9.25.19: a long, diary-like entry

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Ah… hello again. It’s been… several weeks since I first started this blog. Since then, I’ve been neck-deep in schoolwork and expectations for myself. Hence the strange entry some several weeks earlier…. I was wrought with sadness, exhaustion, and frustration then because professional school is hard, lol. Rest assured though, I haven’t forgotten about this blog. I have dreams for this little pup. Dreams of sharing ways to more gently and lovingly approach self-improvement and self-care, to put them in general terms. But I have to admit, it feels disingenuous to talk about self-care when I barely have time to sleep and socialize myself. And I wanna say a disclaimer that I’m working on all of the above things too, as I come to understand them better. Formal education hasn’t been the best at teaching me how to talk to and take care of myself, so it is my hope that these posts can be a guiding light for other souls who want to learn and think about more practical ways on maintaining their best self.

Now that I actually have a brief moment of respite, I wanna take this time to discuss… things. Just for its own sake. I am grateful to say that I now actually have time to write in this blog. And that my next schoolday begins in only 9 hours from now, meaning that I should get to bed asap if I want to wake up early to work out, shower, and head to open lab at 8 am, which boils down to… getting there at 7am. ….Yeesh.

With how busy school gets (or life in general, honestly), self-care becomes more tantamount. Indeed, these past few months have consisted in me attempting to fit in 7 hours of sleep, three pages of journaling, showering, cleaning my room, working out, meditating, cooking, spending time with peeps (or the lack thereof), retail therapy, and indulging in new interests everyday. Not to mention school. And I bet you can already tell how well that went, haha. I routinely miss several of the aforementioned tasks (some of which are extraneous at the time or simply extraneous in general), I end up inadvertently spacing out in class under the pressure to absorb information for 10 hours a day, I have trouble making meaningful conversation with friends, and my room is something of a discombulated mess. To say the least, I feel burnt out. There are some days that feel like victories when I push through to make the time to do things that are good for me, but there are just as many days where I don’t feel so great or just straight-up terrible. Could use some more joyful days for. So this all begs the question: what should one prioritize?

Because it’s not possible to have it all. I tend to have the habit of saying yes to doing positive things without considering its meaning to me, objective benefit, or its feasibility. And while it’s led me to have wonderful experiences, I also get into commitments that I, often, don’t have the energy, time, or real interest for.

Because I’ve learned (through a very cool video on YouTube) that we simply don’t have the mental energy to make that many decisions in a day, no matter how hard we try. It may be the reason why I leave my room so messy when I could just as easily get up and do all the things. Theoretically. But I can’t. Because I need to do school, make time for sleep and meal plan, and wash the dishes, and study, and go to clinic practice, and, and…! It takes a LOT of energy to make decisions. Saying no to un-useful plans, and thoughts can take a lot of energy. Meditation helps me simplify life by forcing me to purposefully carve out time to do nothing, but it still gets tough. I struggle everyday with comparing myself to others in an environment where personal performance really affects your prospects and other people’s perception of you. And it takes energy for me to either listen to these thoughts or to wave these unhelpful thoughts away. So let’s get moseying on prioritization so we can live simpler, more fulfilling lives!

To help determine what these things are for me (and what might be helpful to you), I will discuss prioritizing through a stream-of-consciousness style writing. It begins below:

I think…. prioritizing whatever gets food on the table comes first. Which is my job. In this case, I study (and invest a lot of money) to get a better job, so school would be my job, essentially. Okay. That makes sense. I should spend the most time here and respect my plans for it, making sure to say no or to reschedule things that may interfere with my plans to succeed.

Secondly, I realize that I can’t do school (or life for that matter) if my health has gone to shit. I need to make time to eat, to sleep, practice personal hygiene, and to work out. To what extent and to how often they should be, will vary from day to day and between individual situations. But these things should be a priority, as well as their related things (such as annual physical exams, dental exams, eye exams, etc.) I would also say that therapy would fall under here too, especially if you’re going through something of an emotional slump and need someone to talk it through with. If you’re poor, you can probably find a local campus that may offer counseling to the public at exceedingly low prices. The counseling would be done by training students, but it’s still a really great value considering how expensive therapy can be (easily $100+ a session). Your friends may not be bad therapists, but sometimes you just have shit that you’d rather not unload on their plate. Or you don’t wish to burden them with that because it’s not their responsibility to play therapist. Occasional venting is fine, but if it’s a regular thing, then I would consider stopping that habit and taking up journaling when you need to. Or therapy if that ain’t working out. Or both. Both are great. Anyway.

Thirdly, I think relationships are really important. Being able to share our story and presence with others in meaningful ways can really be a bolstering (and physically protective!) force in our lives. They can simply help cast a brighter light on your worldview, life, and just make things easier when you have people you can rely and depend on. Being interdependent can be hard because it means having to communicate frequently in mundane terms, doing mundane things, and having to make compromises with people, in so many ways (in the ways you get your needs met or perhaps expectations on how experiences should be, to name a few, just for the sake of being with that person). But they’re noble things to do, beautiful, and often more fun that way. Soul- and heart-growing, in particular, as you learn to do things for other people’s sake, not so that they’ll improve their opinion of you, but for their benefit because you love and care about them. As a classic introvert, I really value my alone time to be able to recharge as I research and ponder things that are important to me. Or just enjoy a book or playing music. Self-development. But being able to share my life with others without having them expect compensation, just them celebrating or mourning my days with me…. it’s nice to be supported. I find that I can be really self-centered, egotistic, and conditional in the ways that I give myself and interact with people. It’s been a tough balancing act to manage my ego in these ways, but I know that these efforts are worthwhile.

And lastly, I alluded to this earlier, but make sure to underschedule so you can carve out free time for yourself. So you’re not rushing to get to each thing all of the time. I find that my mood worsens considerably when I have to be on-the-go all of the time, or when I have to do a bunch of things in the morning before I can really get started on the day’s plans. So don’t procrastinate, make time for your important commitments, and schedule time to just…. do nothing. Really guard that time. In this time you can: Listen to music. Journal. Search a bit on the Internet. Read. Learn some music or a language. Make some art that only you will see. Maybe take a selfie, just for you. I personally like taking selfies. I play with some filters and take a bunch in different settings and lighting, later whittling it down to selfies I actually really like (and often won’t share to the general public, maybe just upload to a more personal account like spotify). This is essentially like dating yourself. It might feel weird at first, but you’ll come to look forward to these moments. Really intentionally set aside a little me-time for yourself each day and set the mood/tone if you can by lighting a candle, dimming the lights, really just making yourself feel special and comfortable. Don’t pick up the phone or answer messages. This is time for you.

So… that’s it. All I can really think of. Make sure to set realistic and flexible expectations for yourself, and to expect and be okay with “failure”. You shouldn’t have to have everything together all of the time in your life. “Just enough” is perfect.

Oh, and lastly, my last tip would be: to practice positive self-talk. This will look like being a good friend (or parent, even), to yourself. One who talks kindly, compassionately, and lovingly to you. Encourages you, but also scolds your actions when you do something unkind. Tells you good morning, laughs at your silly mistakes, and smiles at you. It might feel weird in many ways: one because you’re talking to yourself, and two, because it might encourage you to subscribe to stories that you may be limiting yourself to by building unrealistic expectations upon untenable values, etc. But it’s important to recognize which thoughts are helpful/loving and which aren’t. And I’ve learned lately that you don’t even have to necessarily believe a thought to be true before subscribing to it if it’s helpful. Just be helpful to yourself and try not to judge yourself or your thoughts too much. It’s extremely difficult, but it’s a daily commitment worth doing. I guarantee that life will be brighter when you can be a friend to yourself.

Some final food for thought before I pass out: in my leadership elective, we are expected to share our weekly motto (something that guides our thoughts/living for that week) and things we’re grateful for. It sounds cheesy, but I find that they help me create more meaning and light in my life, the more consistently I do them. So give them a shot! And feel free to share with me your thoughts or motto/things you’re grateful for!

My motto for this week: “don’t do it like me, do it like you.” ❤ because i don’t want to let myself get poorly influenced by others without my permission. i will do what’s best for me, in my own way! because only i am responsible for taking care of myself.

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Something I’m grateful for: passing a test for one of my hardest classes. I’m so very happy. ❤ And also, this time to write! And to you, for reading this. Do leave a like or comment down below so I can adore you. n_n

Much love,
chiisana.

P.S. if you screw up, resist the urge to scold/punish yourself unnecessarily, especially if you’ll get punished in real life as an eventual consequence of that action. Don’t fall into the habit of being cruel or unhelpful to yourself. You don’t need the extra punishment, life is hard enough as it is. Love yourself.

Alright, I will sleep now for sure!

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