Friday, August 31, 2012

Stop in the Name of Losing Your Mind

Seriously. Don't be this person.
You know that feeling of being totally overwhelmed? The one that sneaks up behind you, shoves you in the back, and then has the audacity to laugh as you flounder to find balance. Ya, I think we've all known that feeling a time or two.

In the world of international education, the start of the fall semester is known for producing this feeling more than is probably healthy. Sure, I'm still new to the field but I've experienced and observed enough to believe it to be true. And let me tell you, there are only so many cups of chamomile tea a girl can drink to try and stay calm. Trust me, I've tried.

So how does one shove that overwhelming feeling back without losing your sanity? I'm still learning, but here are a few suggestions to get you started. At the very least, I hope they will allow you to enjoy the onset of autumn the way it should be enjoyed - with lots of pie a la mode and a gym membership (that last part is definitely optional).

Make Time for Yourself

For many of us, being busy is nothing new. Especially if you're out of school and have learned that there is no such thing as three-month long summer vacations anymore (a sad day indeed). I find that to better handle the busyness, it's essential to make time for yourself. Even if you love your job, as much as I love mine, there need to be moments of "you" time. Take a step away from the desk, take a deep breath, and get outside to soak up the fresh air (Yes, that is seasonally biased; deal with it). I've found that when you can take time to take pleasure in the simple things - meeting a friend for coffee, or reading that good book you've had on hold for ages - it will make you appreciate those moments all the more. It will also offer light at the end of the tunnel when it feels like you'll never stop being busy.


You Aren't at an "All-You-Can-Eat" Party. So Stop Acting Like You Are.

Does this make any sense at all? Okay, let me elaborate. Stop acting like you can do anything and everything at once! First, because you can't. And second, because you'll end up wanting to rip your hair out for trying. There are only so many hours in the day, and you're only one person. Don't forget to stop living while trying to be Superwoman/man. By prioritizing your work, and communicating with your peers/colleagues, you'll save yourself  a lot of frustration and late nights wondering "why did I get myself into this." Remember, there is always tomorrow - and it never fails to show up just when you need it to.


This is more like it.

Keep the Big Picture in Mind

If you can't remember why you're stressing yourself out with your schedule, or why it's worth it, you need to re-evaluate your situation. Yes, I know, we don't all have the luxury of saying 'I'm stressed out - I'm checking out for awhile," but that doesn't mean you can't be thinking of the bigger picture. Is your work/school still as meaningful as when you started - or before being busy overwhelmed you? Sometimes it's worth the stress if you love what you do. If you didn't have to work hard at what you loved, it wouldn't be as important as it is. I'm not saying you need to constantly be thinking five steps ahead, but also don't forget to look to the horizon once in awhile. It'll give you some perspective about the choices you're making, and the ones you've met to make. Who knows what you'll find in between there. That's kind of the best part, isn't it?


Coffee Is Your New Best Friend

No, trust me on this, it really is. And this is coming from a self-confessed teaholic. Stocking up on this Oh-my-god-it's-Monday-again drink is something NOT to be ignored.

Like I said. I don't claim to have all the answers - or any of them really. But I do know that I don't want to go through life trying to "get there" and forget to appreciate the journey. That's usually the best part. I'd much rather eat dessert first than skip a meal all together. Hmm, is that taking the metaphors too far? Whatever. I obviously still have pie on my mind.

But seriously, take a deep breath once in awhile. Like everything else in life, being overwhelmed passes. And while it may have the first laugh, it never has the last. I'd say knowing that is more than enough to get through the day with :)