Monday, July 7, 2014

Learning to Relax



I spent my holiday weekend relaxing with my family in Florida. My long days were spent taking boat rides, swimming, sleeping in, eating seafood, and watching fireworks over the beach. In other words, I spent my weekend doing absolutely nothing productive. I forced myself to forget about work and responsibilities for a few days, and I'm going back to New York refreshed and ready to take on the week.

As a perpetual overachiever and devout perfectionist, I've always had a difficult time letting myself relax. I worried about my massive to-do lists that were inevitably increasing with every minute I spent ignoring them. I was terrified that I wouldn't be able to finish my homework on time, or that I would fall behind on my responsibilities.

Of course, this incessant worrying didn't help my stress levels. To be as productive as possible, I did too much homework on the weekends during high school and stayed up too late in college. I realized my mistake during my sophomore year of college, when I found myself wracked with anxiety from balancing classes, homework, weekly meetings, internship/job applications, extracurricular activities, and having a social life.

The change from excessive working to a more balanced schedule wasn't easy for me. I felt guilty going to the gym when I had a project, and I would sometimes work on internship applications with my boyfriend when we should've been binge-watching Arrested Development on Netflix (we are unwavering fans of Tobias). Slowly, though, I started to allow myself to relax more.

I think the biggest leap for me was being alone in New York City this summer. I only work at my internship three days per week and have a weekly work memo to complete. Besides that, I have four whole days to do whatever I want with very few responsibilities. I've finally had time to catch up on Netflix shows, start this blog, read the magazines that have been piling up, and explore the city I've lived in for about a month. I already feel more happy and energetic, and my anxiety has surprisingly subsided.

If you have a Type A personality like me and feel the need to work constantly, I recommend taking a breather and allowing some relaxation into your schedule. The mental and physical benefits are unbelievable.