How to Deal (2003) with Stress

Okay guys, let’s be real: University can be stressful.

And the award for “the biggest understatement of the year” goes to me!

A picture of me wearing a cap backwards, and pointing at the webcam.
I’m a winner!

Seriously though – university can be stressful; I’m not lying about that. Between your exams, assignments, tutorials, iClicker quizzes, extracurricular activities, friends, family, and everything else under the sun – it’s pretty difficult to find time to just, you know, breathe.

Trust me, I know. In honour of Mental Wellness Month at U of T (and midterms), I thought it’d be good to take a moment to talk about my experiences with stress. I want to talk about how I deal with stress – not how I dealt with stress – because stress for everyone is honestly an ongoing battle.

As someone with Depression, stress has always been something that I have dealt with, whether it is being stressed about things I should be stressed about, like exams, or being stressed for the sake of being stressed. Hi, my name is Ondiek, and I’m a stressed-out individual.

I won’t sugar coat it; it’s a struggle. Depressive moods, stress, and apathy are enormously difficult for me to avoid, despite how proficient I’ve become at masking it. I’ve learned since I started University being able to hide it not enough. I learned that as much as I wanted to; I couldn’t just lie down in melancholy waiting for my meds to kick in forever.

I’m pretty much Cameron Frye, but that doesn’t mean I can’t try my best to be a Ferris.

There are many things I do to deal with my stressful moods. First and foremost, I like to entrench myself in comedy. I love funny and ironic things even when I’m not stressed. Whenever I find myself in dark situations, the first thing I do is find something to entertain my trashy mind. Whether it is watching the 1995 masterpiece Showgirls starring Jessie Spano, or singing along to pre-“My Heart Will Go On” Celine Dion power ballads – I feel better.

If that doesn’t work, then I bake. Oh God, do I bake. I can’t tell you just how many loaves of chocolate chip banana bread I made while cramming at 2am. Baking just feels right when I’m stressed, y’know? For a few minutes I’m free from my stressor (stu-dying), and then I can get back to it while knowing that I have a treat waiting for me in 30-40 minutes. Sometimes I like to combine my love of irony and baking. While listening to the entire Jagged Little Pill album, I can eat my banana bread with a bowl of ice cream in angsty solace.

And if all else fails, I take a nap. For some people, sleeping while stressed is difficult, but not for me. I can fall asleep pretty easily, and I’m thankful for that. Sleep is a nice temporary escape from my troubles, and I rarely wake up in turmoil. Still, I always make sure that a nap is just a nap. There’s a fine line between taking a nap, and then oversleeping because you just don’t want to be awake, and I still struggle with that, so, I save napping as my trump card.

In the end, I still get stressed, but I know that it doesn’t have to be that way forever. I can take active measures to reduce that stress. My efforts make me a happier and healthier individual, and that’s good enough for now.

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