How to survive 10th week/finals week of winter quarter:
- MOVE. Move move move. It always makes me feel better. Lately, I’ve been cancelling riding and the gym left and right (partially because I’m sick, and partially because school and internships are eating my life). This needs to change.
- Be creative. For me, this means writing and music. I just burned a bunch of CD’s for my car, because my iPod is out of commission. I don’t think I’ve clung to music like I do now since I was in high school. I just went to a concert and I’m finally feeling more like a human being than I have in a long time. New goal: acquire at least five new CD’s in the next two weeks. As far as writing goes, this is proving much harder. I feel like I’m just bleeding emotional and intellectual energy, all the time. Then again, this is one of those times when you just make yourself do it, damn it. I need that adrenaline rush of finishing a first draft.
- Feed your body and your soul. I’ve been pretty good about making sure I’m putting good, clean food into my body this quarter, and keeping up with small meals every few hours so I don’t become a crazed hungry bitch. It’s times like these, though, that I make an effort to eat things that I really, truly, love and enjoy. These may seem like conflicting ideas, but trust me, they are not mutually exclusive. There are plenty of things I love to eat that are also healthy (for example: smoothies, fruit, oatmeal with peanut-butter, and superdark chocolate). http://chocolatecoveredkatie.com/ is helping me IMMENSELY in this pursuit. The main ingredients in her deep-dish cookie pie: garbanzo beans, oatmeal, and applesauce. My life is complete.
- I painted my fingernails, and it made me feel at least two points cooler. Maybe this can help you, too? Who knows.
- Spend time with other human beings. Also, animals. Who are also human beings, mostly. Cuddling is especially recommended. Learn to recognize the people who are good for you, and the people who are not. If they’re not, see item number seven.
- Write yourself a love letter. Or a love poem, if you are so inclined. This is actually harder than it sounds. I did a version of this for my SIP—it was a poem addressed to my high school self. I was surprised to find how easy it was to be tender and loving with my past self. Why can’t I do that with my present self? Hopefully that’s the next step. So, maybe that would be easier for you, too—a past self. When I was in high school, I was incredibly weird but I was trying so hard to be perfect and happy and cute and blah blah blah. I was dating someone on the hockey team, and “locker-talk” was basically ruining my life. Here are some lines from the poem: “I wish I could be gentle with you, put a hand/ on your forehead to say you’re not sick. You are/ already starting to cough up fistfuls of god.” The difference now is that I’ve made a life for myself out of recognizing that things are not easy—it’s something I wield instead of suffer. What hurts me, blesses me. Darkness is my candle.
- Practice saying “no.” This is probably going to be an ongoing thing for me. I’m so bad at this.
- Laugh. Look at funny things on the internet. That’s basically what it’s for. If possible, do this in conjunction with tip number five. Everything is funnier when you’re with other people. Really, though. Everything.
- Be amazed by something. Maybe this is a poet thing, but I’ve had a couple sensory experiences recently that make me just step back and laugh at how invested I can be in the world sometimes. Experience one: watching my mom pour blackstrap molasses into a bowl. WHOA WHOA WHOA IT IS SO AMAZING. I don’t even know why, but it is incredible!!! The same thing happened with a philosophy book I ordered for my existentialism and film class. I haven’t even read it yet, but it’s the perfect sensory experience of a book. It’s compact, with lots of pages, and it just feels perfect in my hands. I freaked out about it for at least twenty minutes, my confused and slightly concerned mother looking on. I guess I can’t tell you how to have experiences like this, just that you should. Just slow down enough to notice. Nothing is more important.
- And now for something completely different: absolutely nothing is important. Let me take a page from the book of Heideggar and remind you that all these things you’re grasping after (amazing grades, a profession, a perfect body, etc) do not, and will never, make you who you are. Don’t lose yourself in them. No content defines you.
Hope this helps. I’m sure there are zillions of things I could say, but then it might start sounding like a very overwhelming to-do list, and that is the LAST thing we need right now.