An Autumn Lesson, or, learning how to not be such a spaz.

School starts back up on Thursday. Three classes. Nine credits. The heaviest course loaded I’ve ever attempted while being employed full-time. In the past week, I’ve felt myself get tense. I keep catching my shoulders inching up toward my ears and my foot tap-tapping away. I am jittery and jumpy.

I spent the summer joking about what an asshole I was going to be once fall rolled back around and school started back up. Throw in a few nervous laughs for good measure, and it’s pretty clear I’ve been worried about this semester since I signed up for it back in April. I’d scale back a class, except that I know I can do this. My nerves hit before starting last semester. And the semester before that. But everything was fine. My GPA continued to inch up and my head failed to explode. Plus, if I get through this semester, I’ll be just 21 credits away from my degree. That’s 7 classes. Spring, Summer, Fall. If I keep it up, this time next year I could be entering my final semester of undergraduate work.

In order to stay sane this Autumn, I’m setting out on an additional learning adventure:

I want to:

// learn to be still.
// relax.
// let the bulk of the stress and anxiety go.

I don’t want to:

// spend the next three months stressed out, throwing snippy remarks around and stomping around the house.

SO, I’m going to:

// try new things.
// remember to breathe.
// exercise more.
// be still for a few minutes each day.
// squeeze the things bothering me really tight and then just let them go.
// remind myself that I’m lucky to have something like college and a secure job to get stressed and anxious about.
// enjoy a few mini-vacations.

By the end of the season, I hope to:

// have found something that helps me let go and relax.
// be a few steps forward on the path toward being less of a high-strung asshole.

When life gets to be too much, what helps you unwind? Do you have a hard time letting things go, or are you more of a mellow mushroom? What keeps you grounded?

9 thoughts on “An Autumn Lesson, or, learning how to not be such a spaz.

  1. Ash

    Writing it all out helps me the most – either blogging or messaging your Grandma. There’s a song that has a line something like “Sometimes you don’t know what you’re feeling until all the words run out.” (Harry Chapin)

    Meditation. Journeying. Prayer. Giving it up to the Goddess.

    And trying to remember to keep my shoulders away from my ears. Karl, the massage therapist I used to see, said we do that instinctively in response to stress – protect the neck when threatened. But just doing that releases adrenaline & other fight/flight hormones into our system, which is very bad & can lead to adrenal stress syndrome.

    So I try to remind myself to relax my shoulders, and once in a while your sister will remind me, too. Ask Andrew to watch for it & help you remember – a nice shoulder rub should help!

    And if you can find a massage therapist you like, treat yourself occasionally, or buy some nice massage oil, light some soy or beeswax candles, turn the lights out & see how good Andrew is at massage!

    You can do it, T. – I know you can handle this, and I’m very proud of you for working so hard towards your degree while also working full time.

  2. What three classes are you taking?

    All I can say is, stay organized and on top of your class requirements and don’t do your assignments at the last minute. You already know this.

    You can totally do it! I sometimes think it’s more of a frustration stemming from not being in control of what was your free time.

    I have been taking care of my mom for an eternity. It took me 10 years to finish my B.S. in psych. 10 years! I did the same as you, working full time and squeezing in classes where they fit. All that hard work is soooo worth the feeling you’re going to have when you finally submit your graduation application.

  3. I am totally excitable with nervous energy over the least little stress. My darling will enter and bring calm with him though~he’s my rock! Prayer helps me. Yoga helps me. And when I realize I’m lying in bed but not really resting on the pillow, taking the time to consciously release each muscle from my feet on up. Playing my dulcimer can be soothing too, or just getting outside alone on a gorgeous day to enjoy the beauty of nature. Consciously breathing and counting out slloooowww breaths, totally expanding my lungs to capacity, is so easy to do anywhere… If I really can’t sleep for quieting my mind, a glass of wine.

    BTW~I totally second the massage advice!!!!! It is SO worth it! (((((HUGS))))) sandi

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