A Safe Space
Naturally, there are days when you wake up tired, lazy, and stressed. This is University after all. However, when these patterns mutate to form ingrained sequences of helplessness in your life, then something should be done. Recently, I have been balancing 2 part-time jobs (one as a research assistant and one as a customer service advisor) with final year deadlines and job applications. An absolute recipe for disaster. The bags under my eyes have slowly started to form as dark lines have happily found a new home here. To say coffee has become my best friend would be an understatement; it has become a part of my life. I used to convince myself that stress, restlessness, and anxiety were all part of University – but it does not have to be. For the past month, I have been trying new practices and methods to look after my mental health and I have decided to outline them in this blog. There will always be light at the end of the tunnel, and no matter how long or dark the tunnel may appear, it will end somewhere! I hope this blog provides a safe and supportive read to you:
Pressure. I can confidently say that pressure was the one factor in my life that was dragging me down constantly. I felt it all the time. Not necessarily from anyone around me, but from myself. In your final years of University, it is natural that the question floating around endlessly is that of: ‘What are your plans next year?’ or an altered version of that question. Most people will reply with the casual ‘I have no idea’ or ‘Please do not ask me that’, however, every now and then you will come across the one person who has succeeded in securing a brilliant graduate scheme or a place at a renowned University for Masters’. We all congratulate the person but deep inside this builds pressure. If that person has succeeded in doing this amazing thing, why can’t I?. Letting go or recognizing that this pressure is problematic can be extreamly hard. I dealt with this by having difficult and intimate conversations with my parents, tutors, and friends. They all stressed the fact that I am only 20 and that if the pressure is building up in an undesirable way, then I should eliminate the sources of it. For me, the main source of pressure came from the job market. Rejection after rejection. It was like a song on repeat (a cringy pop song that would not stop playing). So, I decided to take a month off job applications. I focused on enjoying the classes I was attending and distracted myself. I realized that we were programmed to enter the job market after University, but that this was not a requirement. Everyone had their own path and linear expectations do exist in every culture. It is important to note that taking time off, saving money to travel, or even finding a new degree of interest can also be part of your path to happiness and success. Truthfully, I have no idea where I am going to be next year. And that scares me. Very very much so. But, I do know that where I am next year will not define who or what I become. I know that every year brings something new and letting that eat me up right now is unhealthy and undesirable. So, I choose to let go.
I want to present some of the things I have been doing to create a safe space around me. Recently, I have been going on walks. The 1.5-hour walk to University used to sound like a nightmare for me. Now, I find it beautiful. I enjoy the breeze and the sun (which is thankfully starting to come out). I enjoy how it gives me time to think and listen to calming music. In addition to this, I have also been a lot more selective of the contents I listen to and watch. Mindful meditation, relaxing music, and positive affirmations have now taken over my youtube page as I continue to foster a safer place for myself. I force myself to get out of bed to go to University but also understand that I must give my body rest and love for it to blossom. I hope that reading this has been calming and helpful for you. I know that everyone’s journey is different and all I can really do is share mine. I wish you all the best in your journey and look forward to one day opening a magazine or turning on the TV and going ‘That’s the person I knew from Warwick!’. Have a safe day.