Hi, my name is Ellen Yang, and I’m sort of an overachiever,
Okay, scratch that, I am most definitely an overachiever.
And it sucks, because when you’re a 14-year-old girl trying to do everything, all these other important things, like sleep, exercise, and just enjoying life never REALLY get accomplished. Which also sucks. A lot.
On an average day, I spend a mandatory 7 hours in school and then additional 1-2 hours after school, usually for either speech & debate team (congressional debate, anyone?) or Future Business Leaders of America (I promise, it’s actually insanely fun.) Both of those extracurriculars add about 4-5 hours of additional work a week, and I have weekly speech tournaments as well. I recently also landed a social media/marketing internship at RT1Home which I’m balancing with a few personal projects, such as developing websites and apps at my local Girls Who Code club. It’s a lot, I know.
So what does 35 hours of school a week + 5 hours of speech work + two hours of freelance coding + a busy internship + an attempt at a social life equal?
A lot of unnecessary stress, lack of sleep, and a really, desperate need for a break, which brings us to today’s post.
I’m not sure if my anxiety and over scheduling issues makes me more or less credible to create a post talking about ways to step back and take a break, but hopefully, this helps some of you.
REEVALUATE. What’s actually important right now? What do you have the option to put off, and what do you don’t? What’s stopping you from getting what you want to be done, and why? I’ve struggled with anxiety for a few years now, but it wasn’t until recently that it’s been escalating and I knew I finally needed to look at things differently. Like I said, I do speech team, which means that I have back to back tournaments almost every weekend until May. Yet there’s no real reason for me to go to all of them, and anyone who does either has nothing else going on (which is definitely not me) or is incredibly effective at mass producing speeches and research. Also not me. But seriously — why do more than you have to when you know it’s already too much?
LEARN TO SAY NO. I thought I was always good at this until I realized how hard it is for me to say no to my parents or friends because I’ll feel guilty or like I’m letting them down. The reality? The only person you’re failing is yourself, so if you know you’re busy, don’t tell that person you’ll edit their paper. It’s not happening, okay? And neither will sleep if you keep on saying yes to every single request.
DO SOMETHING YOU ACTUALLY LOVE. Look, speech is great and all, and I love being an intern, but when all you do is work, you forget how truly amazing other things are, like runs at sunset, getting brunch with friends or baking cookies just because.
AN ACTUAL GOOD NIGHTS SLEEP. Just do it, okay? And anything less than 7 hours doesn’t count.
REMIND YOURSELF ITS OKAY NOT TO DO EVERYTHING. You literally, physically, and mentally can’t.
CARVE OUT OF FEW DAYS OR HOURS A WEEK OF NOTHING. No appointments, no deadlines, nothing. For me, this is Sunday night.
CLEAN YOUR DESK AND/OR WORKSPACE. You’ll be surprised at what a difference a physical cleaning can do for your focus, mentality, and mindset.
TREAT YO SELF. Eat the ice cream. Buy those shoes. Why not order yourselves some roses instead of waiting for someone else to? Do what makes you happy, just don’t be excessively spending your money.
SPEND TIME ALONE. Whether you’re an introvert or. an extrovert like I am, isolating yourself for a. little bit every day allows you to focus on YOU. Meditate, get work done, make coffee…spend some time with just yourself. Discover yourself.
REMEMBER TO HAVE FUN. Work hard, but play harder. Remember to laugh, dance, and smile every day.