Mindfulness, reframing and emotional vulnerability are valuable tools when we’re approaching stressful times like finals week. Visit the Counseling Center for additional tools to care for your mental health. (This post is part one of a two-part series on managing anxiety.)
It’s almost the end of the term! Studying for exams and preparing for final projects is a normal but often stressful part of university life. Now is a good time to learn how to pause, focus on the current moment, give yourself some grace, and appreciate your achievements. Taking a constructive and caring approach as you anticipate a stressful challenge will help protect your mental health and allow you to take advantage of opportunities to grow.
Reframe the Game
Dragons like to keep their eyes on the next milestone, challenge, degree, or promotion but fire needs air to burn. If you want to advance without burning out, it’s vital to periodically reflect on everything you did to get here. Validating our efforts builds realistic self-confidence, helps us dust ourselves off after setbacks, and gives us the courage to set loftier goals. Here's how you can use your accomplishments to inspire optimism and progress:
- Pause. It’s okay (and literally necessary) to take a break from the grind. Giving your attention to the sun on your skin, the time you have with friends, the snack in your hand, or the nap you’re going to take is human, necessary, and non-negotiable. Rest = recharging, not procrastinating.
- Name Your Story. Put words to what you’ve done this term. Whether it is a narrative of struggle, success, or something in the middle, taking stock of your journey will help you appreciate how you got where you are.
- Context, Context, Context. Remember, you don’t exist in a vacuum. Your unique constellation of identities, experiences, challenges, and resources has a lot to do with how you got here and how hard of a journey it was. Acknowledging that we all come to the table with different histories, and that the playing field of academia is anything but level, helps us honestly validate our grit and persistence rather than comparing ourselves with others.
- Soak It Up. Most people have trouble taking a compliment because positive feelings are vulnerable! But lean in and let yourself really feel what it’s like to count your wins. By doing so, you’ll also be able to be tender with your losses and appreciate the non-linear, sometimes intangible ways you are always growing.
- Connect. Let people really see you. It’s messy sometimes, but as it turns out, people like the real you a lot more than more than a polished and perfect presentation. When it’s hard to see the good in ourselves, sometimes it helps to see our efforts reflected in others’ more compassionate lens.
The idea of failure can be scary. But you are worth more than your exams: you are the same person who works hard, who cares, who continues to grow and learn from setbacks. Find the time to remind yourself of that.
Resources from Drexel
Take a look at some other tips on managing stress here.
Remember, if it ever feels like too much, or if you need a professional to talk it out with, the Counseling Center has lots of open same-day hours during finals week. We’re here for you!
Take good care, Dragons!