It was just a few days before Spring Break, and I was eager to leave campus. This past month has been so incredibly busy. I could feel myself lacking energy in conversations, and I felt myself constantly zoning out. I was sleep deprived, and I was so fixated on trying to make sure everyone was okay. I had just taken on a new job. I was working to wrap up some summer job applications. I had a friend in town. I was prepping for filming a video for a fellowship. The to-do list felt like a mile long.
By the time I was ready to pack, I thought I had everything I needed for my trip. When I got off the plane, however, I discovered that I had left my medication back in my dorm room. Needless to say, I was overwhelmed. I was tired, stressed, and angry— Angry at myself for forgetting something that I use everyday. I was upset at the fact that I couldn’t even remember one small thing. I thought to myself, I am so dumb. Why is this happening? How could I be so forgetful? C’mon Elizabeth, get it together. In that moment, I realized something needed to change. How did I get to this point? When did I care about how others viewed me? Why do I keep saying “yes” to everything?
When the word “change” comes to mind, I am constantly reminded of how I have grown in these past few years. The times I have decided to take a leap of faith and take on new things have been the most beneficial. I was in a conversation the other day with my professor for an essay assignment. I went into his office hours to talk about editing my paper for points back. Whenever he would point out my grammar mistakes and the improper uses, I remember trying to debate with him on his feedback. (Disclaimer: I am stubborn). Following my stubborn comments, my professor looked at me and said, “I know you have put effort into this. I can see it. Yet, I need you to edit these grammar corrections. Change is painful, but it is so transformative. If you just focus on these edits, it could really help you grow.” My professor’s words stuck with me. I knew he had a point: Change is transformative. If there was any hope in me changing my habits then it needed to start from a place of discomfort. I needed to step outside of my usual routine and recognize where I needed growth.
“Fake Resting” Is Not Real Resting
Something I am guilty of is when I am pretending to take care of myself. In other words, it is called “fake resting”. This is when you may look like you are resting and practicing self care, but you secretly are trying to get everything done. I would always put my leggings and sweatshirt and tell my friends that I am going to make time for myself. Yet, this usually never happened. Instead of sitting and relaxing, I would start making to-do lists of all of my plans. I then would be overwhelmed by all these plans. This semester, my challenge has been to lean into rest and self-care. I am a better version of myself when I decide to take the time to make sure I am well-rested and healthy.
Focus On Today
When we are consumed with our own troubles, we often think there is a right path or direction. I know for a long time I thought I was supposed to act a certain way or be a certain person because it was the “right” way to act/ or be. I needed to provide support to those who were going through a hard time. I needed to say the right things to the people who needed a boost. I needed to be involved in a bunch of activities to show that I am well integrated into my community. I felt I had to constantly reply with “I’m good” whenever someone asked how I was doing. I will admit first hand, I have been addicted to the words of affirmation, the support, and the pep talks. Yet, I could feel myself slowly disconnecting with who I needed to be. Instead, I could see myself becoming a person who was constantly tired and overwhelmed by all my commitments. This wasn’t the kind of life I wanted to live.
Where I See God In All This
If there is one thing I have learned in the past month, it would be that life moves pretty fast. I don’t want all my decisions and choices to be dictated by my busy lifestyle— the lifestyle that I created. It sounds cliché, but life is short. I personally don’t want to live my life always stressed, anxious, and overwhelmed. The times I have ended my day feeling like this were the days that I missed out opportunities— opportunities on appreciating those in my life, getting outside, and making time for myself. I know God is calling me to be there for my community, but I also feel God is calling me to reflect and contemplate on this life I have created.
Thank You For Reading
As always, thank you for reading. It means a lot. I hope you have a good weekend and make time to practice self-care. It is so important. Random recommendation: I have been listening to Oprah’s Super Soul Podcasts, and they are so good! I recommend for anyone who is trying to make time for rest and reflection.