#mentalhealthmonday – I never switch off

I have a really hard problem relaxing and focusing on myself. My brain is constantly firing in 12 different directions at once. It tells me that I need to be productive at all times, need to be taking advantage of new opportunities at all times, I need to be stressing out AT ALL TIMES.

The best example of how much this can affect me is when I was in my final year of my undergraduate. It was a Sunday, the day before my Shakespeare exam. You would have thought I would spend the day studying, wouldn’t you? But you would be wrong! Instead, I was tutoring high school students. Three of them, for an hour each. And that’s not including travel time. Or the time I spent preparing the material. And familiarising myself with their set texts.

I would describe me on this day as ‘being in a tizzy’. My boyfriend would describe me as ‘self-destructive’. I was in tears, because I knew I had to study. But I was so concerned about these high school students and their exams, and how I couldn’t let them down. And I had decided to start tutoring just before my end-of-university exams because…well, I’m not sure why. I felt like I wasn’t doing enough with my time. (Because being a final-year university student and having a blog, and volunteering….weren’t enough.)

I think I’m like this because of experiences when I was a teenager. I did the International Baccalaureate in my last two years of high school. (This is like A levels/AP TO THE MAX.) For two years, I basically didn’t have any time to myself. I was studying 6 subjects, had 150 hours of sports, community service, and creative hobbies to complete, and was applying to universities/scholarships. Oh, and dealing with pretty bad depression and insomnia. And trying to have a social life, and… well. You get the picture.

I just got used to a high level of stress, and that hasn’t really changed. But the thing now is that I see so many brilliant opportunities (especially for writing) on the Internet that I want to take on. And I know that I can’t do them all, but I apply to them anyway, only to find that I don’t have the time or the energy to do them properly. I’m trying to work on it. I was trying to do a lot of freelance writing at the end of last year, when I was also working, and I just found myself too stressed, and completing things either at the last minute, or weeks after my proposed deadline.

And so I’ve decided to try to limit myself to what I take on. I’m helping with Mookychick, and I’ve seen an essay prompt about fanfiction and experiences as a queer teenager that I’d like to take on. And I maybe want to contribute to On A Case Bi Case Basis…. oh, damn. There I go again.

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2 thoughts on “#mentalhealthmonday – I never switch off

  1. christine @ lady gets lit says:

    THIS IS SO RELATABLE OMG!!!

    I’ve been reading too many self-help books lately, even though they all say the same sorts of things that I should really be able to tell myself. One of the big things I’ve gained from these sorts of books is the importance of prioritizing. One book I read (How to Get Sh*t Done by Erin Falconer) talks about how to prioritize your life into 3 Big Goals and to ditch everything that doesn’t feed those 3 big goals. I’ve been trying to implement this in my life, and it’s definitely helping me focus more on what’s serving me and let go of needing to over-commit. Then again, it’s pretty easy to over-commit inside of the Big 3…which is what I’ve been doing lately. I am NOT a good example, unfortunately. But hey, at least we’re not alone. One of my best friends struggles with this a lot, and I always joke with her that I’m going to call her every day at 7pm and tell her to do self-care. I have an app on my phone where you can set up self-care reminders too, but sometimes that just makes me feel even more stressed out.

    TL;DR: I don’t know if there’s really a solution to this but I’m gonna keep trying.

    Like

  2. Avery @ RedRocketPanda says:

    I definitely feel this so hard. Take this month for example – I have been working part-time, studying on my MRes, applying for my PhD application, trying to keep up with my blog, writing for Sidequest, trying to keep up with housework, looking after the dog, and trying to squeeze in appointments/social time around these. Yet, if I had a spare few hours or a day off I would feel like I should be *doing* something rather than relaxing. Maybe I should catch up on my reviews or read one of my ARCs that are piling up, start writing my next article… etc. I find it so hard to just put things aside because I feel like I should be >productive> yet it just results in feeling stressed and exhausted a lot of the time!

    Basically, brains are hard

    Like

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