Sensing the stress

Merriam Webster’s Word of the Day: Equanimity



1: evenness of mind especially under stress

2: right disposition : balance

The other day, I remembered it was November. I had obviously noticed the instantaneous switch from Halloween apparel to Christmas trees at stores, as well as the increase of people wearing blanket scarves and wool galore. But I hadn’t processed the actual meaning of November — the rapidly approaching end of the fall semester. Only turkey time and final exams separate the academic term and returning home for a month of gluttonous physical stagnation and flip flop-less showers. Stress, understandably, occurs in this specifically ephemeral time period. I’ve collected a few recommendations, categorized under the five senses, to ensure stability and enjoyment of our surroundings before heading home to be berated by distant family members at holiday parties.

  • Sound: Listen to the Goddard church bells while doing work outside. A few weeks ago, I went to turn a paper in that I had painstakingly worked on. I placed my essay in my professor’s box and walked out of the building onto the Academic Quad, which was remarkably deserted. It was an oddly out-of-body experience hearing only thundering church bells ringing, like I had died in some art cinema film and possibly low-key arrived in hell. But then I saw a dog pooping on the lawn a few feet away and reasoned that I was still probably alive. I then found a spot on the lawn, needing a break, and began to read in the sunlight. 10/10 recommend for a quintessential Mary and Percy Shelley aesthetic.
  • Sight: Watch the sunrise. This recommendation, unfortunately, was also born out of staying up too late doing homework. After a rough night in the Halligan computer lab (I actually got down to only my skivvies at one point, just because the building was completely empty and I could — sorry, security cameras), the rising sun greeted me as I left. Nature truly does help in grounding your mental state, even if this sounds like some transcendental trope. You don’t have to take your clothes off for the full effect though. Just an option.
  • Touch: Burrito yourself. Lie down in bed and essentially swaddle yourself like an infant with various fabrics with your head resting on an ugly yet unbelievably soft embroidered pillow. I’m talking down comforter, quilts, electric blankets. Just don’t suffocate under the piles of warmth. What a great way to go though.
  • Smell: Buy a new winter fragrance. I feel like colognes and perfumes are severely underrated in pulling together an entire look, as sight and smell are extremely connected. Plus, pleasant scents are great for mellowing anyone out. Tangentially, I legitimately thought for a while about dropping out of school, moving to Paris and running a personalized perfume atelier in a dingy apartment. Find me on Yelp.
  • Taste: Pancakes. Infuse some cold-weather flavor — like pumpkin, cinnamon or seasonal affective disorder — into the batter. Cook and enjoy with friends. Nothing can keep you leveled out like a full belly and feeling extraordinarily thick from copious butter consumption.

So cheers to aligned chakras, blissfully ignoring real world responsibilities and the rapidly approaching winter hibernation in the form of endlessly watching movies alone in bed for a month.