“No amount of regretting can change the past, and no amount of worrying can change the future.” ― Roy T. Bennett
One of the most common things I see right before summer begins is exhaustion. Often times people are saying, "If I can just get through the next 4 weeks, I will be okay." OR "Once I finish this exam/project/etc, I will be happy." While there may be some truth to that, being that your stress level will likely decrease, many times people finish that project, and do get through those last 4 weeks, and are still not 100% happy. This is in part because there is so much focus on what didn't happen in the past, or what may need to happen in the future. Many of us struggle with staying in the present, and with scheduling time for ourselves. It isn't about waiting until summer to take some time off for yourself. What's important is taking time throughout the day and year, not just summer, to do the things that you enjoy to avoid that burn out from even happening. To be in the moment and not worry about the next thing on your agenda or regret that one thing that didn't go right in the past. It makes sense that many people want to take responsibility for their obligations in life. With that being said, most people tend to put themselves last on the obligation list and put many other obligations in front of themselves. Unfortunately, when we put ourselves last, it doesn't leave much room for us to take responsibility for our own self care and we end up feeling worse. If you are willing to try something that may help you make the time for yourself, continue reading. I've created a list of things that other people have tried when feeling overwhelmed and reported being helpful.
1. Write it down in your calendar. If it's scheduled already, you're more likely to do it.
2. Make it a habit to set aside a little time each day. Taking at least 30 minutes each day can be easier to fit in than several hours on one particular day. Though that can be what works better for you.
3. It doesn't have to be extravagant. Many people think taking time for themselves means going on vacation to Mexico. While that may be fun, it doesn't have to be the case. You may decide that you would like to make it a point to take a 30 minute walk every morning, or take 30 minutes to read a book, draw, practice a musical instrument, listen to your favorite music, watch part of a show or movie, catch up on the phone with a friend, etc. It can be anything that makes you smile.
4. Make sure you are getting enough sleep. I realize this is probably the most annoying one on here - BUT it is typically the first thing that goes if you need to finish your priority list. I have heard reports from several people that they do notice a huge difference in their mood, concentration level, and energy level when they get more sleep. Not to mention if you just google the affects of sleep deprivation on your health, there are several scholarly articles out there that state similar findings. Something to think about.
5. Make sure you are getting enough to eat. This may sound obvious to some of you, but I often hear people say they "forgot to eat" when they are in the middle of a huge project. Not getting the proper nutrition can affect your mood and energy level as well.
6. Put your phone down. Many people want to stay connected or distract themselves from difficult things/conversations by using their phone. This is okay as long as it is intentional. It is hard to stay in the present, connect, or take care of yourself when you continue checking your phone in the middle of trying to drive, cook, have a conversation with a friend in person, etc.
Start small. If you can't commit to every day, try doing twice a week. Pick one thing to focus on, whether that is getting enough sleep or trying to incorporate something you enjoy each day/week/month. Find what works for you so that you will find more success in making it happen.