Editors Note: Treating yourself with kindness

As we approach the fall Reading Week, I’ve been starting to think more and more about the ways that I can begin cramming as many productive hours and simultaneous chunks of relaxation time into my schedule as humanly possible.

I’m the kind of person who can’t stand the possibility of “wasting” my precious week off from my full course load — either by doing too much or not doing enough.

I’ve always been a planner, and I feel the need to be organized, with every aspect of my day-to-day life, no matter what.

It’s become a tiring series of trying to do everything just right—meal prepping healthy lunches to avoid ordering Skip the Dishes (yet again), going to the gym even when I’m exhausted, forcing myself to stay on top of my classes in the midst of putting this paper together each week—all while attempting to retain some semblance of a social life and make memories that I can look back on and be thankful for.

I place a huge amount of pressure on myself to be the ultimate picture of balance and busyness, and amidst my efforts to have every detail of the day jotted down in its own pre-planned time slot, I forget to breathe. I stress myself out, lose countless hours of sleep and end up burnt out because of it.

My time as Editor-in-Chief is flying by quicker than I ever expected it to, and I keep questioning whether or not I’m doing this job justice. 

For all of my griping and worrying and endless amounts of planning, I’m quickly learning that I can feel fulfilled doing some or most of the things on my to-do lists—but fulfillment doesn’t necessarily have to be reached doing absolutely every task that I have written out in one of my ten Indigo notebooks stacked on my bedside table.

While there’s always going to be room for some sort of improvement in my life, I have the tendency to punish myself for personal infractions like eating MacDonald’s when it’s not my “cheat” day or for seeing an error in the newspaper that I know is my fault—I deny myself the little things I enjoy or I consider to be acts of over-indulgent self-care because I don’t think I deserve them if I’m not being completely perfect.

I’ve had to work myself up to booking a haircut for the first time in months and finally did it the other day. I added in a nail appointment with my mom too, just because I felt like it. These are the things that make me feel good about myself, revive my confidence and well being, just a little bit, so why should I be wasting so much of my time thinking that I need to use them as rewards and markers for reaching the sometimes ridiculous “ideal” standards that I’ve set for myself?

Reading Week should be the time where I catch up on what I need to, but also step back and unwind, even if that just means reading a book that isn’t on a syllabus, watching Netflix without feeling any guilt or visiting my best friend that I don’t get to see everyday.

So, I hope that I, and everyone else, can use this break to do whatever would make us feel the most satisfied with the time we have off from school.

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