Whether you are in the beginning stages of adult life or have been doing this for a while, you may find adulting can be complicated. Even before many of us felt the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, our lives were busy. Whether it be meetings, work, school, kids or simply driving to and from destinations – we had an endless list of activities.
Post 2020 it was like we flipped the switch to keep up with the downward spiral of the economy and lost jobs.
FIRST THINGS FIRST
First, you need to know you are not alone. Regardless of what stage of life you are in, we are all doing the best we can. To some it may feel more like barely surviving, much less adulting. Where do we start to tackle this problem of living in an adult world with increasingly less time and fewer things contributing to our happiness and the happiness of those around us?
With so many choices and responsibilities and a lack of time, simply finding a place to start can be overwhelming. An easy place to start is simple breathing. With better breathing practices, you will be in a better state of mind to explore resources such as those offered by Dallas College.
TAKE A DEEP BREATH
Breathing may seem too easy when you are facing an endless cycle of exhaustion or wondering how you will pay mounting expenses. Breathing practices will not solve your immediate problems, but they will create a sense of relaxation. Breathing exercises are a tool for the stressors in life.
When we are overwhelmed, our brain triggers fight, flight or freeze survival mode. According to Scientific American, research shows when we are feeling frightened, in pain, tense or uncomfortable our breathing is faster and shallower. The speed and depth of our breath triggers our brain and body to prepare for stress.
Because this fight, flight or freeze response may be triggered more often as we continue to deal with the effects of a pandemic, it can lead to increased health problems, according to Harvard Health, as your immune system may struggle which can cause more stress.
Practicing deep breaths – in for four counts and out for five counts – is the first thing I do when I am overwhelmed. Some of my days are kicked off with exhaustion, what with shuttling my kids to various activities; monumental tantrums because sock seams are evil; deadlines; a past due bill; a gas tank perilously close to empty. These occurrences paired with exhaustion can push us over the edge. Overwhelm is the first response followed by frustration or anger which kicks off a negative and vicious cycle.
Apps such as Headspace, Calm and Breethe offer guided breathing exercises as well as meditations. These apps typically offer an initial free trial, but you can also check the internet for a free guided breathing exercise. The Calm Breathe Bubble | Breathing Exercise is a free guided breathing exercise available on YouTube.
I don’t have an on-call therapist, nor could I afford one for every moment I feel overwhelmed or every bad day. However, I can take deep breaths anywhere and at a moment’s notice. Once I have calmed my system with deep breaths, I can then assess the resources available to me.
CHECK YOUR RESOURCES
Taking advantage of available resources can happen once your brain is not on high alert. A calmer nervous system allows us to make better choices. Now determine which resources will help you the most.
One of the best places to look for resources is in your immediate network. If you don’t have a support system or community of people, look for opportunities through your employer or school.
Dallas College offers weekly Women’s Empowerment Network meetings. Meetings take place 1:30-3:30 p.m. on Thursdays with the purpose of supporting women students.
Dallas College offers a variety of events online and in person about everything from personal wellness to budgeting and financial tips. On March 9, El Centro Campus is hosting a free workshop on self-care from 1-2 p.m. The workshop will cover resources available to meet basic needs.
If you are looking to speak with someone about your stress, Dallas College offers counseling services from qualified licensed professionals. To meet with a counselor, schedule a visit online at bit.ly/dc_navigate.
Maybe you have a network and you have some knowledge on self-care, but a recent loss of employment is creating stress. Dallas College offers emergency financial aid for eligible students. By visiting the Edquity website, app.edquity.co, students can apply for emergency funding with a valid student ID. For more information, visit dallascollege.edu/emergencyaid.
If you find yourself in a new stage of adulting or have been unable to find stability, it does not have to be a constant source of stress. Take a breath and check out the options available to you as a Dallas College student, staff or faculty.