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How to Keep a Still Mind Amidst a Chaotic Time

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We often try to resolve other issues that we forget to protect our own peace.

In a strange way, I have felt a stillness around me, although the chaos on TV and social media is nothing close to stillness. What brought me here rooted in accepting that I cannot control everything around me.

There are so many issues, unresolved problems, and unanswered questions we all want to know.

We all want answers, we all want stillness, and we all want to see this country and the world in peace. Yet, that weight is far too heavy for an individual. What I did do for my country was vote in November, spread the most accurate information possible, and had conversations that were uncomfortable, but in all ways insightful. 

You might be asking yourself, how did you accomplish this “stillness” during a pandemic, a messy election, and media coverage? I wrote, I cried, and I rejoiced. Not necessarily in that order, but it was the routine I had to do for my mental health.

During the last five weeks of my fall semester, I did not want the outside energy (news, public figures, articles, and so on) to influence my own energy. As a student journalist and a first-generation college student, I have a full plate in my hands all the time. I took initiative and tried every day to ground my emotions, thoughts, and actions. There were days I failed and days I succeeded. The key is to try every day to ground yourself. 

Find your escape or your outlet.

I wrote poetry, I wrote my thoughts, and I wrote articles to help others. I know writing is my way of destressing, but I was not necessarily stressed. I wanted to document the way I felt, my own opinion, and my perspective as a future journalist. I know that there is so much for everyone to learn out there and in no way am I perfect. Writing can help get those thoughts out of your head and on physical paper (or electronically). Find that escape, outlet, or hobby that helps you reflect without leaving you anxious.

It is okay to feel unmotivated (a lot) lately.

For starters, I was against the entire phrase, “You will never get this much free time again.” Is that a threat? So, I have to be overworked and stressed 24/7? It made me so uncomfortable. That is why I think I burnt out after October; I was so busy all year long, even when I could have rested.

Society and social media will trick our minds so easily nowadays. That is why I am here to stop you in your tracks before you burn out. Take a day, a week, or (if you can financially) a month off. Sometimes we need to just reset our routines, brains, and lifestyle. At the end of the day, our lives are a reflection of choices we made. Make the choice today or tomorrow to rest. 

Rejoice on those good days!

When you are having a good day, don’t think too much about the next day or the next week. I think it is so important to soak in all that glory. When I am having a good day, I will watch my favorite show, listen to some upbeat music and write (or read) for fun. It is such a small act for yourself, to appreciate life and how happy days are still there. There are so many reasons to smile in this world – if your day was one, celebrate it! 

As we start a new year, let’s set intentions rather than “resolutions.” It is so important to be intentional with our choices in life. Try being intentional with what you choose to tackle this year. Whether your intentions are for your mental health, physical, or spiritual health. In the end, we are responsible for setting the true vision for ourselves.

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About the Author

Melanie Oliva is a student journalist at the University of Missouri. She is majoring in Journalism with an emphasis in Magazine Writing and Investigating Journalism and a minor in Women and Gender Studies. Melanie loves shopping local, oat milk lattes, and listening to music. Follow her on Instagram and Twitter.


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