By: Odun Ishola
We all know about finals week stress. That’s been prescheduled, written down, and noted. Finals stress and anxiety is inevitable. We might as well have signed it in our contract when starting college. What they don’t tell you about, is the mid-semester anxiety that creeps up on you around the sixth and seventh week of classes.
You all of a sudden are hit with a massive wave of a lack of motivation, coupled with a boatload of work to do. Every day, mundane things become harder and harder to do. The sky turns grey and the buoyant excitement you had for the school year slowly starts to wane. Your professors’ voices start sounding like the adults in Charlie Brown and your eyes start drooping in class. And while all this is going on, the homework assignments keep filing in, the group projects still keep going, your extracurricular activities are in full swing, there are exams to take, people to see, things to do, places to go – All leading to that massive breakdown you never saw coming.
If this sounds familiar, you, my friend, are going through a mid-semester slump. But don’t worry; I’m here to help. I’ve been doing this for four years and I think I’ve gotten it down to a science. Here are some tips and tricks I’ve picked up to help you get over the proverbial semester hump day.
1. See a therapist
Yes, this sounds extreme. I mean, you’re not depressed; you’re just stressed, right? You’re just busy and unmotivated, right? It’s something you just have to deal with on your own, right??? WRONG! You go to the doctor once a year to make sure that your physical health is all in order, and the same should be done for your mental health. Luckily for us, a lot of campuses recognize the need for this service and now offer free counseling. All you have to do is set an hour out of your life, once a week, to talk to a professional about how you’re feeling. Picking up that phone and scheduling that appointment is the best thing you can do for yourself.
Unless you’re already a regular gym attendee, this seems like a tedious thing to add to your routine. But trust me, this is the moment you need all the endorphins you can get. This isn’t necessarily about your physical health, this is all mental. You need as much of those feel-good chemicals pumping through you as fast as possible. Get on that treadmill, hit that punching bag, or cut through that pool. Whatever you do, just get moving, and get active. Your mind and body will thank you for it.
I always say meditation is extremely personal, and I can’t really tell you how to meditate. It’s not always about sitting cross-legged with candles around you while chanting “Om.” It can be lying still in bed and shutting your mind off or even fantasizing about life. There are many ways to meditate. Find one that works for you, connect with your inner self and live in the moment.
4. Find a hobby (that you’re not obligated to stick to)
Yes, I know things are busy and the last thing you want to do is add another thing to your plate. However, this is by far one of my favorite coping mechanisms. Sometimes, you just want to do something out of the ordinary for fun. Find something that makes you happy and if/when it no longer suits you, let it go. At this point in life there are so many things you’re dedicated to doing and sometimes you start losing a sense of control. Trying something out and consciously letting it go starts to let you regain a sense of control of your life.
5. Call your mom (or dad, or best friend, or anyone)
I’m not sure what it is, but whenever I chat with my mom I feel extremely blessed and lucky to have her in my life, all my other worries melt away. Find someone who gives you this sense of joy when you talk to them. Take a beat to remove yourself from whatever situation you’re in at the moment and talk to someone else about what’s going on in their lives. It’s incredibly liberating to step outside of yourself for once and just listen to someone else. It’s even better when that someone else makes you a happier version of yourself.
I hope these tips help you through the dreaded mid-semester slump. Go ahead and try them out, then comment below to let me know which one you found most helpful!