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The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at UCSD chapter.

Recently, I once again started thinking about my inability to relax and “do nothing.”  After one of my recent extracurriculars ended for the year, I found myself with more free time. I am always good at convincing myself that I love having more free time and look forward to a more open schedule. But in reality, I find myself constantly feeling bored and unfulfilled when I have that extra time in my day. In the past, I never really knew why I felt like this but upon some reflection with myself as well as with my boyfriend and friends I realized that I have the constant desire to feel productive. To me, productivity means many things. It means going to the gym, going on walks, going to my classes, doing homework, cleaning, and even being social. But the one thing that always leaves me feeling unproductive is spending time on my own if it is just spent in my room. I feel uncomfortable relaxing and a cycle of guilt usually occurs immediately after. As someone who recharges on my own rather than when I am being social, this seems contradictory but I have been unable to shake this feeling. Just last night I found myself texting my roommate that I was bored because I needed to take a break from work but I felt restless. I know that it is unhealthy to be unable to withdraw from my other responsibilities and just focus on myself outside of my daily routine. My happiness and feeling of accomplishment shouldn’t end with the to-do list I have written in my planner. 

It seems unfair to me that other people naturally feel content with relaxing. It feels like that is the way it should be. And I know that I am not truly alone in feeling this way. Although it is frustrating, I hope to find ways to overcome this problem I face on a daily basis. One tactic that I have used in other aspects of my life is reframing my thoughts. Some popular ways to combat this shame are to “reframe ‘doing nothing’ as ‘time spent recharging my batteries.” Instead of feeling lazy and unproductive, try to remind yourself that it is okay to take a break and tell yourself that you are doing the best you can. I think that constantly reaffirming these sentiments will allow me to start to make progress towards accepting my time not working as a valid use of my time. I hope to one day feel equally as fulfilled by my time recharging as I do while completing tasks. I invite you to reflect on your own life and find ways that you can embrace reframing your thoughts in a way that rids you of shame and reminds you that you are doing the best you can.  

Anna Claire is a third year at UCSD, majoring in Political Science with an emphasis in American Politics. She loves to read, write, go on hikes and is passionate about social justice. After undergrad, she plans on attending law school. Her favorite places to be are the beach or in the desert surrounded by Joshua Trees and a starry sky.