I only put myself in situations that cause me immense stress. I don’t really mean to, its usually by accident but I generally find myself with no free time throughout my day and when I go to bed, I am EXHAUSTED.
This semester I am at 18 credit hours, in spring soccer, I managed the basketball team, I am in a social justice program at my university, started a new club, am a member of 4 clubs, in the Peace Corp Prep Program, work 20 hours a week, tutor 6 hours a week and try to maintain healthy relationships and friendships.
Now, I usually do a little bit too much. I am generally stressed and overwhelmed and most definitely do not get enough sleep. But I get by and I could not imagine my life any other way.
I am the person who doesn’t know what to do when I have more than two hours of free time.
This week, for the first time in the twenty one years I have been alive, I am at a point where I cannot take on anymore.
Most people ask me, “why can’t you say no to people?” or “Just stop volunteering for things.” And that isn’t my case. I do say no (sometimes, probably not enough, but sometimes) when I am not passionate about something. But, generally, especially at this point in my life, events and situations that are presented to me are cool as heck, will positively impact my future or are something that will allow me to impact someone else.
But dang, this week I feel as if I cannot do a single other thing. I missed three weeks of class in the past month. One was because I was in DC for a conference, the next week was actually spring break (so I didn’t miss class but didn’t get to catch up on what I did missed) and I was in DC and Boston on an amazing trip to visit law schools and cities and then last week I got back to school (and thought I was going to come back to actual class) and the basketball team won the GMAC (YAY!) and we flew to Missouri for 4 days to play in the NCAA DII Championship.
I got back on Saturday, got thrown into a mess of life, with club meetings, papers to write, tests to study for and one of my most important relationships falling to pieces – just all around TOO MUCH.
Now, this isn’t a “look at me and all I do” sob story. This is the story of being the girl who always in over her head and for the first time ever feels like I am drowning.
I texted my mom today and told her that I was at my max, that I felt like I took on too much and I am going to let someone down, a teacher, a friend, myself, God, something. And she said “make lists. Check off. Block things together. Prioritize. Put things where they belong. Keep them there. You love life like this, you got it.”
And so that is what I did.
I made a list of the twenty things I need to do before Friday. I categized this list by date first, level of importance, and amount of time I need (or should) put into each thing.
I made another list of the 10 things that are causing me stress and overwhelming me. This list was the more emotional types of things, the things that I probably couldn’t change but were still weighing on my head and then I put them in blocks.
“Things I can change”
“Things I cannot change”
“Things that I can try to change, but should not expel all my resources on”
Finally, I made a schedule. Like an hour by hour, minute by minute schedule. It may seem extra, it may seem EXTREME. But I needed to do it.
Through this I allotted myself some time for weird things. I gave myself a 30 minute nap on Thursday, and 45 minutes tonight to take a bubble-bath and watch my show, I allotted more sleep Thursday night than I average and gave myself an hour of just “friend and complain about how busy I am” time with my roommate, hell I gave myself 30 minutes to write this blog and 15 minutes a day to just pray.
But, overall, minute by minute from my 5:45am alarm until my 12:00am bedtime, I made sure I could see everything I NEEDED to do, saw everything I WANTED to do and even saw the things I probably won’t get done.
From papers, to assignments, practice, meetings, appointments, sleeping, showering, eating and time to figure out the crumbling of one of my most important friendships, I found a way to take a breather and take it all in. To see what I can do and only do that much, and to pass off some of the things that I know I just can’t do.
I guess what I’m trying to get at here is that, even for “overachieving, high stress working, take on too many things at once” people like me, life can still be too much sometimes.
Text your mom (or dad or sister or brother or grandma), find the things that are important, make YOU time even if you don’t have time for you, value your FRIENDSHIPS and know that sometimes making sure a pal is okay is more important than an A (says the girl who freaks out when her GPA drops below 3.8, but I am serious this is SO important), eat a pint of ice-cream with your roommate when you’re sad, pray A LOT (even when you’re just walking to class), make a schedule, make all the lists and GET SHIT DONE.
Life can be a lot, and sometimes we bite off way more than we can chew (especially when we feel blindsided by things we were not expecting) but if you’re surrounded by the right people, and you simply do the best you can, people will be proud of you. And even if you aren’t proud of you, God will be proud of you, be with you, and help you through any situation you feel like you cannot get through.
So, for the girl or guy feeling like me lately, who has felt like this ever or will feel like this one day: have faith in yourself, have faith in the people you surround yourself with and have faith in your God.
“God is faithful. He won’t allow you to be tempted beyond your abilities. Instead, with the temptation, God will also supply a way out so that you will be able to endure it.”