It’s that time of the semester, college kid yogis. Seminar papers loom. Reading assignments feel arduous and unfair. We cram as many To Do list entries into our schedules. Fear and anxiety whisper to us every moment.
Fear not, fellow college students. I have a solution, a way to mitigate the emotional and physical effects of this semester overwhelm. Check it:
The College Kid Yoga End-of-Semester Overwhelm Remedy:
1. Change mindset:
By changing our mindset, I refer not to positive self-talk, a technique that often feels exhausting and results in only fleeting moments of peace. Rather, I espouse an entire reformation of the way we think about schoolwork. Since returning to school, I’ve been hyper-aware of how students, myself included, discuss classes, assignments, and other academic obligations as things to “get through,” to complete before we can take a break and actually live life. Our constant complaining and the negative thoughts we attach schoolwork actually creates our reality of sleepless nights, un-intuitive eating, lowered immune system, and general sucky-ness when finals hit.
What if we had fun with our schoolwork instead? What if we found a way to make studying enjoyable, to feel peaceful throughout the day while putting a serious dent in our To Do list? When I felt myself buying into the traditional paradigm of school as something to endure, I thought to myself, “there has GOT to be a way to complete these assignments without feeling anxious, sleep-deprived, and tempted to numb out with food (or whatever your drug of choice is). I chose this; I might as well enjoy it.”
As I enter the last full month of the fall semester, I’ve decided to have as much fun as I can with studying, paper-writing, research, and reading. For example, I create a realistic list of the assignments to tackle or paper topics to research, and allot a certain amount of time for each. After I work on one item on my list, I take a short break (10-15 mins), dance to a heart-thumping song, read a cool blog, call a friend/my family, etc. I try to move my body as much as possible during this time.
To have fun and feel calm WHILE I work, I draw inspiration from Nisha Moodley. Nisha recommends using a Feminine (or masculine) Focus Object during intense work periods. Choose something that you love to look at, that brings you comfort or joy. Place it on your desk, and look at it whenever you pause in your work. This helps us avoid getting distracted by the web, our phones, etc. My Feminine Focus Object is my pretty, cute pot of lip gloss. I place it on my laptop and glance at it while I work, which helps me avoid wasting time by checking Facebook or staring off into space.
My lip gloss be poppin.’
2. Yoga. Duh, of course my remedy includes yoga. I’ve said it before and I say it again: yoga gets us out of our heads and into our bodies. When we shift our focus from our whirring, anxiety-laden thoughts onto a visceral, physical experience, we begin to distinguish what’s real (how our bodies feel) and what’s an illusion (stress, fear, overwhelm). When we identify those negative thoughts as illusions, as not real, we detach from them and can proceed with studying, reading, writing, etc in a calm state of mind.
So do the yoga. For 10 mins. Every morning. And before you go to bed (ha!).
Tara Stiles can help! Check it:
We’ve got this, college kids.