After all of the hustle and bustle of summer school in an accelerated nursing program, it feels
really good to just...be. School has consumed a great deal of my life, and while my initial goal
was to do well in my program, my only goal now is to find a healthy balance between school and
my spiritual life. Taking care of every aspect of my well-being has been my priority for just a few
short months, and although I don't touch on every aspect all the time, I wanted to share some of
the things that help me stay at my best. Everyone has their own way of taking care of
themselves, & while I know this won't be all-encompassing, if one person can take something
from this, then I've accomplished my goal.
1. At the very top of my list would have to be managing my sense of space. My space is
EXTREMELY important to me, and I get very uneasy when people try to impose on that.
This may seem a bit selfish, but if I'm not comfortable, then other people tend to pick up
on that energy and the environment becomes different. It is never my intention to make
other people uncomfortable at my expense. These days, it's as simple as me reminding
myself of how imperative it is to maintain my well-being. I allow myself the freedom,
minus the feelings of guilt and selfishness, of deciding what and who I accept into my
space. I never ignore my gut; if someone or something doesn't feel right to me, then I do
what I can to make sure they don't have another opportunity to share space with me.
You can't ever get your time back, so focus your energy on cultivating a space that
allows you to consistently be your best you. This goes a long way for me and the
encounters I have with others.
2. I spend A LOT of unnecessary and pointless time on social media. And I'm not
embarrassed to say that, because I know other people do the same. In the past year
alone I've spent a lot of time checking for people who are more than likely not checking
for me. It has made me realize how much more I could have been adding to my life had I
known how to better allocate my time to more substantial areas. Use your time wisely.
3. This kind of ties into number 2, but I felt like it needed to be addressed separately. These
days I’m finding that so many people are creating voices for themselves through art
whether it be through music, poetry, drawings,etc. People are also using social media as
a medium through which to get this art across to others. And while I do love that this is
happening, I also know my limits. I take social media breaks from time to time, which can
sometimes mean deleting the apps from my phone for a few days or weeks. It really
helps me center myself and remain grounded. I also try to refrain from checking my
phone as soon as I wake up, and won't use my phone unless I absolutely have to. I'm
not 100% where I'd like to be with that yet, and whenever I feel the need to scroll through
Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat or Facebook, I have to gently remind myself that these
apps are just an excuse for my boredom and desire to know what everyone else is up to.
Know your social media limits! These sites can be very useful and have positive effects,
but they can also cause a lot of unnecessary heartache, misery, and envy.
4. I've never been an "in between" kind of person. I often find that I sit on opposite sides of
the spectrum in most aspects of my life, hardly finsing myself in a "gray" area. When I'm
happy, I'm really happy, and when I'm angry, I'm fuming. Although I know I have a great
deal of happy moments, I tend to readily recall my angry and sad moments more. I
struggle so much with holding on to anger, something that I'm no longer afraid to admit.
It can be really difficult to let go of something that can so negatively impact your life.
Ironic, isn't it? I'm such a "do unto others as you'd have them do unto you" kind of
person, so when I feel like someone does me dirty, my blood boils and I can feel angry
and betrayed for days on end. Overtime, I've come to realize how much holding onto
bitterness has robbed me of realizing my blessings. Whenever I get angry, my first
thought is always how ugly my anger makes me. My biggest flaw is forgetting that
people are human and are not free from flaws or mistakes. That has helped me a great
deal to more easily let go of my anger and try to perceive things from a place of
understanding, rather than a place of anger and judgement.
5. A few weeks ago I read a quote by Alan Watts: “Stop measuring days by degree of
productivity and start experiencing them by degree of presence.” I spend a great deal of
time obsessing over my future, about who I'll be in the next 5 years, and daydreaming
about any and everything that I could be doing to propel myself towards the woman I
envision myself becoming. I struggle all the time with whether my desire for "more" and
my desperation to "get ahead" makes me greedy. It's so important to appreciate the
stepping stones in your life and to be present in as many moments as you can. Love the
bad times as much as the good, and enjoy the journey. Comparing your life to that of
someone else will only serve to intensify that feeling of "not doing enough." Social media
will have you believing that everyone else's achievements come with a tiny amount of
hard work on their part. Stay present and understand that your story won't be the same
as anyone else's. Stay consistent with your goals and how you achieve them, but don't
allow them to overtake your life. The goal is to complete your endeavors, not get achieve
them the fastest.
6. I had forgotten what it means to be intimate with myself. Women sometimes tend to be
caretakers for everyone but themselves. For my first two semesters of nursing school, I
was commuting over an hour to class or clinical everyday. I won't lie, it was ROUGH.
School was consuming so much of my life, and I wasn't nurturing myself like I should
have. I was absolutely wearing myself thin, and although I had good grades to show for
it, internally I just felt empty everyday. Take 30 minutes or an hour out of your day
everyday to connect with yourself, whether that means going to the gym, watching a
movie, listening to music, meditating, reading, whatever. Although I enjoy being by
myself more than I enjoy being with anyone else, putting this into practice was difficult
because my 24 hours just NEVER felt enough. To salvage my mental health, I had to
ensure that I fit some "me time" somewhere in my schedule everyday. For me that
meant taking breaks in between studying for exams, stretching deep breathing before
going to sleep at night and upon waking in the morning, and reading my daily devotional
at times when I felt overwhelmed. Take care of yourself, and don't ever feel like wearing
yourself thin is the only way to ensure that you finish the race. Constantly running on
empty will leave you depleted once you get to the finish line. Intimacy with yourself is just
as important, if not more, as intimacy with a significant other.