What to Do When You're Feeling Overwhelmed

What to Do When You're Feeling Overwhelmed

Here at Barnard, students and our community at large prioritize self-care. Adjusting to college life can be difficult, and I can attest that there will probably be some bumps along the way. Learning how to deal with the times where I am in a funk is something I am still working on, but with my friends, family, and Barnard to support me, I know that I am not alone. Here are some actions you can take when you’re feeling stressed, overwhelmed, anxious, or just not like yourself.

Go for a walk, head to the gym, do yoga in your dorm, meditate...

Nearly every self care guru will tell you this, but man, endorphins are real. I know that when I am feeling low that even just ten minutes of some sort of movement can instantly change my mood. During my first year at Barnard, Yoga to the People (a donation-based yoga studio on 104th and Broadway) became a refuge when I needed space from campus or just time to myself. Sometimes even just a gentle stretching YouTube video can relax me and get me out of my own head. Even if it’s a short walk to grab a smoothie from Oasis, something to get me moving always eases my mind when it can’t seem to stop whirring. 

Be with the people you love

Sometimes being alone can be just what I need, but I am intentional about not isolating myself. Whether it’s studying with friends, ordering food in with roommates, or just watching a movie with my suitemates, just being with someone whose company I enjoy can relax me. Since I don’t live close to home, calling my mom, sister, or grandmother can lift my spirits ten-fold. Talking to someone who knows me well and just makes me feel good can be exactly what I need to turn my mood around.


Sophomore year I bought myself a one-sentence-a-day happiness journal where you write a thought about something that made you happy that day. From something as small as a good song came on while I was walking to class or that John Jay had my favorite meal or that I saw my favorite band in concert, thinking about the things that made me smile that day, no matter how big or small, can shift my mindset to a more positive one.

Visit Furman Counseling 

Furman has been there for me when I needed to talk to an adult who isn’t my mom or grandmother. Talking to someone who is not there to judge, but rather just sit and listen has been a great space for me to get whatever I need off my chest. Furman has been there for me for more than just my first year at Barnard (and they can also refer more long-term care if you are seeking that as well). There are many other resources that Barnard makes available for students if a more formal care space is something you need.

Respecting your needs

If I am feeling stressed or overwhelmed, sometimes the best thing for me is to just stop and take some time to breathe. Sometimes I’ll just sit and listen to my favorite podcast (something about Jonathan Van Ness’s voice just lifts my spirits), but also watching my favorite show, reading a book, journaling, drawing, or anything else that I want can just be a much-needed brain break. 

It is more than okay to not feel your best. Taking the time to learn and do what makes you feel good is just as important as doing your academic homework or other responsibilities. This is definitely something that is easier said than done but with the support of Barnard, my friends, and family, I know that I am never alone.

How to Make the Most Out of NSOP

How to Make the Most Out of NSOP