On Tuesday 14th May, TINT, together with Enter The Now hosted an event in the cafeteria of the Atlas building in TU/e campus. The topic of this event was dealing with stress and preventing burnout, hence the name Under Pressure.
Nowadays, many students deal with stress, anxiety, depression, which can all result in burnout, especially since people don’t like talking about these ‘sensitive’ topics, which just makes it worse. This is why, Under Pressure workshop was so essential for some people who attended. Just hearing that it’s okay to sometimes feel depleted or having a very unproductive day isn’t the end of the world, was enough for certain attendees to feel more at peace with themselves. Whereas, for others, just talking and meeting new people was a nice end to a sunny Tuesday.
So lets talk about the content of the workshop: two life coaches gave presentations, Rachelle van Andel and Margit van Tuijl. Rachelle is actually a life coach in Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam where she recently started her career. While she was presenting, we were also served dinner, which was a good way for everyone to keep quiet and listen to the speaker.
What stuck out to me about her presentation were 2 things:
1. 5 stages while emerging into adulthood:
- Exploration of identity – young adults have several interests, they choose which university to apply to, or start working simple jobs while figuring out where their passion lies.
- Instability which most commonly happens between ages of 18-25, since most people aren’t financially stable and cannot make decisions fully on their own.
- Focus on ourselves, which happens when you’re finally becoming an adult financially speaking, where people explore the path of their career, what inspires them and where their passion is.
- Feeling in between – this is the tricky part, as most of us are focusing more on ourselves, rather than starting families in mid 20s like our parents’ generations. Young adults are able to take on their own responsibilities, but aren’t quite there yet for more, such as marriage, or even kids.
- Age of possibilities – most emerging adults believe that this is when their lives start improving. Some also start comparing their parents’ decisions and think they will do a better job in life.
It is essential to know these 5 stages, as the number of young adults with quarter life crisis is increasing. Many compare themselves to these ‘perfect’ lives of influencers on social media, which are mostly not even true. Nobody shows their pitfalls online, just the peaks. It is normal to take a little longer for figuring life out, there’s nothing wrong with being a late bloomer. I mean, there are 5 stages here and only the fifth one is when people start seeing a bigger picture. Improving your life doesn’t happen overnight, it’s a process that happens over a longer period of time.
Just by being aware of this, one is already taking a step towards preventing burnout and learning to deal with stress.
2. You have a body – USE IT, dance!
Read the statement above again. You’re welcome. In the slide where Rachelle recommended this, there was a picture of a kid dancing in church, while grumpy old men in the back are looking very angry at the kid. The picture really does say a thousand words. Don’t neglect the child in you, embrace it. Enjoy life and DANCE!
Before Margit’s presentation, we had a break by playing Bingo, but not just any Bingo, Burnout Bingo if I may say. 16 most common early symptoms of burnout were written down and the audience were asked to raise hands once certain symptoms were mentioned. Seeing the symptoms on paper and seeing how many other people face them was a good start for a short discussion and Q&A where Rachelle participated and also answered questions. Afterwards, Margit went ahead and added more early symptoms of burnout such as loss of appetite, chronic fatigue, insomnia, anxiety, fear of doing normal things in life such as choosing which colour socks should one wear today. She also repeated several times that just because the aforementioned symptoms are usually causes of burnout, it doesn’t mean that someone cannot feel different and still suffer from a burnout. One person might lose the appetite, whereas someone else might want to binge eat instead.
I loved when Margit showed a picture of an iceberg in her presentation.
This picture is a perfect representation of our feelings. How much you show your feelings to the outside world and how much you actually keep in yourself. So many problems are hiding under surface and this is where life coaches focus their time on. They want to see what kind of thoughts and feelings students are hiding. In order to improve in a certain aspect of life or fix a problem, finding a root cause is crucial and that cannot be found above the surface. It would’ve been too easy and frankly, many therapists would lose their jobs.
It can be hard and scary to dig deep inside your soul, but it gets better once it’s done. This is also where our inspiration hides. Remember what made you excited when you were young, then start from there and focus on that.
Furthermore, Margit reminded us that it takes only 21 days to make something into a habit. If you struggle sticking to a certain schedule, plan out your week with the tasks you’d like to accomplish and once those are done, reward yourself. Either have a scoop of your favourite ice cream, or buy a new shirt. Even writing a note to yourself saying how awesome you are for pushing through the week is an incredible reminder in though times.
Do you struggle finding your passion?
Well, we got some insight about that also during the workshop. Make a mood board containing pictures and/or quotes from magazines that awaken that spark in you. Then, put it above your bed or in your toilet, wherever you believe it will have a positive impact on your life.
Lastly, meditation has been a very popular topic in the past few years. It has been scientifically proven that meditation helps with accepting the chaos happening inside of your soul and becoming more conscious about it. Headspace is a famous app that gives great tips about meditation which are especially helpful for beginners.
The wrap up of Margit’s presentation was simple and should be used in day to day life:
- Find balance between tasks & energy.
- Speak up about your struggles, it’s okay.
At the end of the workshop, Enter The Now group performed a theatrical presentation about our emotions. Two members from Enter The Now started by expressing dissatisfaction with their lives and how they don’t see a happy end. A mountain which they couldn’t climb seemed so far away and unreachable, until one of them decided to stay at the base of the mountain, have a little cottage there and live a simple life. And so they did, they had only a bed, a sink and a toilet. Although they were happy with that decision, not long after they started feeling bored and thought there was more to life. Together, they came to an agreement to have a small garden, which grew into beautiful flowers as well as vegetables which can be used for meals.
The point of the story is that just because life seems hopeless in one moment, it doesn’t mean it will always stay like that. If you are unable to climb the mountain, try setting another goal and focus on accomplishing that one. After a discussion about their performance, we had around 5 minutes of meditation guided by Enter The Now members.
All in all, the workshop was a great event where people with similar current situations in life met and discussed how they can improve for the future. Furthermore, talking about topics that can be troubling to mind is a good way to stop feeling the burden of those thoughts. Thank you to all members of TINT as well as Enter The Now for listening to students’ needs and hosting this event.
By Nela Rozic
Photos by Youfang Peng