Overworked and Over it

College. It almost seems like it’s the breeding ground for stress, anxiety, and overall mentally freaking out. When I decided to enter college, I never knew I would be throwing myself into so many extracurriculars. I never did much in highschool and felt subpar in comparison to all my peers running around being needed by students clubs and activities. So when I stepped onto campus, I knew I wanted to be apart of the community as much as I could. In retrospect, I should’ve expected that being involved took time and effort throughout my daily life, but I didn't think a club or two would hurt. Four clubs in and two jobs later, the effects of spreading myself too thin has finally caught up to me.

I absolutely love every organization I am in involved with and wouldn’t trade it for the world, but I never took into consideration the lack of self-care I had set up for myself. On top of my 15 credits, I feel overworked and tired basically voluntarily. It got to the point to where stress literally caused my immune system to weaken, making me sick constantly throughout my freshman and sophomore year. My body was giving in and it enraged me that I couldn’t stay healthy enough to continue working. I started my days at 8 am and usually can’t lay in my bed until 7 or 8 pm. I worked 12 hour days and haven’t even noticed it until yesterday.

Last night, I laid in my bed around 7:30 pm with the full intention of finishing up some assignments. But before I knew it, my alarm rang at 6 am and it was the next day. I awoke with my computer on my side and a plethora of emails piling up on my phone. How could I have slept? I couldn’t believe I let sleep get the best of me. I COULDN'T BELIEVE SLEEP GOT THE BEST OF ME?!?! In that moment, I realized that I ignored my body and its needs to run around and fulfill my goal of being involved on campus. I actually tried to blame the natural function of sleep for not having enough time to finish school work. I knew that if I didn’t sit down and learn how to listen to my body now, years from now I would be a stress bomb waiting to explode.

I do too much. That’s a hard pill for me to sit down and swallow, but it’s true. I love saying yes more than no, and it gets me in situations I can’t properly handle. I never thought to think that I definitely need to consider relaxation time and take care of myself mentally and physically. So i’ve made a vow to myself to sit down and make time for the most important person in my life.. Me. When it comes to weekends, I don’t need to immediately jump up and tend to the needs of things that can wait a couple days.

American society has made it normal to be connected and available 24/7 to your work. There is no distinction between work and personal life anymore and that’s something I never want to see happen for myself. Why is someone considered a hard worker because they are always working late all year just to get one week of vacation? Shouldn’t my work be valued by its efficiency and not the overwork I put into it during the weekend (which I wouldn’t even get paid for!). I realized I don’t need to have my life revolve around work and busy schedules to feel like I am a hard worker and needed by others. If I don’t feel good, I shouldn’t feel obligated to immediately respond to things and run around like my life depended on it. Of course I will finish my goals and do what I need to do, but I am not going to sacrifice my mental health just because I want to be seen as selfless and hardworking. I know this is too common of a problem for students and workers alike across the nation and I feel we need to sit down and have a conversation on taking care of ourselves first and then work/school. It’s taken me two years to realize that I am more important than anything else in my life, and I need to value what my body and mind deserve.