7:30 A.M. the obnoxious blare of an ‘old-school’ alarm clock stirs me from what had just been one of the most restful sleeps I have had in a while. I scurry out of bed, clumsily don my clothes, skip the once over in the mirror (bad idea) and bolt for the campus in the heels I have been meaning to break in. It is the last day to pay for classes, and I have no idea if my Pell Grant has cleared.

Four and a half hours later, I leave the campus, having been informed that my grant had not covered all of my tuition, and I would have to wait until May to register for the Summer Semester. On top of the disheartening news, I looked like a reject Medusa, and the high heels I was wearing had transformed into objects of torture strapped to my delicate little tootsies. Needless to say, I was a mess.

And in all of this, it took the pattern of calamity at home to realize that I had allowed my panic to dictate my mood! Certainly not conducive to a stress free, calm environment needed to focus and plan out my next move. In times like these, it’s best to follow these six methods to chill out and refocus.

  1. Put your worries into context:
    It is so easy for us to feel like the world is ending if we don’t accomplish something we have set out to do. But, sure enough, the sun rises on another morning and we have another chance to get it done.
  2. Tune in, stretch and take a few slow breaths:
    Take a moment, stop what you’re doing, and pay attention to how your body is feeling. Tension is a physical manifestation of our stress (I.E. my poor little feet). Melt away tension by doing a few stretches, taking deep, thoughtful breaths and re-centering your focus.
  3. Take some time out:
    Sometimes what we really need are a few minutes to relax and think about something else entirely. Even when we have pressing matters and fast approaching deadlines, it is important to take a breather and give ourselves even a 10 minute rest. It is amazing what we can do, and in what time we can do it when we have had a few moments to just relax.
  4. Be Grateful:
    When we are in a panic, it can be hard to remember the blessings we have. During a time out, it might prove beneficial to think about these things. The roof over our heads, the food in our bellies, friends, family, anything for which we are grateful. A bit of positivity goes a long way.
  5. Acknowledge what you are avoiding:
    Panic can be caused by our subconscious too. My panic was caused by my underlying monetary issues. Delaying my semester meant delaying my career meant delaying monetary stability. Once I recognized this, I felt slightly more relieved. 
  6. Share your concerns:
    Friends, family and significant others are there to provide us with support as they always have been.  Share with them your fears and worries. Collaborate on a solution, or just use it as a time to reflect. Sometimes getting things of our chests is really all we needed. 

And at the end of it all, this leads back to making Solutions, not resolutions.  If you don’t enjoy the journey, you can’t appreciate the destination.