In my youth I decided that university wasn’t for me. I wanted to see the world. To live in another country. To Fly Like An Eagle. That’s exactly what I did. After an extended time overseas, I finally came back to Australia for good, in 2004. I met a guy, married, worked, had three kids…. For that reason, my university journey is taking shape in my late thirties, instead of my teens.
Tomorrow, the kids go back to school for term 3. A welcomed return for me (not so much for them, because helloooo…homework – YUK!)
It’s also a week until I return to university. After having studied online for a few years (and getting nowhere thanks to not getting cross-credits) I have found that on-campus is definitely the best way for me to study successfully. The only problem is I have mild social anxiety. I do not like crowds, and I do not like being around a lot of strangers. Whenever I think about having to go in to the campus I am a combination of excitement to be learning new things, and sick to my stomach because..people.
I’m trying not to acknowledge my anxiety and nerves, but they are creeping up, sitting on my chest and pressing down so much that I can physically feel it change the way I breathe.
I don’t have any ‘university friends’ as last semester I was doing a couple of mandatory subjects that were aimed at a cross section of courses, thus not strictly in my ‘field of study’. Also, I’m not good at making friends. I love being friends. I love having people in my community, but I’m so awkward when it comes to making them. I have a knack of being really quiet and observant, until I know you. Once I do know you though, look out! You’ll never get me to shut up! It’s hard, but I’m going to try to reach out this semester.
Anywho, I’ve managed my anxiety with diet and exercise for awhile now, however my exercise has slipped. My diet isn’t terrible, and I try to stick to Gluten Free, Wheat Free as much as I possibly allow myself. I certainly don’t beat myself up when I do eat a spoonful of Nutella, but I am aware it will affect me. In the past I have seen marked improvements through exercise. Something I have learned is that I really need to do a ‘type’ of movement every day. If I don’t do it every day, my body becomes a blob. Yesterday I had great intentions of going out for a run (jog/walk/shuffle – let’s face it, what I do isn’t graceful, but it is out there!) I had on all the gear and then bam… throughout the day, my mind talked me out of going. I didn’t do it. Complete regret. Why didn’t I just lace up the shoes and go? I KNOW I’ll feel better. It’s like I self-sabotage myself by not doing it. Self-talk is huge. How you talk to yourself reflects on how you put your own energy into the world. I also believe that you can change the way you think by being conscious of the how you speak to yourself. Being present, and listening. I’ll listen to Benedict…because he knows…
Anywho, this week I am committing to three thirty minute runs (and anything above that is a bonus!). I am also starting back at dance class this week, which I thoroughly enjoy. So, whilst the anxiety is creeping up, and I’m feeling panicky, and scared to return to school, I am also going to commit to getting out and exercising, as well as being kind to myself. Because really, in the end, being kind to yourself really does matter. Regardless of my ‘friend count’ I know that I am important, and I matter.
***Shout Out to a wonderful online community. I’ve written about them before. They are known as Operation Move. A true Sisterhood. If you are into being around positive women, who uplift, encourage, and inspire, then they are your community! Come over and check them out on Facebook! I’m fairly certain that without them I wouldn’t believe in myself half as much, and I certainly wouldn’t have the confidence to move as much.***