College seems to be filled with never-ending moments of stress. It’s a universal sentiment, I’m sure. But that word is an accurate, encompassing, completely perfect summation of my life. I stress about every little detail about every little thing. My semi-perfectionist mindset takes hold of the reins of multiple aspects of my world. Things have to be orderly or I go mental.
So far in my college career, I have found the concept of “relaxation” to be a far-off ideal. No matter what I seem to do here in Boston, my mind is always filled with worries. I can’t seem to find anything to do to really relax me. No amount of music or movies can put my mind at ease. And when I decide to just lie down for a bit, I end up taking an unexpectedly long and slightly unnecessary nap. My roommate’s method to clearing her head is doing yoga at random times in the room. It’s usually always around midnight or later. There I am at my desk, hunched over books and papers, and out of the corner of my eyes I notice her moving about into various poses, and I can’t help but laugh every single time. But at least she has some direction to divert her stress toward.
Last year, I started taking ballroom dancing classes at FitRec. I was determined to find a new hobby and stress reliever. It was only a few days a week, but it was enjoyable and something new.
This year, I decided to take my love of ballroom to another level. I joined the Ballroom Dance Team. In addition to the classes I take at FitRec, I now spend time on Tuesday and Thursday nights with ballroom lessons for the team. And I also made the decision to compete. So what was once an activity of mere fun has now turned into a commitment. There are multiple aspects of dancing that you must constantly have in mind. There are so many steps to remember and techniques to follow. And you have to always be in connection with your partner, or you’re stumbling over each others feet. Believe me, heels can do a lot of damage. Essentially, all of the joy has been replaced with stress.
So I’m back to square one — without an activity to channel my stress. And the most horrible thing about stress? It never rests. Even when you want to sleep and push all thoughts away, it clings to your mind like a pest. Lately, I’ve been having trouble sleeping because of this very reason. I’ve taken to obsessing over a website that plays a constant track of the sound of rain. I even downloaded the app for my phone. So when I’m in my most stressed states, I crank up the volume and engulf myself in the soothing sounds of thunder and falling rain. It’s a small comfort. It doesn’t wash away any of the stress, but it seems to keep it manageable and under control.
So, I guess, while I can’t defeat the stress that often consumes me, I can aid my sanity in getting through it. Until I finally find a relieving outlet.
Krissen Kawachi is a sophomore in the College of Arts and Sciences and a weekly columnist at The Daily Free Press. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.