The best things in life are the ones you can make

Relaxing after a stressful week – Fall edition

The beginning of this fall has been quite stressful for me. I was lucky enough to get accepted to my dream university and even though it has so far been everything that I hoped for and much more, it has also been quite stressful. On top of that I have been constantly on-off sick and had a lot going on with my personal life.

For the last two weeks or so I have been really stressed out and tired. For a while it seemed to me that there was no way I would be able to take a proper break from it all until maybe Christmas. Then a thought came upon me; I am actually blessed enough that my family has a summer cabin in the countryside. What could possibly be a better place to escape the busyness of my life?

I decided to take a trip to the countryside and spend the weekend with my aunt and grandparents. Spending some time in the middle of nowhere turned out to be an excellent decision. I was able to completely focus on enjoying the crisp fall weather and collecting my thoughts. 

This post will be a little bit different from my usual style. A bit more chatty, if you will.

We all have to know our own limits and we have to know when to take a break. I've made the same mistake numerous times in the past where I think I can just endlessly force myself to keep going but every single time that has lead to the same result; I get so exhausted that eventually I shut down completely and can no longer get anything done. Being unproductive makes me even more stressed, which again makes me even less productive. Do you see a pattern here? 

Even despite having been down this road many times I'm still no expert at avoiding stress or staying on top of it. In fact, I am someone who tends to spend more time dealing with the consequences of being stressed out than actually dealing with the things that are stressing me out. I think it goes without saying that it would be much more effective to avoid overworking yourself to begin with, but that's usually easier said than done.

In today's society it seems that literally everyone and their dogs know what it's like to be stressed out, over worked, or even on the verge of a small-scale burnout. Everyone has a busy life and more work on their table than humanly possible to complete.

So what can be done about the situation? It depends on the person. Some people swear by mindfulness practices, others say that hobbies and working out are the only way to stay sane etc etc. I don't think it matters what exactly you like to do to destress. What matters is that you make time for yourself and the things that help you enjoy life. Learn to prioritize and reserve time for relaxing. Make relaxing an equal priority to your work. Learn to say "sorry, I need some me-time now". Even if it's just one night a week or half an hour each day, do your best to stick to it and actually make a point to clear your mind. If you spend your "me-time" thinking about work and chores, it's not really "me-time". It's just unproductive work-time.

For me, leaving town and spending a weekend in the middle of nowhere was quite relaxing. However that's not something I can do every week and most people probably don't have that opportunity to begin with. So here are some more doable things that you can try:

  • Make sure your weeks are properly planned out. Not knowing what you need to do and when can be very stressful. Same goes for not writing things down and trying to keep it all in your head. Make a plan, it will save your life!
  • Set personal goals and stick to them. Try to make them so fun and rewarding that they won't feel like extra chores, but rather something that you're excited to work on. 
  • Create enjoyable routines. Update your skincare routine, buy some fancy tea that you're excited to drink, eat good breakfasts. By making little parts of your day more enjoyable can really improve your life quality.
  • Learn when to say "no more". Sometimes we get buried under huge workloads no matter how much we try to avoid it. Even if it's something that you really need to get done, you have to learn to take breaks and even push things past deadlines if your mental health is starting to suffer. Health first, work second.

I hope you enjoyed reading my thoughts on this subject. I wanted to write this because I know a lot of people like me who constantly find them selves extremely stressed and exhausted. This is in no way a tutorial for how to completely overcome stress, but rather just some thoughts on how I'm trying to better myself and perhaps you can benefit from them as well. 

With love,

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