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The Road to Mental Health: 5 Warning Signs that You’re Stretched too Thin

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at UT Chattanooga chapter.

If you’re anything like me, you’ve probably found yourself overloaded a time or two (or a million). Opportunities are hard for me to pass up, because I never know where they could lead me. I’m always afraid to let a good opportunity slip through my fingers, and most of the time I sacrifice my sanity for it. Don’t forget though- you’re mental and physical health are more important than anything. Recognizing that you’ve over committed yourself is the first step. How am I supposed to know if I have over committed, you ask? Well, here are five warning signs that you’ve taken on too much:

Your favorite things don’t excite you anymore

Going out to eat with friends doesn’t sound fun. Playing with dogs doesn’t sound fun. Nothing sounds fun because it’s impossible to unwind and take a break from your tasks. If your favorite things don’t excite you anymore, that is a big red flag that you’re too stressed.

You’ve withdrawn from your friends

You think, who has time for friends? Between work, school, and extracurriculars there is no way that you can shovel out two hours just to watch Cinderella. They’ll ask to hang out, but now it not only doesn’t interest you, it stresses you out to even think about saying yes. Yet you still have serious FOMO every time they hang out without you, even though you declined your invitation.  

You can’t pinpoint what has caused your exhaustion

Your alarm seems to go off the second after you lay your head down. Every chance you get, you lay down in hopes of feeling replenished when you wake up, but you never do.

It stresses you out to even make a to do list

You sit down with sticky notes and a pen and start to think about your to-do list and can’t write the first bullet point. Where do you start? The spanish homework, the job task, the preparation for your upcoming meetings? The whole task becomes much simpler when you create a to-do list that only says “make a to-do list”. This way you can postpone it until later, and can just start chipping away at what is in front of you instead of seeing everything that needs to be done.

It’s hard to sleep at night because you’re thinking about the coming day

When you lay down, do you run through everything that you still need to do? Do you run through the stress of the current day and the next day? You lay there, staring at the ceiling for half an hour trying to figure out how to juggle your job, your friends, your health, your grades, and your extracurriculars.

It’s easy to put yourself on the backburner, but I would strongly encourage everyone (myself included) to evaluate their life, and learn to notice these warning signs. Don’t destroy your mental health for a line on your resume. It’s not worth it.

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Rachel Smith

UT Chattanooga

I am a sophomore studying Communications and Spanish. I am currently serving as the Student Trustee for the Tennessee System. I am a passionate singer and songwriter, love all things fitness, as well as spending time with my friends. I lead a busy life, but I firmly believe that you can always make time for the things that are important to you!
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Emily Thornton

UT Chattanooga

I am a junior at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga majoring in Economics, Psychology, and Literature. I am the founding president of UTC's chapter of Alpha Gamma Delta, an active writer, an avid reader, and an outdoor enthusiasts. I spend my days running from class, to meeting, to class, to work, while squeezing in time for friends, family, and the occasional hour of sleep, while also being a proud cat mother to a kitten named Merlin. I love my hectic life, and am always ready for a new challenge!