Looking for a way to Mellow Out this Monday? Take a tip from a Stressbuster:
My friends and I have rather non-traditional ways of coping with stress. One of them is The Estate.
At the end of sophomore year, my friend J and I were studying for our chemistry and orgo finals, and both of us were on the verge of panic attacks. So we decided to take a walk. We walked all over campus. We sat by the pond in the President's garden. We sat at an angle from which we could see the President's house, the pond, a quaint empty road, and the woods and grass. No campus buildings. No Baltimore. We were in a different world.
Then we dreamed up The Estate. We pretended we were 11 year olds living in an 11-year-old's paradise: a house full of kids who just had fun all day. We talked about the things we would do on our Estate. We made up stories with no conflict- stories of hiking up mountains and sliding down waterfalls and picking fresh fruits from trees, of sitting wrapped up in blankets reading books by a roaring fireplace and sipping on the most ridiculously rich hot chocolate imaginable, of all the cool things in the house and all the even cooler things in the backyard.
After talking like this for a while, we could taste the apple pies and the anticipation of a day spent in nothing but collecting shells and skipping rocks on the beach. We had become our characters. Sitting on that bench in the President's garden, it was not at all difficult to believe we were little kids carrying picnic baskets loaded with peanut butter and jelly, waiting around for our friends to come out of the house so we could go off on an adventure.
Since then, J and I have revisited The Estate whenever we're stressed out. It's a very nice alternative to having a panic attack, and the reverie can end whenever you need to get back to work. It's pretty much impossible to be too stressed out, when you have a detailed, idyllic dreamspace you can enter whenever you want.
J and I are very childish (and not ashamed of this). But maybe your version of The Estate could be a steampunk city, or an alien planet, or even a scenario you've read about and were struck by in a book (such as Hogwarts, maybe?)- a place full of infinite creative possibility, a place that spontaneously generates stories to distract you from your worries. Spend some time composing your dreamspace. Talk about it with a friend and come up with something, or write about it in a journal. Don't be afraid to be whimsical and silly! It's very freeing. Draw doodles, or write the stories you come up with, if you're not into sitting still. In fact, the more actively you engage with your dreamspace, the more complete the momentary release from worry. And it's way better to be able to visit your dreamspace for 5 minutes, than to obsessively refresh Facebook for 5 minutes and be disappointed.
--Garvi Sheth, Stressbusters Co-coordinator--
But that's not the only you way you can relax. Each week, Stressbusters offer FREE 5-minutes massages to students! Come to Q-level of the library every Monday from 8-10 to check out Stressbuster's Mellow Out Mondays!