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The Carroll News

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Anna’s Adventures: learning how to destress

Anna Maxwell
Anna Maxwell’s finished cross-stitching of a rose after three weeks of intermittent stitching.

During my first year at John Carroll, I have experienced an immense amount of stress. Writing papers, meeting deadlines and trying to get involved have made for many late nights and crying sessions with friends from home on the phone. Especially during the first semester, I struggled to destress because I was extremely focused on assignments and trying to fit in. However, this second semester has allowed me to experiment with different means of destressing without a demanding workload or the pressures of a new social life. 

First, I attempted to read more because I have always loved reading and lost sight of that during my first semester due to assignments. Unfortunately for me, reading only worked to keep me from stress for so long. I read “Ninth House” and “Hell Bent” by Leigh Bardugo (which I wholeheartedly recommend), but after reading “Book Lovers” by Emily Henry (another great read), I could not step back from my stress while reading. I was dragging myself through books without so much as one lower number on my BPM to show my progress. With a heavy heart, I put the books back on my shelf and moved on to (hopefully) better things. 

I then tried to fill my weekends with events and hangouts to have something to look forward to and instill a sense of hope throughout the week. However, once again, my hopes were soon squashed. Due to the strange weather toward the first half of the semester (I hate Ohio weather), it was really difficult to find a time when all of my friends could go out and also avoid the freezing cold and sinister snow that plagued on and off campus. 

Finally, as a last-ditch attempt to not spend all of my nights sitting in bed watching reruns and probably crying, I spontaneously decided to purchase a mini cross-stitching kit at Loganberry Books in Cleveland. To my surprise, I really enjoyed cross-stitching and it greatly relieved my stress. I have always been able to sew, both manually and with different machines, but I had a hard time enjoying it. I was in 4H and had a great experience, but I knew that sewing wasn’t going to be my “thing.” I did not want to make my own clothes when I could just buy them from American Eagle (my favorite place). 

Cross-stitching has helped to show me a fun avenue where I can both use my sewing skills and my love for art to make interesting creations while also lowering my stress. Rather than getting angry or worried about classes, I now can use that energy to work on cross-stitching and other crafts. Thanks to cross-stitching, I have also made hats by knitting with a loom that I had received as a gift when I was younger (that I had never used before, sorry Mom). Sometimes crafts do have their own stressful component, however, even when I am upset with a certain outcome of a craft, it is a nice change of pace from staring at Canvas with fear. 

All in all, if you are currently a college student or anyone for that matter, under stress because of an immense amount of work or anxiety, finding a way to destress is essential. I encourage everyone to try making crafts or cross-stitching as a way to use that bottled-up energy for something productive and also enjoyable! 

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About the Contributor
Anna Maxwell
Anna Maxwell, Arts and Life Editor
Anna Maxwell is the Arts and Life Editor for the Carroll News from Ashtabula, Ohio. She is a Freshman at John Carroll University who is an Undecided major. Anna has been writing for the Carroll News since the fall of 2023! In addition to writing for the Carroll News, she is also an Honors student here at John Carroll, and she is excited to continue writing in the years to come! When not writing, Anna can be found reading a new book, or binge-watching her favorite Netflix shows! She can also be found spending time with her friends and participating in events around campus! In the future, Anna aspires to become a writer of fiction novels, and also an editor for a well-known publishing company! To contact Anna, email her at [email protected].

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