As a college student, it can be so easy to explain away workaholic tendencies. There just never seems to be enough time to get everything done and before you know it, working until 4 a.m. becomes a habit and four cups of coffee just to get through the day becomes typical. You’ve become glued to your phone, immediately responding to every text, email and notification that comes your way. Eating, sleeping and enjoying yourself has become an afterthought and life has become centered around schoolwork, your job, internships and other obligations. It’s exhausting.
Eventually, you’re going to get burnt out and it will not be worth it. Everyone is so busy and it can be difficult to figure out how to balance everything, how to say no and how to give yourself a break. However, it is possible. You don’t need to be beep boppin all over the place all the time to be successful. It is entirely possible to excel and be successful at many different things without running yourself into the ground. So, if you feel like this might be you and you’re at your end, take a step back and see what you can do to give yourself a break.
Learn to say no.
This can be one of the hardest things to do. In college, there are so many more opportunities than many people are used to. Suddenly, there are ten different clubs that you want to be a part of and event after event that you want to go to. It can be really exciting, but you have to know when enough is enough. Your schedule should not be the only thing restricting how many things you commit to. Just because you “have the time” does not mean you are obligated to say yes. It is okay to say no. You and your own health and well-being is more important than any club, job or class assignment. It is so important to recognize that and if for any reason you need to just *not* one day, then just say no. The floor will not collapse beneath you and the world will not end. Everything will be fine and more importantly, you will not be drained and over extended.
Give yourself a break.
You do not need to be glued to your phone or laptop 24/7. Take a break. If someone emails you, it’s okay to wait a couple hours before responding. If you are starting to feel tired and like you need a break, then take one. “Powering through” is not impressive and can actually lead to a poorer quality of work, when you could take a second, recharge and come back to your work refreshed instead. If it is hard for you to give yourself breaks throughout the day, then schedule them. Maybe work for two hours and then give yourself 20 minutes to walk around or have a snack. Turn off your notifications by a certain time every night or tell yourself that you won’t answer any emails or work-related texts after 9:00 pm. Breaks are so important not only for the quality of your work, but for your overall well-being.
Do something for YOU.
Finally, do something nice for yourself every once in a while. Watch an episode of your favorite TV show, eat some ice cream or paint your nails. Discover the things that you enjoy doing just for fun. Remember that? Doing something just because you… wanted to? It’s not over-indulging or wasting time. Everyone deserves to do things that bring them joy and make them feel good; no excuse necessary. Everyday, do at least one thing that makes you happy, because your own happiness is the most important thing.
At the end of the day, we’re in these clubs, in college and working to further our career goals and aspirations for life. When it becomes too much and stops being fun, that’s when you need to take a step back and reassess if it is helping or hindering you. Yes, work hard and be successful, but not at the expense of your own health and happiness.