Finding Calm in the Chaos

Julia Fechter

By now, most of us have had to grapple with either a paper, a midterm, or a project, and countless homework assignments. Many of us have had to deal with multiple midterms or projects at once. When you have all of that schoolwork to do, on top of attending classes, a job, membership in student organizations, friends, a romantic relationship…day to day life becomes a constant stream of business.
Sometimes, it is hard to catch a break, so you have to create breaks for yourself. However, it can be difficult to relax when all you are thinking about are the tasks you have to finish after resuming your routine. How, then, do you disrupt what seems to be set in stone?
Resting is as important, if not more so, than being active. When we rest, we can recharge and be more prepared for whatever we do next. If we are not giving our minds and bodies a break, then we will have a harder time being the best people that we can be. That is why it is so, so important for us to take care of ourselves.
The first step to taking care of oneself is to make time for it. Often times, we skip a meal, or stay up until the wee hours of the morning to finish an assignment. Then, we pay the price for it when we cannot focus in class, feel ill, emotionally distraught, or cannot do quality work at our job. There are many ways our bodies can rest, but some ways are crucial for our health.
Most importantly, we have to make time for sleeping and eating. How we eat not only nourishes (or deprives) our brains, but it also impacts our mood and response to stress. Hence, the “hangry” emotions that we may feel from time to time.
In addition to eating, sleeping is also linked to improved cognitive abilities. Likewise, lack of sleep also impacts our mood and immune system. We need to give our bodies the time to rest and repair from the day’s activities. As well, we need to give our bodies a way to release tension and emotions. Exercise proves key here.
Sometimes, working out can seem like another item to add to our list of things to get done. Moving and challenging our bodies in an intentional way helps us become stronger, though. That strength will come in handy when weathering the daily demands that life puts on our bodies.

Resting also helps us reflect. It helps us reflect on ourselves, that is, our short and long term goals, who we are as people, and who we want to be.

Part of resting for me is recognizing potentially harmful mindsets or ways of thinking about my life and changing those mindsets. Many of these ways of thinking can contribute to the overall mindset or feeling of constant business.
Procrastination is a big one. Putting off responsibilities creates this false idea of rest. Even though I have been saying rest matters, there is a time where you have to face those responsibilities and deal with them. Otherwise, it becomes stressful just thinking about the things you have to get done, instead of actually doing them and going on with your day.
Adversely, you have to realize that yes, there is work to do, but not all of it can be completed in one day. There are only 24 hours in a day. Some of those hours will be occupied by things like eating, sleeping, and situations that must be addressed immediately. You have to pace yourself and find that balance between procrastination and business.
Closely tied to being too busy is worrying. When you do have one thing after the next on your schedule, thinking about a schedule becomes stressful, when doing so should be beneficial. When you get to that point, you have to just let go of control. You can only do so much to change the outcome of your day. You have to realize that the tasks you consider important may not be important. And, if they are, do what you can do to complete them, but do not fret if everything is not finished.
As college students, we have to be cognisant of our various responsibilities, between school, work, student organizations, relationships and so on. Handling one of these realms, and, usually, most of them simultaneously, can be overwhelming. We have to realize that we are human and can only do so much, realistically.
We are more than our various responsibilities, and we owe it to ourselves to hold rest in as high esteem as being active.