It’s been one of those days. You forgot your coffee that you took 5 extra minutes to make only to end up late to your first class and deficient in caffeine. You stumble into class late so all the chairs are empty except for the few at the way front where you know you can’t skim through Tumblr without the teacher seeing. Throughout the day your inbox gets fuller and projects are thrown at you left and right. Oh, and what’s that? Is that a little cough I hear? By the time you finally collapse on your living room floor, you feel like the day knocked the wind from your body and you just want to meld into the floor.
In our world of constant go, go, go, its takes actual intention to step outside of the constant movement of everyday life. Many times, we are guilted and/or incentivized into being at the beckoned call of the people around us. The daily barrage of text messages, social media notifications, and emails allow people to penetrate our lives even when we are not in the office or the classroom. Now, don’t get me wrong; sometimes we have to put in the extra time and showing extra initiative is something that can distinguish your work ethic from others. But what about when that work ethic turns into giving too much of yourself that your quality of work and quality of life begin to suffer? In these settings, its so important to practice mindfulness as well as a little bit of acceptable selfishness. Hoping to go into advertising, and Creative at that, I know that this process isn’t always realistic but making some amount of time for yourself everyday is critical to sustaining an energetic mind and healthy body.
Probably the number one stresser in my life is my phone. Even though my laptop possesses its fair share of challenges, I am better able to write, create, and be productive while using my computer than I am using my phone. This is to say that my computer is much more of a ‘do’ vehicle while my phone is a ‘will do later’ device. I do get a great deal of inspiration from my phone using apps such as Instagram, Depop, and my horoscope (I’m not kidding, I find a way to apply whatever it says to my life). But at 10pm, when my grandma-like energy starts to diminish, I sometimes feel my phone’s contents become overwhelming. My solution? I either put the phone on airplane, so that all my alarms still work, or, if it’s the weekend and I have nowhere I need to be, I just SHUT IT DOWN. Bye world. Not only does this mean that I’m tuned out from everything going on but I also won’t have to worry about the glare of the screen keeping me awake or disrupting my sleep habits. And if you need actual research to convince you to put your phone down every so often, check out this Atlantic article.
Even if art isn’t really your thing, creativity is one of the most innately human traits and yet so many of us don’t have the opportunity to use this part of our minds. My creative activities include: writing, making videos, taking artsy af pictures, painting/distressing my clothes, doing erratic makeup looks that will never leave my room, dancing in front of my mirror to inappropriate music, and organizing my room to the point where I can no longer locate my things. Being creative is something, that for me, wasn’t always comfortable but as I’ve done more, just done it without thinking about how or why, I’ve found activities that absorb me to the point where everything else is just side chatter. Finding a few activities like this can make time feel better spent and recharge your brain so you can handle the next project your spontaneous* boss decides you’re ready for. Whether its music, caking decorating, or carving Kayne’s face into a piece toast, the canvas is all yours.
I often feel my mind is structured similarly to that of a cobweb: an endless web of thoughts, reminders, and reflections. Not all bad things, for sure but I could do with a little mental blankness every now and again. Overcoming the voices in your head that say, “You don’t have time for this,” and dedicating even an hour a week to meditation, yoga, hiking, or another physically and mentally engaging activity will not only enhance your regular exercise routine but also work to develop a new form of endurance and discipline. I think the aspect I appreciate most about yoga is that I am in no way uber talented when it comes to the many animal poses but I love the process of being challenged and having something to shoot for. Overcoming small, reasonable obstacles can help to wear down mental barriers and make you feel like you are truly as great as your mother thinks you are.
Graphic by: The Incredible Anna