You barely open your eyes to the irritating sound of your alarm clock. You beg for just five more minutes while hitting the snooze button. You do this a couple of times, and when you finally get up, you’re exhausted, like you haven’t slept a wink all night.
You wash your face with freezing water to wake yourself up a bit. You get dressed, comb your hair, eat a piece of toast, brush your teeth and rush to the door to catch the bus. You feel as if you’ve almost certainly forgotten something. But you just keep running, hoping that whatever it was isn’t too important.
You arrive at school a bit late, run down those corridors for the millionth time, sit down and start taking notes, which you’ll be doing all day long. Your friends complain that they don’t get to see you like they used to; you explain how busy you’ve been. Some of them just don’t understand, but you don’t have the energy to convince them.
You sit down to study, but your mind is so full of things you need to do. You’re sleep deprived. You worry about due dates, exams, about how little time you have, about the things you don’t want to let go. Sometimes you need to check your agenda just to remember what day of the week it is. You have hobbies; you like painting, writing, playing tennis and maybe some other things that you can’t find time to do anymore. Your weekends are full; you feel guilty for not spending enough time with your family, friends, even your dog. You feel as if you don’t even have time to sit down and think. You get sick easily and often. Then you find yourself getting number and number every day, and you know you have to do something to change this.
How come you took on this big of a load? How have things gotten worse without you even realizing it?
You thought you were strong enough to do everything, and capable of finding the right balance among all those things that matter to you. But in at least some parts of your life, you need to know when to push your limits and when to step back.
When you start to “miss” life, you feel out of control all the time. You feel depressed and paralyzed. No matter how much you sleep, you still feel tired, since your mind isn’t resting. You worry a lot, and about pretty much everything. And usually, it’s your body that’s affected the most. Some people get stomachaches and headaches without any clear reason; some get the flu and a high fever very often; some have a stiff back all of a sudden. How the body reacts varies from person to person. But in each case, your body is trying to tell you to stop and rest a bit. When you don’t listen to it, the warning signs get more and more serious over time.
As soon as you start having these signs, you need to figure out one thing: What is it that’s keeping you awake at night? What is it that feels like a burden on you? What is it that’s disturbing your natural balance, and that you can’t endure anymore?
If it’s possible to let go of that thing, you need to do so. Because we don’t have forever. We have too little time and energy to waste them on things that don’t feel right or don’t satisfy us. If it’s not possible to make your life any simpler, then you need to find a way to create space for yourself that will allow you to breathe.
When I was in my third year of high school, I experienced such a time. I eliminated a couple of things to get my life back on track, but I still wasn’t able to do so. I had that mentality that kept convincing me I didn’t have time for anything. So I changed my perception of “time.” Instead of thinking about time as a thing to have, I took it as a thing to be created. I started waking up half an hour earlier every day. In that 30 minutes, sometimes I read a book, another day I prepared myself breakfast, and other days wrote, thought or listened to music while looking out the window. I was actually sleeping half an hour less, but I felt a lot more rested.
Are you one of those people who hates waking up early? Then carve out some time at night, or during the day. Create that time for yourself, and use it for anything you want. It matters, because it gives the brain the message, “I have time to take care of myself, and I’m feeling good. I am my priority.”