeks for a person to adjust their sleeping schedule so that your mind and body get used to the cycle.
Look at the big picture
This is the best advice I can ever give, I feel. I cannot stress enough how insignificant some things are in reality and how much we actually care. Whatever is happening to you, someone else is very likely going through something much harder. Grades, which are one of the main causes of stress for students may seem significant, but in the real world, they really aren’t. Everyone has their own preferences as to what matters more to them, but just try to zoom it out and see how much it actually affects you. Personally, in my big picture I have my belief in God, good health, and a happy, loving family. Amid my experiences, I often try to sit back and figure out how the things that happen to me relate to what matters to me in the big picture. I immediately relax because I know that what’s most important is for me to be fair, righteous and well-intended.