Posts Tagged ‘anxiety’

My Saturday Chai

Tuesday, November 10th, 2020

Inexplicable was the only word for it. During Fall of 2019 I hit the inevitable rough patch that every college student is doomed to undergo. Maybe this seems like a grim generalization to make, but college can be a stress-inducing atmosphere and oftentimes this leads to students feeling overwhelmed. And college in New York? Anxiety can reach new heights. 

I was even more prone to rough patches on arriving back to New York after three months at home and having to reacquaint myself not just with the city but with the specific kind of anxious feelings both New York and college itself could induce in me. I found myself having to work up more energy just to go to class and get my work done, but none of it was any more challenging than the previous year. The stress of living with a stranger was gone now too, as I was living with friends and we all got along well with each other. So why was I so anxious? 

There were moments in which my stomach would form a knot, my breathing would become shallow, and my heart would start racing. I knew I needed help and I was determined to discover the source of my anxiety. Having determined that classes – though still somewhat stressful –  were not the main cause, I looked to everything else in my life. Okay, maybe my living situation was still causing some anxiety. I loved that I was living with my friends, but I still had to get used to what that was like and didn’t want to step on any toes. More and more I also realized how much I still missed home, too. I was starting to like life in New York more so than the previous year, but it still did not provide the same comfort I could get at home. Even after realizing this though, I still felt there was something missing. These things definitely had an affect on me, but I knew they didn’t make up the whole of my anxious feelings. And yet, I couldn’t place it. It was inexplicable.

I could never pinpoint the remaining factor of my stress and anxiety was but I did everything in my power to work myself out of those feelings that had started to dominate my life. Part of that process involved seeing a therapist. If you have access to mental health resources through your university, it is completely worth it to take advantage of them! Sometimes tackling anxiety is a two-man job, and seeing a professional is always a good option. I also did a lot of exploring the city with my friends during this time which always gave me something to look forward to, but when I was feeling too tense to want to go out with them, I’d try to find a way to relieve stress on my own. 

My go-to was The Bean. The small coffee shop that, up until a few months ago, was on the corner of 12th Street and Broadway. It was not the only of its kind but certainly the closest to my dorm. The idea came to me as I was passing it on my walk back from classes one day. Immediately upon seeing its sign I remembered the iced chai that I loved from there and hadn’t had for months. Starting that weekend I began a tradition of waking up a little earlier on Saturdays and walking down to The Bean with a journal and headphones in my bag. After I ordered my drink I’d snag a table by the window, hit play on Spotify, and open my journal.

Unknown, “The Bean Broadway Nyc”, http://newyorkcliche.com/2018/04/11/the-bean-nyc-coffee-east-village/the-bean-broadway-nyc/. Accessed 10 Nov 2020.

Though I typically wasn’t one to journal frequently, I learned just how much of a relief it could bring me. Besides that, I was taking time for myself. The importance of this has only grown on me since then. When I took the time to journal, to let out some of what had been eating away at me throughout the week, I was able to get a moment of relief even if it only lasted for the day. Going to The Bean also functioned as an outing for me in which I could escape from my dorm (and therefore the homework that awaited me, ready to add on more stress). 

And the iced chai. I got it on each visit there and it was always a delight, a small but undoubtedly helpful way in which I could treat myself. Occasionally accompanied by a doughnut or maybe a muffin but perfectly sufficient by itself, my iced chai became the symbol of my personal time, as mundane a thing as it was. 

But chai and journaling is not for everyone. If you find yourself unsure of where to start with taking time for yourself or unsure of what will relax you, here are some helpful tips:

  • Hobbies – If you’re lucky, you are able to keep alive those hobbies from high school that you used to love so much. This was not the case for me, but anything you find enjoyable is undeniably a treat for yourself! If those hobbies have since died away, revive them. The joy they bring is worth the effort you may need to put in.
  • Sleep – It’s simple, but it’s necessary. The rest that comes from sleep has often made me feel just as restored as the journaling I would do at The Bean. Take the nap that you are reluctant to, go to bed earlier or sleep in a little longer. It will give you enough energy to do the work that needs to get done.
  • Fun – Going out on the weekends – whether it’s to museums, concerts, clubs, or something else – is another easy way to let your hair down. Though this was much easier pre- COVID-19, it still worth it if you can do so safely.
  • Food – Definitely my favorite way to treat myself. Comfort food, fancy restaurants, or something you’ve never tried before – take advantage of moments in which you are able to bring yourself a little more ease, even if it’s just by getting ice cream.

Lastly, I want to provide you with an amazing source for learning how to take time for yourself. Click here for more ideas on this from Lifehack. Whatever you choose, simply make sure it is making you happy and giving you even an ounce of relief. Because sometimes treating yourself can be as simple as drinking tea and journaling.


By: Anaïs Nuñez-Tovar

Anaïs is currently a Junior at New York University and is majoring in English with a minor in Creative Writing. Her goal for the future is to work in the publishing industry and write on the side. She loves to write and read poetry and fiction in her spare time.

For over 20 years, the Campus Clipper has been offering awesome student discounts in NYC,  from the East Side to Greenwich Village. Along with inspiration, the company offers students a special coupon booklet and the Official Student Guide, which encourages them to discover new places in the city and save money on food, clothing, and services.  

At the Campus Clipper, not only do we help our interns learn new skills, make money, and create wonderful e-books, we give them a platform to teach others. Check our website for more student savings and watch our YouTube video showing off some of New York City’s finest students during the Welcome Week of 2015.

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The Importance of a Brain Roadmap

Tuesday, April 9th, 2019

Everyone even vaguely interested in anything from self-improvement, procrastination, and healthy living has come across some metaphor mentioning how the mind and body are like cars that run on gas and need to be refueled from time to time. Whether that be fuel or sleep, or healthy dieting, or smart organizational strategies to prevent you from falling into a cycle of avoiding responsibilities until they pile up to extraordinary quantities, you know the drill. But fuel isn’t the only thing a car needs to run properly.

It needs a good driver. It needs someone that knows the rules of the road, that knows the machine and how to operate it, and most importantly, someone that knows where they are going. It’s fine and dandy to be going 60 miles per hour down the highway, until you realized you missed your exit two hours ago. Your brain, body, life, goals, need a compass.

Which is where good introspective time can benefit. Not just as a student, in providing your brain with some rest and clarity, but also as a human, trying to make it in a human world.

Personally? I meditate.  Not necessarily in the old Buddhist monk or American hippie way, but in a more convenient one. I’ll meditate while walking. Actively think while I step, let the rhythms of everyday life hit me in a way that is conducive to good thinking. I’ll stand in the shower sometimes, and just look at the wall, and think for five, or ten minutes. More importantly, I journal. One page, every day. I’ve kept it up, pretty regularly, for almost 3 months now, and I see the progress I am making towards my goals. I’ve finished two full notebooks of dense writing, and at the very least my handwriting has gotten really, really good. But also, I have a creative, and meditative outlet for any emotions I might be holding in, any worries that might be resting on my shoulders. There have been times where I sit down angry and get up calm, or start writing with frustrations and despair creeping in behind my shoulders, only to walk away calm and collected, ready to tackle my day.

My own experiences might not be the most convincing, but the proof is there. Mindfulness and meditation improve not only your physical health, like decreasing your risk of heart disease over time, but also your mental stability by decreasing cortisol levels in both short term and long term practitioners. In fact, mindfulness is one of the key treatment options for patients with depression or anxiety. It is often the first strategy used to try and combat both illnesses. Obviously, it’s not a cure-all, but it doesn’t hurt to try.

As for the journals I keep? The University of Rochester has done extensive studies showing that journals help you prioritize your problems, fears, and objectives, and thus manage your anxiety, or stress levels. They help you focus on what you want, whether that be your life’s ambition, or something as simple as sticking to a healthier diet.

You may already be taking every step you can think of to make your brain and body operate at a higher level. You may be going faster, and stronger than ever before. But if you still feel directionless, lost in the wind? Spend some time mapping out your brain. It could work, you never know.

Sources:

https://www.urmc.rochester.edu/encyclopedia/content.aspx?ContentID=4552&ContentTypeID=1
https://positivepsychologyprogram.com/benefits-of-mindfulness/


By Victor Galov

For over 20 years, the Campus Clipper has been offering awesome student discounts in NYC,  from the East Side to Greenwich Village. Along with inspiration, the company offers students a special coupon booklet and the Official Student Guide, which encourage them to discover new places in the city and save money on food, clothing and services.  

At the Campus Clipper, not only do we help our interns learn new skills, make money, and create wonderful e-books, we give them a platform to teach others. Check our website for more student savings and watch our YouTube video showing off some of New York City’s finest students during the Welcome Week of 2015.

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Fighting The Moving Day Blues at NYU

Tuesday, October 30th, 2018

When I flew from the Caribbean islands to New York City, I couldn’t bring more than my clothes in three overweight suitcases. My mom, her boyfriend, and I spent two days shopping for dorm necessities at Bed Bath and Beyond. Unfortunately, I  bought things before even seeing my dorm, so I would later discover that many items didn’t fit. 

Arriving on campus on move-in day, I was a bundle of confusion with a racing heart. Parents were scurrying to get their children out of the car and up the stairs to Weinstein Hall’s lobby. As soon as I began loading all of my stuff on to the curb, I noticed and recognized Grace, my roommate at the curb. We chatted. Seeing her nervous face reminding me I wasn’t alone in my anxiety. 

Once Grace and I arrived at our room I became more overwhelmed. Her family and my family were all cramped into our tiny dorm, scurrying around and fixing every minute detail to save us stress. It had the opposite effect for me. Seeing everyone racing around the tiny space, opening boxes, making opinions, increased my claustrophobia in this tiny room.

I needed to get out. My mom, her boyfriend, and I headed back to Bed Bath and Beyond, but we found more chaos there. The whole freshman class were rushing to find the products they needed before someone else found them first. Eventually we escaped and headed back to my dorm. Then my mom and her boyfriend left me so I could finish up the unpacking at my pace, while my roommate was out to lunch with her parents. I put on some music. Finally, I could relax in my new space and create it exactly how I wanted to, without people throwing their opinions at me.

When I finally finished organizing I laid down. I was in my dorm in the greatest city in the world, the city I had dreamt of living in for as long as I could remember. I would make the most out of my four years here.

Weinstein was holding an Ice Cream Social in the lobby.  I have never been a social person, always waiting for someone else to spark a conversation with me. From across the room I saw two freshman boys both dressed in stylish dark colors. I was too scared to approach them though, so I sat still and hoped my nerves would fade. Then suddenly, someone asked if I wanted to play Uno. I looked up to see the two boys from across the room. They were Eric and Javi. We played Uno before going to the Bed Bath and Beyond party to dance and sing the night away.

Why was I worried about making friends? Everyone is in the exact same boat when entering college with the desire to make friends. Not everyone you meet in college is going to be your best friend, but it is nice to be acquainted with people, to smile or wave as you pass by each other on the street.

Eric and I became closer in the days that followed. He introduced me to Melody, his high school friend from California, then she introduced me to Kaitlyn. Now all of us, Grace, Javi, Eric, Kaitlyn, Melody and I, hang out almost every single day. I always wondered what would have happened if Eric didn’t approach me to play Uno that night. I wouldn’t have been introduced to Javi, Melody, and Kaitlyn. Fate brought me a caring, creative group of individuals.

Remember

  1. Know your space before you try to fill it. See your dorm room before spending hundreds of dollars on it.
  2. Stay open towards new people. They share the same fears and anxieties with you on their first day.
  3. If you don’t meet a ton of people at first don’t worry about it. The friends you make will introduce you to more friends in the future.

By Solana Joan Suazo


Solana is a freshman at NYU Steinhardt, studying art and psychology. Solana spends many hours walking around lower Manhattan with her friends, sketching in the park, or finding new inspirations for her art around the city. When she isn’t playing volleyball or meditating, she’s usually watching Game of Thrones with her roommate, daydreaming about California beaches and buys, or painting a new picture for art class. She loves coffee, chocolate, and ramen, of course.

For over 20 years, the Campus Clipper has been offering awesome student discounts in NYC,  from the East Side to Greenwich Village. Along with inspiration, the company offers students a special coupon booklet and the Official Student Guide, which encourage them to discover new places in the city and save money on food, clothing and services.  

At the Campus Clipper, not only do we help our interns learn new skills, make money, and create wonderful e-books, we give them a platform to teach others. Check our website for more student savings and watch our YouTube video showing off some of New York City’s finest students during the Welcome Week of 2015.

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Psychotherapy and Me

Saturday, September 27th, 2014

Henri Matisse's The Goldfish

Henri Matisse’s The Goldfish

“I’d like a hug,” I decided on my last day. We proceeded to discuss the details of our hug – where we would place the arms, when to terminate the embrace, how tightly we would hold each other. After agreeing on my comfort level, I stood and hugged her, a tad tighter than we had initially agreed on.

We pulled apart and she asked, like a typical therapist, “What are the tears in your eyes about?”

Tear ducts unabashedly hot, I replied, “I don’t know; what are your tears about?”

My therapist was crying. She was crying for me, for the progress I’ve made in the past three years, for the impending separation to come. My time with her was not over – I still planned to have a session every month – but everything from this point on will be different. That much, we both knew and expected.

A week into college life in New York City, and yes, everything has changed. My cat doesn’t mewl for food every morning. The night is noisier, both in and out of my head. I’m surrounded by strangers who all seem like they’ve got it together. I miss the convenience and privacy of my room, long drives while blasting music, and the Henri Matisse Goldfish painting that hung on my therapist’s wall. Everything is different, including me.

Four years ago, depression plagued me. It seemed the only things I enjoyed were sleep and razors, constant worrying, and constant headaches. When I began seeing my therapist, I was an ugly, unromantic mess. I said, “I can’t imagine myself not having depression.” Depression was a parasite that scarred my arms, legs, and cheeks. I weighed on my few friends until they broke and left me, exhausted by my exhaustion.

Four years ago, I could have never survived my first hectic week at New York University. Though self-doubt never quite disappears, it has diminished greatly over the course of recovery, helmed by my therapist. Without her, my ship would have been smashed to bits on the reef. Without her, I would not have found the willpower to brave my way through life’s complexities and simplicities.

Living the college life with depression is precarious. Many young adults have not reached any level of self-comfort yet. Many suffer undiagnosed. This is why I urge everyone who suffers from even mild symptoms of depression and anxiety to reach out for help – be it through college or through local connections. Don’t let the stigmas of therapy and mental illnesses prevent you from getting the professional help you need and deserve.

The poster of Henri Matisse’s Goldfish on my dorm room wall is a reminder that therapy can (and already has) helped me thrive during the overwhelming college experience. These days have the potential to become the most wonderful days of your life – don’t let yourself drag you down.

In a series of eight blog posts, I will discuss what I have learned throughout my journey through depression, and how I have overcome my demons. With a little advice and self-help, maybe you can, too.


 

ChristelleMarie Chua, New York University ’18

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