"Slumps are like a soft bed. They're easy to get into and hard to get out of." -Johnny Bench
Any sports fan will know the pain of watching one of your favorite players go through a serious rough patch. Clenched fists, missed shots, and frustrated sighs on the TV screen are enough to make anyone feel for a player that just can’t seem to escape a slump. However, after nearly four semesters of college (which is a weird thing to say since there are literally days I still feel like the sixth grader in plaid shorts whose life revolved around soccer and Percy Jackson) it has been proven to me time and time again that slumps are not a phenomena isolated to athletes.
Everyone from the most seemingly perfect girl you follow on Instagram to the chill skater you see sailing down Campanile has the occasional rough patch. With that in mind, the question that we should be asking ourselves as college students is not “How do I avoid a slump?” but instead "How do I cope when I hit one?”
I don’t know about you, but the scientist in me can make me impatient when it comes to dealing with periods in my life when I feel like nothing is going right. When looking for coping mechanisms, I always go for concrete activities that will give me direct, immediate results. Thankfully in 2020, Google, the rabbit hole that is the Instagram explore page, or even Tik Tok can give you instant access to dozens of tips and tricks for being a good caretaker of your mental health during your low points. For example, Women’s Health magazine recommends getting as much time with friends as you can, trying to stick to a routine, and setting goals for something that you can look forward to. The CDC also recommends eating well-balanced meals, getting as much sleep as possible, and making room in your routine for exercise. However, life as a college student can make a lot of those changes seem impossible, or at least very difficult, to accomplish. In reality, getting out of a rough patch is a unique experience for all of us and maybe aromatherapy and yoga works for your roommate, while you prefer changing up your wardrobe and taking a daily nap.
In the end, getting out of a slump mostly just takes time. Time brings perspective, and more importantly, it also brings change. As much as the ever-changing nature of college works against routines and a half-decent sleep schedule, the lack of permanence ensures that nothing lasts forever. You will finish that lab that you dread every week. You will start to see results in the gym. You will persist.
A good tip my mom told me in high school is to use the "Rule of Threes." When it feels like everything is falling apart, ask yourself “Will this matter in three days?” Probably. “Will this matter in three weeks?” Maybe. What about three months, or even three years? Eventually, the problems in your life right now will become lessons from the past that have made you stronger; it just takes time and trial and error. So when life is throwing everything at you, lean on the ones you love, get outdoors, change up your routine, and just give it your best shot, because that’s all any of us can do.
Keep ya head up!
P.S. If you like using music to relax, Where the Light Is is a great album to destress to! :-)
Also, if you're interested in learning more, check out these articles I mentioned in the post!