Breathe: More than just routine
Breathing is routine. It’s an automatic human function that you start doing when you come out of the womb. It’s done without even trying, without thinking about it. Oxygen comes into the lungs, spreads throughout the body, and your heart beats because of it. It’s a whole scientifically explained process that has to be done to survive.
Now, you’re probably looking at the title and thinking, “well, duh it’s important to breathe.” But what I’m talking about is a different kind of breathing. It’s taking a step back and evaluating what is happening in your life. It’s stopping in between tasks, processing what just happened and preparing yourself for the next task. It’s relaxing during stressful times. Basically, it’s a fancy word for meditating.
So why is it important to make sure you, a college student, breathes? Because as a general population, college students are under a lot of stress. In fact, students are showing more stress than the average adult, according to the American Psychological Association. It’s very easy to get caught up in the craziness. Full time college students are taking at least 12 credits, while adding clubs, jobs, internships, volunteering, and socializing into the mix, which can take up a lot of time and becomes draining. There’s so much to do and only so many hours in the day. Some people handle it well and breathe without even thinking about it. It’s already in their routine as a part of their everyday life. But others are so busy and life flies past them that they are so stressed and anxious that they don’t even recognize what is happening.
If that is happening to you, where you are high strung, find at least five minutes in your day to process it. What did you do this morning? Where are you mentally? What do you have to get done later? If you have even more time, sit by yourself and watch an episode of your favorite show. If you find yourself in a situation where you don’t have to be doing anything right then and there, pop a movie in and relax. Whatever you do, make sure to unplug and think about the day. People don’t realize, but even just sitting by yourself can be good. Harvard Health recommends unplugging from social media, de-stressing and meditating. Exercising is also a good way to breathe.
Another way to help yourself breathe is to actually put “relax” into your calendar. Schedule an hour block where you don’t have to do homework, you’re not supposed to be working, and there isn’t something due soon. This will allow you to keep your mind clear and not get too overworked.
So next time you start to feel anxious or overwhelmed, tell people you have to go breathe. Lock yourself in your room, turn on a movie, read a book, or blast some music. Make sure you’re living in the now instead of worrying about a future project or how your grades are going to go. Just remember, it’s not procrastinating if your watching your mental health.