Sanity in November

It’s that time of year again.

The time of year when everything seems to be crumbling and falling. Included in this would be: grades, social life, bank account, GPA, hours of sleep, sanity levels, etc. Honestly, this list could go on and on and on. The last push of the semester is without a doubt the craziest, most hectic time for many students. It’s now that final projects and papers become a reality instead of words on a syllabus. It’s now that professors spring extra projects on you that could tank your grade. It’s now that work becomes more taxing and holiday get togethers begin happening.

These last few weeks get me every year. I feel pretty good for awhile and am content with my grades, and then BAM. Reality delivers a quick kick in the gut. I wake up to the 10 assignments that are due in the next week and are all worth upwards of 350 points. Naturally, my stress level begins to rise and anxiety creeps in.

This is the time of year when I tend to freak out a little extra and (some have told me) lose my mind. I am so caught up in trying to make everything happen just the way it should that I lose sight of the actual goals I have. I stop taking care of my health (both physical and mental) and believe that school is the end-all, be-all of my existence. I essentially become a zombie for a few weeks and return to life mid-December.

But you know what I’ve decided? I’ve decided this isn’t going to happen this year.

Today, I woke up beyond stressed. I went to class and was reminded of the numerous final papers and projects that would need to be done in the last 3.5 weeks of classes. I spent 4 hours in the library without getting much accomplished, even though I had a paper due at 11:55 pm tonight that I just couldn’t seem to write. On top of this, I still needed to go to work and find a time to work out through the mess. I could feel it happening; the stress and anxiety began to knock on the door and I let it creak open for just a moment.

Then I slammed it shut.

I am tired of being tired from not getting enough sleep. I’m tired of feeling anxiety over things that I tried my hardest on. I’m sick of spending a whole month that is meant to be full of love and giving feeling joyless and stressed.

So, to save my mental health, I decided that I was going to give myself a break today. After work, I came home and had supper. I then went to the PAC and worked out. Following that, I came home, lit a candle, and read a magazine and a for-fun book. I blocked all thoughts of school from my mind. I used my one late slip for my paper and decided that everything could wait until tomorrow. For once, I put myself first.

And you know what? It feels great. I’m not saying that I never take a day off or am lazy; trust me, I do. Telling you any different would be a lie. However, when the crunch time comes, I’m typically the one in the library for 8 hours, skipping meals constantly. That’s just not right. Tonight, I decided that was going to change. I’m going to get enough sleep tonight and wake up refreshed and ready to tackle tomorrow. I wasn’t scrambling to finish a paper that deserved more time to be written. I wasn’t anxiously skimming over the numerous prompts that I had shoved at my face this morning during classes. I took a moment to just unwind and take a break.

Relaxation and mental health days are crucial, and I don’t allot myself enough of them. I feel the need to constantly be on the go because that’s what my crazy schedule calls for. I’m sure you feel that way, too. But, you shouldn’t. Take a deep breath. Decide to do what’s best for you today; not for your boyfriend or boss or professor or best friend. Do what you need to do to stay in a positive mindset. This time of year is meant for happiness and love; don’t let stress and worry cloud your mind.

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