Okay, so I only have six classes with two mid-terms, about 3 hours of readings, and four projects—simple enough.
If I squeeze in some studying in the morning, sit down at my desk to work, skip lunch to start on that essay, listen to the lecture I missed while trying to cook dinner, and stay up until 2 a.m. researching points for my presentation I should be all caught up!
Does this frantic attempt to schedule in all your responsibilities sound familiar? It does for nearly half of all college students who say they don’t have enough time to complete their course work.
There’s no doubt that in these troubling times, school can become even more of a trouble. Between living through a pandemic, keeping up with your studies, maintaining some form of social life, and finding a time that isn’t 11 p.m. to vacuum, life is getting a little overwhelming.
But hey, on the plus side, you’re not alone. Instructors and students alike are feeling that overwhelming sensation.
From academic advisors to counsellors, there’s help available. To get help, however, you need to first…
Acknowledge your feelings
The feeling of being overwhelmed can show up differently in everyone—some might not even realize they are overwhelmed. That’s why it’s important to take a moment out of your day to really check-in with yourself.
Identify feelings of anxiety, anger, or sadness. Cortisol, otherwise known as ‘the stress hormone,’ is released when you begin to experience stress. This hormone can cause immense anxiety and lower the amount of serotonin—the happiness chemical—that’s released, causing many to fall into deep sadness or depression.
Try journaling, mood tracking, or meditating to re-align yourself after a busy day and catch these feelings before they manifest into something more—and if it has developed into more, speak to a counsellor virtually through Humber and Guelph-Humber or at good2talk.ca
Okay, so you’ve acknowledged that you’re overwhelmed. Now what?
Sit with the emotion
Most often, when we notice a negative feeling floating around inside us, we do everything to remedy it; we shop, binge-watch a Netflix docu-series, or double down on work. We’ve grown up in a world that’s told us feeling bad is bad.
But, running from our emotions is dangerous. When we push these feelings out, we’re actually just bottling them up—not making them disappear. Emotions you wanted to avoid feeling, come back even stronger.
Sitting with negative emotions sucks—it’s painful, frustrating, and can make you feel weak. But in reality, sitting with your emotions makes you one of the strongest people out there.
So, what does sitting with your emotions even look like? Simply put, just feel it—specifically, feel your emotions without judgment or negative self-talk. Acknowledge you’re overwhelmed and tell yourself that it’s okay to feel this way. Cope, but in healthy ways, such as painting or listening to music.
And when you’re all feel’d-out…
Make a game plan
You’ve acknowledged you’re overwhelmed and sat with the emotion with zero judgment; now it’s time to work.
Make a plan for how you’re going to work through this feeling. Aside from healthy coping skills, pick a few resources you feel comfortable relying on.
You could book an appointment with one of Humber and Guelph-Humber’s counsellors or if you need help ASAP, you could visit good2talk.ca to speak anonymously with a mental health professional around the clock. Trusted friends and family are always a great option, too.
If school’s your stressor, reach out to your academic advisor at Humber or Guelph-Humber to create a plan for your studies. IGNITE can help, too; the Dispute Resolution Clinic (DRC), in partnership with Humber, can coach you on how to address personal or academic conflict in your life – for free.
The feeling of being overwhelmed can be defeating. But, through honesty, open-mindedness, and a little help, you can forget frantic scheduling and instead, enjoy your day, program, and life.
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