It can be so hard to keep positive when you’re surrounded by stresses. The world is fast paced. And busy. And it feels like your to do list is never ending. You tick off one item and the next thing needs doing. With exams, and other commitments it’s been really difficult to not feel overwhelmed. This paired with any personal grief can exacerbate the stress even more and make you feel inexplicably alone. In the last month I’ve realised how important it is to make time for yourself especially in these moments of pain. And that memories can’t be blocked or tossed to one dusty compartment of the mind. They must be allowed to flow in, and then flow out when they are ready.
So can you manage both studying and coping with grief at the same time?
Above is my usual study set up – ignore my sock at the bottom. Believe it or not, this picture was largely unplanned; my study notes and the contents of my pencil case were open and sprawled across my bed. I just finished revising a section of my notes, sat back, and took a breather. It can be so difficult to manage studying, and the study-holic within me would tell me to carry on revising until the information is securely cemented into my brain with no chance of escape. However, going through loss has a funny way of telling your body what its limits are. This has meant accepting that I have done enough for the day and closing my folder of notes to have more time to myself. Maybe I didn’t finish studying everything I need to. Maybe I’m still rusty on some sentences. Maybe I don’t even remember some obscure fact about fruitflies. However, despite its heavy challenges, limiting my study time has been both a necessary and rewarding process – and has given me the time I need to relax a little.
As for the book in the picture, I always keep it nearby; it has been a staple in my healing. Having something to pick up and flick through the pages when my emotions seem too overwhelming – a seemingly regular occurrence nowadays – has been so valuable. I would recommend anyone that is going through the grieving process to look up this book. It’s definitely a way to make sense of pain and loss, and put it into perspective.
Funnily enough, some of my friends told me “throw yourself into work” to cope, however that is what I do on a daily basis – work like crazy. Admittedly it’s a good distraction, but the only thing which has truly helped is taking a step back – allowing me to bestow some much-needed time upon myself, to sift through and deal with grief. This is, of course, a work in progress, and each day I find myself forcing myself to put my notes down when I can tell that it is making me more miserable. Thus giving yourself the time you need to address your emotions, is truly an act of love and self-care. And something which definitely takes precedence over exams.