I have always struggled with anxiety. I have made strides of progress in my struggles with mental health, but at the beginning of this semester, it felt like that all went down the drain.
Coming back to a campus full of people and the constant threat of COVID-19 took a toll on me. I was anxious about what would happen if I got it and if I had to set aside my responsibilities to quarantine for two weeks. I am a new resident mentor, and with that comes a lot of responsibility, work and, for me, constant worry about what could go wrong. I am also the design director at The Daily Gamecock, which comes with a never-ending to-do list and never a night without doing something for the paper. I am passionate about both these jobs, but their nature does not allow an opportunity to take a break without a lot of people being affected.
On top of all this, like most of you, I am a full-time student. I am taking 16 credit hours this year, and my classes are significantly more difficult than last year.
I do not have time to do everything I want to do. I stay up really late most nights and have a full schedule the next day. Weekends hit different this semester. Instead of being a relaxing and refreshing two days to gear up for the next week, they are just time for me to do more work to try to catch up before more work gets piled on me. I never feel caught up.
This semester has been a lot — for everyone — but if it has taught me anything, it is that I need to prioritize rest and time to recharge. It is hard, but if I do not set aside time for it, I will break.
For me, I recharge by being in my room by myself re-watching one of my favorite TV shows. It is not exciting, but it is how I give my brain a break. Most days, the only time I have to do this is when I eat.
When I am tired, I get overwhelmed and more anxious, which exhausts me. It is a never-ending cycle.
Resting and recharging are important. When do you rest? How do you recharge? It looks different for everyone, but we all need it. Prioritize it.
It is okay to take a break. No one is going to fault you. Your mental health is the most important thing — it is hard to be successful when you are not taking care of yourself.
This past week has been good. It was the first week in a long time I felt I had time to do things outside of work and school. I had nights where I felt like I could stop working and not be behind for the next day, and I could relax and lay in bed watching "Friends" or go on a late-night Cook Out run.
I have not been as anxious lately, and I think it is because I recognized the toll it was taking on me and tried to do something to help myself. If you are overwhelmed right now, know that you are not alone. There is not a road map for navigating college during a pandemic. I encourage you to set aside time for yourself. Even if it is just 30 minutes — do it. Do whatever you want during that time. It is worth it, and I promise it helps.
Sabrina Hampton, design director