It always seems like there is a never-ending to-do list. This list can be memorialized in your mind palace, various techy gadgets, or on paper. We all need this list to keep track of our many tasks and obligations related to school, work, family, and friends. Sometimes, it can feel good to always have something to work on or even to look forward to. I always feel a sense of accomplishment when an item is checked off my to-do list. While it gives me the motivation to keep pushing forward, this can become excessive and detrimental if I do not set boundaries.
Tagged: educate yourself
I want to share the importance of taking breaks and accepting when you need a break. We often overwork ourselves. And to be honest, that is totally okay! I always feel like I’m in a state of overworking myself, tired, anxious, and in the horrible stages of burnout. That is all before I started taking breaks and building them into my day-to-day routine. Breaks are a good way to switch your brain on and off from different tasks and practice self-care.
“You take Tylenol when your head hurts. You take those pills to stop your tummy from hurting when you eat ice cream. How is it different to take medication to make you feel better when you’re down?” My boyfriend said this to me today after I told him about the conversation that I had with a school psychiatrist.
Something that has come from my anxiety and affected my life greatly is my tendency to apologize too much, even in situations that do not warrant an apology. I did not realize that I was excessively doing this until my family and a significant other pointed it out to me. The significant other said that it seemed as if I was weak and self-conscious if I kept apologizing for everything. This was a huge wake-up call to me. It made me take a step back and look at the root of the issue.
Anxiety often feels like a battle between your mind and your heart. Your mind is telling you to “stop worrying, stop worrying, stop worrying,” while your heart continues to beat faster and faster, as if it welcomes the worry. I used to try and always deny the anxiety I would feel, whether it was during a performance, or before presenting to a class, or the anxiety I get when socializing. But I came to realize that denying your anxiety only makes it worse, causing it to fester and swell into what feels like a little green anxiety monster living inside of you. It’s not something you can continually repress or shoo away.
22 more weeks and I’ll graduate with another degree. It seems so close and so far away at the same time. I wish I could be more excited for what’s to come, but right now I just feel anxious. A list of things that make me anxious are paying for my student loans, finding a job, making enough money, managing my family relationships, feeling incompetent, not feeling good enough to do anything right, and so on.
During the winter months, I always begin to notice that my depression gets worse. A few years ago in therapy, my therapist informed me that I was most likely suffering from seasonal depression. I knew that I always preferred the spring and summer more than winter, but I had NO idea about the mental toll winter had on me. Not only do I always feel more depressed and anxious, but I find myself being super fatigued and having little motivation. Of course, moving to a warmer area could solve the issue of seasonal depression, but that is not something that I want to do, and a lot of people are unable to move due to seasonal depression. Rather than making a huge life change, here are some things I have found that help combat the winter blues.
Have you ever had a day where you can’t get out of bed? You wake up sleepily then drag on throughout the long, dreary day without getting anything done, and feel bad because of this. If so, you aren’t alone. I’ve struggled with guilt around productivity constantly for many years, hoping for things to change. I’ll have days where I can do anything in the world at once and then other days where nothing on my list of to-dos seems to get accomplished.
During the winter months, depending on where you live, moods can change. You may feel sad and down during the winter months. Seasonal Affective Disorder is a common type of depression that can happen during the cold, dark winter months. Being from Pennsylvania, I have almost 4-5 months of frigid and dark days each year. I never knew why I felt more down, tired, and fatigued during these months. Knowing what I know now, I most likely experience Seasonal Affective Disorder or SAD. SAD is thought to be related to the lack of light during the winter months.
I have been crushed by the weight of anxiety and trauma, as I’m sure many of you are familiar with. I’ve felt like I couldn’t possibly bear the weight anymore, unable to think, breathe, or function countless times. But I’ve been investing in my safety nets lately, like hugging myself, talking to friends and family, and doing my favorite hobbies which are always there for me.