The "Me Time"

So, here we are. It's a month and a day into the new year, a few weeks into a new semester, a few hours into a new morning, and we're already stressing.

You received those rejection letters from all of the internships and grants you applied to and spent hours working on. You're swamped with homework, or you're switching jobs. Maybe you're moving to a new state, or a new country. Whatever the situation is, it's stressful. 

As a graduate student who is working 3 jobs and trying to also tell 3 stories, I get you. I received some of those rejected letters, I'm swamped with all the work you can imagine, and I just took on another job. 

I especially felt the stress last semester. I was constantly doing that workaholic thing I do where I don't make time for myself and I just run around trying to get everything done and make everyone happy. Instead of going to the party on Saturday night and having a few drinks, I volunteered myself as the designated driver so that after I drove everyone home, I could continue editing whichever video I was working on. I would listen to music, but only when I got ready in the morning or walked to class. I wouldn't even let myself get through one episode of New Girl on Netflix because while I was in the middle of watching, I would feel this guilt come over me which whispered in my ear "you should be doing homework." I didn't go to the gym because I felt that instead of 30 minutes on the elliptical, I could spend 30 extra minutes on the paper I had due the next day. Yeah, it was bad. I drove myself crazy. I was so busy, I barely even let myself sleep, let alone have time for myself.

Winter break was good for me. I needed time to travel, be with my family, watch some Netflix, and clear my head. It also made me realize that I was crazy for taking on so many tasks and for not letting myself have any fun outside of work. I mean, don't get me wrong, I was totally having fun. I love what I do. I can't imagine myself doing anything else, but what I didn't realize was I had to do other things once in awhile too. We all need a change of pace to keep our minds creative. 

So, here we are. It's a month and a day into the new year, a few weeks into the new semester, a few hours into a new morning, and we're already stressing. However, this semester I'm trying something new, and for those of you who are also feeling this stress, I invite you to join me on this. 

My roommate and I created a list of "Semester Goals." Similar to a New Year's Resolution (although not really similar since those resolutions never seem to actually happen), it's a list of things we're going to do for ourselves that is going to keep us healthier both physically and mentally. My semester goals include: more play and less work, using the elliptical just 3x a week for 30 minutes, especially in times of stress, cooking more and eating less chocolate. They're simple, and not hard to accomplish, but so far they've made me so much happier.

You need time for yourself. Everyone needs a little "me time." Maybe that means working on personal projects, or maybe that means taking a nap. I realized that I needed time when I wasn't photographing or editing. I needed time to have a drink with my friends on Saturday night after a long week of working 3 jobs, telling 3 stories, and taking Graduate level classes. I needed time to binge watch Parks and Rec on a Wednesday night after working from 8:30 AM to 8:30 PM straight. I needed time to go to the gym to clear my mind and exercise. 

So, whatever stressful situation this new year has brought upon you, make sure you make time for you.