The truth about anxiety abroad

Let’s get real. On my first post, my pre-departure post, I talked a bit about my anxiety and how nervous I was to go abroad. Since then I haven’t touched on my anxiety as much — which does not mean it hasn’t been present. Abroad is not all sunshine and roses, as much as it may seem from others, or even from my posts the past month and a half. We are almost to the halfway mark (August 16th) and time has flown by, so I think this is an appropriate time to get deep. Buckle up!

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View of Copenhagen from the “Round Tower” in the middle of the city

For some reason, the first few weeks of abroad were the easiest for me. I think I was so eager to meet new people and experience new adventures that I had no time to stop and really THINK. Now, however, my friends are more solidified and I find myself with more downtime. Maybe it’s the changing weather (huge sunshine girl, and it’s almost cloudy everyday here 😦 ), or maybe it’s just where I am in life right now, but I’ve been feeling a little bit disconnected from myself lately.

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Wall of an art exhibit on nature

I’ve been asking myself questions such as: did I choose the right core course? Other students seem to be having a lot of fun, and THAT class sounds super interesting — why didn’t I take that? Am I traveling enough? Am I traveling too much? Am I spending too much money? Am I spending enough time with different friend groups or am I limiting myself to the same people due to comfort? How about relationships? Aren’t I supposed to be engaging with the locals more? How do I do that and why is it not easy?

 

 

These thoughts have been circling my brain for the past week or so — and to be honest, I don’t have any good answers to any of them. I know I’m happy here, there’s no doubt about that, and I know I’ve made friends that care about me as much as I love and care about them, but my anxiety is telling me to question everything. I think I just need to go back to who I am — do more yoga, meditate, and fuel my body with the right foods to keep me going and stay happy. It sounds cliché, but keeping it simple and going back to the basics has always helped me find myself again. Simply eating similar foods to what I eat at home, doing yoga twice a week, and journaling can help bring me back to a better space.

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Some of the artist books we got to see on my field trip on Wednesday

I also miss Colorado (and Chicago) a LOT. Fall is my favorite time of year, and Copenhagen completely misses the mark on it. It went from sunny and warm to downright freezing, cloudy and rainy. I also just frankly miss nature. As much as I love Copenhagen and all it has to offer, there just is not enough nature to meet my needs (sorry, hippie Colorado girl here).

 

 

Long story short, even though I’ve been having doubts, miss my family and Colorado a lot, I know I made the right decision to come to Copenhagen. I think for me, I just need to not get so caught up in how to do abroad the “right” way, and focus on what I want out of it and what’s best for my lifestyle. I think a lot of other students would agree with me on this. Adapting to a new environment is one thing, but completely changing yourself to “fit in” is another. So here’s to the next few weeks, in which I will try to take more time for myself to help ease my anxiety, and for anyone else who needs to do the same — life is a series of ups and downs, and usually you learn more about yourself from the lows which will help ease you back into the high moments.

 

Sprinkled throughout this post are pictures of things that made me happy this week! My Wednesday trip to the art museum really made me think about who I am and what I love – art being one of those things. Additionally, I went on a nice long run today through a big park with lots of greenery, trees, some ponds, and sheep! So, enjoy things I found interesting and helped bring me peace during an anxious state of mind!

 

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2 Comments Add yours

  1. i love this, kara ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Kara says:

      thanks, Aidan 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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