Blog Column: 

There are all sorts of ways for you to exorcise your demons.

I know it’s early in the semester, but many of us are feeling those classes closing around us, suffocating and crushing, like we’re sinking into a tarry, black pit.

Some people manage pressure well. I happen to work optimally when a little stressed. Too much, though, and I’m as liable to break as anyone else. I’ve seen enough of my friends walk around with hollow eyes or those little twitches you can get from sleep deprivation, and I’ve seen one of those people looking out at me from the mirror.

Luckily, that doesn’t tend to happen until exams roll around, but it’s always good to know or form your safety net before you get to that point.

Something I’ve found that helps me when I get overwhelmed, or just emotionally distraught or exhausted, is working on something else that engages my mind, but has little to no stakes.

Last semester in my entry, “Tricking Your Brain,” I suggested that you begin your homework session by spending an hour or so on whatever hobby or personal project you love that involves your mind. It relaxes you and gets you in gear to work.

Yet there are times when even doing that much is too much.

I write fiction before most of my homework sessions. However, there are days where doing that will start to feel like another weight on top of what my classes have piled on. It’s much the same with others. You’re trying to do something other than schoolwork and, because you know about what’s looming ahead, you can’t fully engage your mind.

So when that happens, spend a bit of time doing something else. Something that engages your brain, but has few to no stakes.

When I got rather distressed during my internship this summer and couldn’t be productive, I emailed my father.

The good thing about writing your parents is that the action, be it with a pen or keyboard, is meditative and you can just let your thoughts flow out; no need to worry about editing or style or much of anything. You’re just saying what’s on your mind for a few minutes and catching up with someone who loves you.

It might be that writing won’t do this for everyone, though. You need to find your own emergency relief system. All that matters is that it eases your mind while keeping it active.

In other words, don’t do something mindless like a video game or go to a party if you’re slammed with work or watch TV. You’ll just feel guilty and even more overwrought afterward.

Perhaps reading a book? Calling your off-campus friends for a chat? Catching up on your favorite blogger (hint hint)? Potentially anything can suffice.

Just make sure to find something relaxing without causing exhaustion or laziness and, most important, that you make sure to take care of yourself.

Song of the Week: “Just Another Rider” by Gregg Allman.

This is a great song that was only released six years ago, but feels like it would fit perfectly into Bob Seger’s and Bon Jovi’s time.

Hope you enjoy!


Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Commonwealth Honors College or University of Massachusetts Amherst.

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