Avoiding a Mental Breakdown In Six Steps or Less

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At this point in the semester I feel like I need to do a complete mental and emotional wellness check on everyone I know at least once a day. I don’t know about the rest of the country, but Cedarville has been in a stress spiral for the last 3 weeks. And there’s no end in sight. It’s sort of like the Bubonic Plague; whoever’s well enough to stand has to fetch water for the others. As soon as you make it a half step above rock bottom you immediately start taking care of the people below you until you switch places.

In light of that, here’s a few ways to calm it down.


1. Put down your to-do list. And your google calendar. And everything that has to do with accomplishing things.

In the throes of my stress, I would suddenly realize that I’d just been staring blankly into my agenda at everything I need to get done for 20 minutes at a time. Shockingly, this is not helpful. Stress does not accomplish anything. Refreshing your google calendar over and over again during class does not make anything go away, it just makes you feel like your drowning in a puddle. Don’t drown in a puddle. Walk away.

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2. In the same vein, take it one step at a time.
I found the most effective (and sometime only) way for me to accomplish things was to break everything down as much as possible. Putting just the tasks I needed to get done right away on individual sticky notes let me focus on them completely one at a time. At one point I wrote down over and over “Victoria you don’t have anything to do today except this paper. This paper is all you have to accomplish.” I didn’t finish the paper, but it’s the thought that counts right?

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This is Joy’s wall, which is very encouraging. It also features pictures of us at Christmastime.

3. Fetch water for the others.

I have never given and received so many notes of encouragement in such a short span of time. When you’re walking around in a daze of emotions and stress, a card can be exactly the hand up you need. And writing out cards to your friends remind you how grateful you are for the people in your life. Spread the love guys.

4. Listen to this.

My friend Eddie (quick shoutout, he’s also Lindenbrook) is on this crazy meditation Emotional Tapping self-healing thing, and he sent me this guided meditation. That sounds pretty new-age-y but it’s actually just Michael Gungor redirecting your priorities and making you cry in the library if your name is Victoria Storm. It comes highly recommended.

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5. Get off social media.

I know you don’t want to do this. It’s a drastic measure, but it works. Two days ago I signed on for a week of no social media at all. I found out that half of my attention and energy was being sapped by this outside force. A constant on my to-do list was to stay on top of a running feed of (mostly irrelevant) information. I love social media, and I consider it part of my earthly duty to stay informed and inspired and up-to-date. But two days without it and I’m already more coherent and focused and less likely to ask my boss if I’m allowed to take a nap under my desk in the middle of the workday.

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6. If all else fails, root pills.

My doctor told me to get this natural supplement called Valerian Root. It’s like a vitamin and comes in little capsules and is basically a life saver. It mellows you out and mostly keeps that crazed look out of your eyes. If you go this route, know that they can make you tired. The first time I took one I nearly passed out in the middle of a group meeting. But if you take them, say, when your chest starts constricting when you’re looking at that to do list I told you to put away, they can really help. (I bought mine at a natural food store but they’re cheaper at Walmart so just go to Walmart).

Summer is just around the corner, folks. We can do this.

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