Refocus, Refuel and Reconnect
By: Briana Wasil, Contributor
While heading into Thanksgiving week and then being thrust into upcoming finals, it’s important to remember to give yourself breaks. Often, we can get carried away by the thousands of projects, homework assignments and 10+ page essays we have due. Combined with other responsibilities such as playing a sport, partaking in extracurriculars, on an e-board or not, working or volunteering, our schedules can begin to overload rapidly, and the feeling of lacking enough hours in a day can make it feel as if we have no time to breathe.
Often at this time in school, I find myself guilty of overworking and trying my hardest to honor every commitment I’m a part of while facing the challenge of being in the right mindset in each individual setting. However, this strategy can take a lot of energy to maintain and can result in ineffective work or utter exhaustion. In fact, it is not unusual to see that as our stress levels increase, our productivity can sometimes decrease, due to having an excess amount of requirements piled onto our plates.
If you’ve ever had back-to-back exams, you know that the process of separating one test from another and training your mind to leave all of your emotions behind and focus on the next is daunting, but it can be an imperative skill to learn. Something that I’ve found that helps, which may not work for everyone, is to give yourself a few minutes — or however much time you can spare, even just a few seconds — to give yourself a chance to breathe instead of using that energy to force your mind to do a complete 180 and switch subjects.
Frequently, we can be so fixated on the task of studying and completing our projects that we forget our mind is an important factor in the outcomes we produce. How we go into studying, how we choose to speak and our attitudes towards a designated goal have a more profound effect than we realize. While we think constantly staying up all night studying might be a good idea to cement the information into our brains, is it going to achieve the result we want in all aspects of life? What about on tests or in sports or relationships? Will it hinder our ability to be at our fullest potential when it is crucial?
During this break, I encourage you to let yourself breathe for a moment. Take time for yourself by doing something you love that you don’t usually have time for. Go have fun with family and friends. Our mind can only handle so much until it becomes overloaded to the point that we end up wasting time trying to be productive by ignoring the necessary rest we need in order to be at maximum capacity.
I understand that this can be hard for us workaholics out there striving to be on top of everything before it all comes crashing down. And, although it will still be waiting for you when you do return, I promise that it will look a lot less stressful, and you will be more productive after the time you take to rejuvenate.
A simple mindful breath may only take a couple of minutes, but sometimes that’s all we need to refocus and truly breathe in all the world has to offer.