College, wellness

Why I Go To Counseling

Hey friends!

Cue the usual, “it’s been so long since I posted” intro.

Today I had such a great experience I wanted to share my thoughts as soon as I got home from lab and could open my laptop. Here’s the deal, I go to the counseling center at my college. It’s something that I’m not necessarily ashamed of but I also don’t share that as my fun fact when I’m meeting someone new. I’ve contemplated sharing my experiences with counseling on here before but I didn’t feel really compelled to do it until now. I briefly talked about it in my post about “The Most Important Lessons College Taught Me” but today was such a great day I just need to put it out there. If you’re reading this waiting for your sign to go to counseling: this is it. This is the sign!

I’ve seen positive changes in myself.

I used to be just a whole ball of stress. It’s actually funny because before exams people would always tell me how calm I was and mentally I would say, “If only you knew.” And here’s the thing, being stressed is good. It shows you care, but too much of anything isn’t good. And there’s a fine line between wanting to do well and obsessing over it. At some point stress isn’t helpful, it only hinders you. Last year the stress was just too much and even during exams if I started to get stressed I’d be sitting there thinking “okay let’s just get an 83” instead of actually thinking about what was on the exam! Isn’t it crazy that we let ourselves waste so much energy going down the negative thoughts rabbit hole.

Fast forward to this year, I feel so much calmer. When people tell me I’m calm I think, “of course I am, I’m vibrating higher.” A whole post on that is coming up soon! I don’t feel compelled to stay up until God knows when reading the slides “one more time”. I can appreciate all the effort I put into studying and when I’m taking an exam I can think through what I do know so that I can logically figure it out. I’ve even seen improvement in my confidence in my practical skills and patient interactions. I’m not saying I never get stressed anymore because that’s just not realistic but I’m much better at reeling it in than I used to be.

Other people have seen positive changes in me.

This was the reason I was inspired to write this post. Today I had a meeting with my academic advisor and she asked me how I was doing this semester. Just to give you a little background, I went to her office maybe four or five times last spring, and I cried three or four of those times. There were some times last year where I was just like I don’t know how anyone can do this, I don’t think I can do this. My advisor has known me since I was a freshman and she told me that prior to starting the grad phase, I had the grades to do this and that I just needed to figure out how to handle all of this new stress. So I continued going to the counseling center and working on myself and when I had my meeting with my advisor today it went completely differently.

When she asked me how I was doing and I told her that I was doing much better in my classes and I was just overall more confident in myself she told me that she saw it too. It’s one thing to have that feeling that you really are doing well but to have that validation from someone else is unreal. A year before she had been my proctor for my modalities check off and I failed. I set everything up correctly and said my parameters but when asked to repeat them I had doubted myself and changed my answer. This semester I had her as my proctor for my mobilizations practical and I went in so much calmer than I had been the year before. Just the mindset I went in with set me so far ahead. When she asked me to repeat the type of mobilization I chose I did so as if there could not possibly be another right answer. And I earned myself an A.

After my advising meeting, I was driving to the library to pick up a book I had on hold and “Good as Hell” came on the radio and can I just say I was 100% feeling good as hell. And once I finish writing this post I’ll be adding that to my vibrate higher playlist.

Mental health is just as important as physical health.

Yes, I’ll say it louder for the people in the back, mental health is just as important as physical health. Maybe it’s just the Springfield College spirit, mind, and body philosophy in me but it’s true! You are your best self when you take care of yourself! You can read more about me talking about how I balance my triangle here.

Life is hard.

I can’t imagine a better reason! I truly believe that everyone can benefit from counseling at some point in their life. Just because you start going doesn’t mean you’re stuck going every week for the rest of your life. I’ve actually gone to counseling twice now, I went second semester of my sophomore year and then I started going again the fall of my senior year.

I think in some cases counseling is very similar to physical therapy in that the goal is to not have you go forever. While there are some people that may benefit for being in counseling for the long haul (and there’s nothing wrong with that!) most people don’t need to go once a week for the rest of their life. Here’s one more tip: your therapist cannot fix all your problems. You fix all your problems by implementing the strategies you learned in counseling.

And there it is, the reasons why I go to counseling. My hope in sharing this is that it adds to the already present conversation that counseling isn’t for crazy people, it’s for everyone.

Just a reminder, a good counseling relationship is just that, a relationship. It may take you time to find someone that you really click with so don’t give up if your first counselor isn’t the one!

Vibrate higher!

xox,

Marissa

College

The Most Important College Lessons

The week before my freshman year I was in the Happiest Place on Earth reading an Odyssey Online article about the most Magical Place on Earth. Yes I was sitting in the Animal Kingdom Lodge looking at giraffes and reading an article about Springfield College that went viral, even among students who hadn’t had orientation yet. I still remember reading that article and being so excited, fast forward four years and I can confirm it is the other most Magical Place on Earth.

But I’m not here to tell you about why you should choose Springfield College. If you wanted that speech you should have come on one of my tours! Instead this is going to be what Springfield College taught me.

Spirit, Mind, and Body: Keep it balanced people

At Springfield College we are always throwing around upside down equilateral triangles. Why? Because all of those traits are equally important and if one outweighs the other, the triangle is just going to fall over.

But even at a school where everyone agrees finding balance is important, it doesn’t always happen. Some Sundays I felt like I had no time to go to church. We had one mass every Sunday at 4pm and some times I just felt like if I did go I would sit there for an hour and make mental checklists of everything I had done and everything I still needed to do. So instead I listened to my “If Not Me” playlist or I found some podcasts like Catholic Stuff you Should Know and The Christian Feminist Podcast.

That being said some semesters I was so on top on my faith. I even became a Eucharistic minister during my time at school. The priest at my school has been so supportive of us. He takes the time after mass to get to know us and he came to a number of my dance shows. He even showed up to baccalaureate with presents for the seniors!

As for the mind aspect, if any category got priority it would be mind. I mean it was college. Keep in mind that while you are in school, your grades are not the most important thing! Focus on learning what you need to but do not get caught up on being the best. Much easier said than done but two years from now, when I’m treating a patient they really aren’t going to ask me what grade I got on the third kinesiology exam.

And body, this one can get swept under the rug too. Between teaching yoga and dancing I am pretty active but I definitely did not hit the gym as much as I have when I wasn’t taking grad classes. But I have a few easy fixes for you.

First, read your notes on the bike. I’m not really into spin but sometimes reading on the bike was really nice. This also works for the elliptical but my eyes cannot focus on a piece of paper when on the elliptical. Another solution: record yourself reading the notes and then listening to them. One of my friends did this and shared her recordings with me and now I could study on the elliptical! Then I started making my own!

DISCLAIMER: In the spirit of keeping your triangle balanced, do not study at the gym unless it’s midterms/finals week! You deserve an hour to yourself!

Your People Will Find You

Senior Suite 406

One of the scariest things about starting at a new school is making new friends. I was in the unofficial Facebook group (that’s where Allison and I kinda met, kinda not, but that’s a story for another time) and Quad (an app for students to meet each other) and I was so worried about finding my people.

Lucky enough for me my best friends were all on my freshman year floor. The girls I lived with for the next three years mainly came from the third floor of Reed Hall. While we met a few more people throughout the year, our friendship started in the common room when we watched Disney movies every Friday or Saturday night.

When I gave tours at school one of the my most frequently asked questions was “What’s been my favorite memory so far?” This was definitely a tough one but I always had to explain that there’s not one thing, but it’s all the little things. One story I shared with people happened my junior year when I was with three of my roommates in our suite. One of our roommates had said, “Maya aren’t you making popcorn?” a little too late and as soon as Maya opened the microwave smoke came out. So the three of them were on top of our counters, opening windows, and fanning the smoke away from the detector because no one wants to be those people. You may be asking what was I doing? I was sitting on the couch, laughing, and filming the whole thing. It’s such a silly thing but in my opinion, those moments mean the most.

You are Your Own Biggest Advocate

Memories, my senior piece and the perfect ending to my time at Springfield College.
Photo is not mine, it was taken by our school’s photographer!

No one is going to look out for you like you can. And no one knows exactly what you need like you do. I’ve learned how to advocate for myself in a number of ways over my time in college.

The night before we graduated a few of us were sitting on the green. And someone was asking the greatest thing you did in the past four years. We went around the circle and when it was my turn I said my greatest accomplishment was taking my mental health seriously. To be completely honest, I’m not sure where that came from because I never really talk about the fact that I go to the counseling center unless someone else brings up that they go or it seems like someone should go and I tell them as a “hey there’s nothing wrong with going”. I’ve never had a problem with asking for help when it comes to getting a tutor so I don’t know why I had viewed counseling as any different. It all goes back to the previous lesson, keep your triangle balanced! If you need to talk to someone there’s no shame in that.

I’ve also learned how to advocate for myself with professors. It may seem scary because they are in a position of power, but no one is going to double check the grading rubric to make sure everything was scored right. If it is that important to you, you need to address it because no one else is going to lose sleep over it. Even if nothing ends up changing, you can go to sleep knowing you did all that you could.

Now I’m not saying your teachers don’t care about you. I’ve been fortunate to have amazing teachers my whole life and teachers really do put their heart and soul into your education. What I am saying is that everyone makes mistakes and if you have questions ask them! There’s no such thing as a stupid question, remember?

Here’s one last story about staying true to yourself. Our dance club has feedback sessions for all of the pieces in the spring show. Hear me out, getting feedback is not bad, it can be a helpful process but in my experiences it can also change the piece in a way that wasn’t the original intention. This is because feedback comes in two forms subjective and objective.

Subjective feedback is personal. It’s the “I appreciated…”, “I wonder what would happen if…”, or “I thought…”. While objective feedback is “You guys weren’t together”, “Your toes weren’t pointed”, “Your legs weren’t straight”.

I personally hate subjective feedback. While I can appreciate hearing about the moments that stuck out to people or the moments that didn’t feel quite right, that doesn’t mean I should change what I have created because someone didn’t get it. The application of feedback is tricky because each person views dance through a different lens, so how can you ever appeal to everyone in the audience? You. Can’t.

At this point you may be asking yourself, “Okay what’s the point?” The point is do not let anyone’s opinion change you if it is not a positive change. If their opinion does not help you grow, let it go. You cannot appeal to everyone, and the only person you need approval from is yourself.

And that’s it! Not all of the lessons I learned at Springfield, I didn’t think you wanted to hear about the convex-concave rules for joint mobilizations, but these are some of the most important lessons. Springfield College has shaped me into the person I am today, and while I will have student loans for years to come, the lessons were priceless.

xox,

Marissa

College, Uncategorized, wellness

The Twenty Four Hour Rule

When I was younger my grandmothers used to watch me after school. One time when I was sick my Nana told me the 24 hour rule. The rule is that you’re only allowed to sit on the couch doing nothing for one day. Then you have to get up and carry on.

So why am I sharing this? I’ve started to apply this to when things aren’t going so well too. If you do bad on a test you deserve your 24 hour mourning period but at that point there is nothing you can do. You can’t go back and change how you studied, what you studied, or the answers you filled in. So why dwell on it?

Say you don’t get the work study job you really wanted? There’s more out there! I promise there is going to be something else out there. From my personal experience I have found that every time something has not worked out for me in the way I wanted I end up getting something even better in the long run.

I’ve definitely mentioned it before but it is so important to keep a positive state of mind going into anything. If you go into your next job interview with the feeling of not being good enough it’s going to show in your body language. If you’re constantly thinking you’re not going to be good enough, your interviewer is going to see you in the same light.

So give yourself 24 hours, your feelings are valid but don’t let yourself dwell on it! You can still be in your feelings after 24 hours you just can’t let your negative thoughts consume you!


Photo from: http://spiritualcleansing.org/it-does-not-do-to-dwell-on-dreams-and-forget-to-live/

Let me know how you shake off any bad juju in the comments!

xox,

Marissa

Uncategorized, wellness

Wellness Wednesday: Meditation

Happy Wednesday! Today I’m going to be talking about the benefits of meditation and sharing some links to meditations that I have used in the past.

I think meditation is so beneficial but sometimes it’s hard to sit down and forget everything on your to do list. To me, it’s similar to yoga in that I always feel better after I do it but it’s sitting down to actually do it that’s the hard part. Sometimes I think why would I put off finishing all of these things that are stressing me out when I could simply just do those things now.

Here’s misconception #1 meditation can be as long as you need it to be! I will be linking 15, 30, and 60 minute options but there are so many more out there! You don’t need to sit clear an hour of your day to do meditation. You can also meditate anywhere! Meditation is a form of mental exercise you can take with you everywhere.

The following information is from this Mayo Clinic article:

  • Meditation helps you focus on the present.
  • Meditation helps increase patience.
  • Meditation increases self awareness.
  • Meditation can help medical conditions like anxiety, asthma, depression, high blood pressure, sleeping problems, and tension headaches.

Here are the types of meditation out there:

  • Guided meditation: This is the type of meditation I am most familiar with. Of the different types of guided meditation I am most familiar with the ones that talk you through bringing awareness to different body parts or the ones that have you visualize a relaxing scene.
  • Mantra meditation: This is when you repeat a word or phrase in your head or outlaid for a period of time.
  • Mindfulness meditation: This is a type of meditation that focuses on being in the moment.
  • Qi gong: this is a type of traditional Chinese meditation that that combines meditation, physical movement, and bringing awareness to our thoughts and breath.
  • Tai Chi; I took this type of meditation as a physical education class for school and it was so much fun! Tai Chi is another way to connect mindfulness and breath with movement.  I learned Tai Chi Chuan which incorporates a sword into the mix. This is also a great way to improve balance.

Here are some resources for you guys to try your hand at mediation:

Guided Meditation  & To End Your Day: from the creator of the Pilates Challenge. She also has a meditation challenge that I will be trying soon! Both of these are around 15 minutes.

Silva Meditation: about 30 minutes long, just a heads up… I have never made it to the end of this one!

Tai Chi: here is a beginning Tai Chi lesson. The whole video is around 10 minutes but once you learn it it should only take 5, unless you chose to repeat it.

Choosing Mantras: this is a short clip that teaches you a little more about picking mantras.

Stay relaxed!

xox,

Marissa