Ask Natalie: Stress and puke

“Dear Natalie,

I’m absolutely spent. I’ve had midterms, papers, money problems, friend drama and family issues. I’m tired and I’m losing speed for everything. I’m barely making it to class because all I want to do is sleep and not have the stress of everything hanging over my head like a black cloud of doom. I’m just so sick of feeling burnt out.”

There’s a point in all of our university careers where we get so involved in our own crap that we forget that most of it is inconsequential. We’re mostly all at an age when everything seems to hold massive amounts of importance. Everything. Every test that’s worth only two per cent. Every conversation with a friend you haven’t hung out with in a while. The mental debate whether to send that text to your ex or ex-friend. The whole world seems to be spinning and you’re just stuck in the middle of the storm. 

I’m not saying that you’re not spent because, as a fellow student, I know you probably are. I’m not even saying that your issues aren’t important because they are to you. I’m saying that you should take a step back, rub the sleep from your eyes and really look at your life. 

I like to plan things. I like to know how I should get places. But sometimes I don’t plan things well and anyone who knows me knows I have a talent for running late. I can filter what’s important, prioritize what needs to be done, but sometimes my filter gets full and I’m a mess. There’s no shame in that — I’m human, you’re human, it happens. And it seems to have happened to you.

When that filter breaks down, I can’t seems to put things in order. I have emails that need to be replied to as well as essays and papers that need to be written, edited and printed. I have friends who need talking to and dinners that needs to be made. I become a ball of stress.

You may have finished your midterms and maybe you didn’t do great on them, but they’re done and over with. You can deal with the fall-out (or celebrations!) later. You can correct your mistakes another time. Papers are written and sent off. You can look over your arguments when they are handed back. You need to take some time for you, the human, not you, the student.

Friends will be friends and they will fill your life with questions and issues that you never thought of before. Should Clara really take Simon to formal? What would Jerry think? Weren’t they together? If they’re not, why didn’t someone tell you? Is Clara mad at you? But the real question is does it matter? Or at least does it matter right now? 

Take a step back, you have to clear your filter. Take some days if you can — or at least a solid night — for yourself. Do something you love that you haven’t done in a while. Bake, paint, shop, shoot some hoops or nap and watch all the shows. Do something to make your body remember what it’s like to be normal. 

We have less than a month left of class. Exams — while they are sometimes scary — are a normal part of your life. Relax. Take some deep breaths. And then jump back in the fray.

“Dear Natalie,

I threw up on my roommate’s clothes last night when I was under the influence. How do I make it up to them so they don’t hate me and slowly plot to kill me in my sleep?”

First, gross.

Second, why don’t you have a garbage bin in your house?

Third, pancakes. 

If your roommate is a crazy person like mine is, they may not appreciate pancakes because they do not like breakfast food. You should consider moving out because of this. But also, seriously consider making them something else.

You should have also wash their clothes — like yesterday. And clean up anything else that was touched by your … sudden sickness. You should also buy some air fresheners because the smell of someone else’s puke in your room is not a pleasant one. 

You definitely should have done this already, but apologize. Probably about a million times. Hopefully they know you didn’t mean it and that you want to make it up to them (see above) and move on pretty quickly. If you’re lucky, the whole thing will be a joke they bring up when you’re drinking together. Worst case scenario, you’re looking for a new place when you’re lease is up.