Our society is built on stress, and for some reason, I seem to thrive off of it. I’m a fast-paced, no-wasted-time kind of person and I get antsy when I have too much down time (which isn’t going to be an asset on SST, I know).Some may say I take on too much. As a true “I was Undecided for all of my first year” kind of student, I would argue that I just have an interest in everything and am awful at narrowing down my activities.
Perhaps I do have a tendency to overextend myself, though. It’s impossible to do everything, but my mentality tends to be to try to get as close as possible. This semester, for example, I am the executive editor of the Record and I am in charge of Pinchpenny Press. I am also on the track and field team, in choir and PIN, and I am taking four classes. I would’ve also done Monologues if the rehearsals weren’t on Wednesday nights.
I’m beginning to realize that despite my seemingly wonderful time-management skills, living a life built on stress is not necessarily the best option. Living life with a nonstop mentality is living life with a high risk of burnout.
This isn’t to say I regret doing all I do. One of the things I appreciate most about Goshen College is that I am able to pursue many of my interests instead of having to choose just one thing to focus on. If you haven’t noticed already, I’m pretty terrible at choosing.
What I’m saying is this: if you’re like me and tend to live in a constant state of stress, I urge you to keep a couple of things in mind.
First, it is all right to prioritize one thing over another. Vital, even. Don’t be afraid to say no sometimes. It may feel like we should say yes to anything and everything, especially in a place like Goshen where opportunities to get involved are everywhere, but know your limits.
Second, no matter how busy you get, take time for yourself. It’s the little things that will keep you sane. For me, I am asleep before midnight every night unless I elect to stay up later. I don’t check my email after I’ve crawled into bed. I value my relationships and make sure to spend time with my friends. I read books, I do art, I watch Netflix. Make it a priority to take a few minutes each day to slow down. You work hard; you deserve it.
It’s just fine to want to do everything. For some of us, that’s just how we are and it works. But it is important to remain mindful of our basic needs as well. Self-care is all the rage at the moment, and for good reason. Why shouldn’t we take care of our brain the same way we take care of the rest of our health?
In a world where it always seems like somebody is expecting more, it’s time we take a step back and learn to embrace downtime. I’m still learning myself.