We live in a fast-paced, ’round-the-clock world.
Right out of high school, I got a job, went to college year-round (yes, 3 years of summer classes, too!), and worked both a full-time and part-time job right after I graduated. It has always been my personality to live for the grind. I like to work, stay busy, and be productive. Procrastination is my enemy.
College was the most stressful block of four years I’ve had so far, mostly because I’ve always had high expectations for myself. I was so stressed that by my junior and senior year, the mental strain was creating a physical toll on my health. It’s definitely in my personality to be very anxious, and too often I have let it take control.
My friend took me for a massage as a wedding gift a few weeks ago. After we were done, the masseuse came up to me and said, “You really, really needed that. Relax, breathe, take care of yourself, and come back more often.” Maybe it’s their way to sell you on more trips to the spa, and she didn’t know that I was unusually stressed because I was getting married just a few days later, but it really got me thinking: we, as a whole, really need to take more time to pause.
I began to see a shift in my stress levels when I started doing small things for myself that I enjoy: blogging, taking an extra five minutes in the shower, doing yoga, walking my dog, painting my nails, sleeping an extra hour on the weekends, and even simply applying a face mask I bought at Wal-Mart for a dollar. It goes to show that you don’t have to take a fancy vacation or trip to the spa to relax (though no one would blame you if you did). Indulging in a simple pleasure can bring you the same amount of peace, and it doesn’t have to cost you a dime.
When you’re feeling stressed, it’s important to take a little time for yourself. Just because you’re hitting pause for a second doesn’t mean you’re deviating from the tasks at hand. Your obligations will always be there, and so will your drive to complete them. It’s more about finding a balance for your own sanity.
Pick up that old hobby you used to do years ago, or find a hobby if you don’t have one. Learn something new. Teach yourself a skill. Go for a run, lay down the yoga mat and find your center, or break out the pens and start drawing. Oh what the hell, you could even take a day to binge watch all of the Harry Potter movies! The important thing is that you’re doing something that puts you in your happy place.
Always remember that your health and well-being should come first. How can you expect to perform well in school or your career if you’re worn down by stress? Even though stress is completely natural and unfortunately inevitable, it should never get to the point where your mind and body are being bogged down by the weight of it all.
Make a promise to yourself to pamper your body and mind. They are the only ones you get in this life, so make sure to treat them well. You’ll be amazed what a fresh and relaxed mind can do for your productivity!