We've all been at points in our lives where we're extremely overwhelmed—coursework, the demands of a job, keeping a healthy social life, meeting every single deadline from those that will impact said jobs to picking up food on time. Life in general is full of obligations, and no matter how big or little they may be, it's easy to feel like you're being crushed by the weight of responsibility. Even socializing with people we love to socialize with can feel draining; it sounds like a catch-22.
In the increasingly interconnected world we live in, the desire to tune out the white noise of text messages, emails, and social media becomes more and more appealing. Keeping ourselves engaged and available 24/7 can be draining on our mental, physical, and emotional health. It may feel like you don't belong to yourself, or you have no control of your interactions
When you feel like this, take a step back. Breathe. Realize that it's okay to send some emails a little bit later, or to text your mom back a few hours later if you need to. Spending time with and for yourself is okay, and understanding this is the first step to a healthier, happier you. We've gotten to the point where we hardly know how to relax or sit still; a 2014 study from the University of Virginia concluded that some people would rather literally suffer an electric shock than be alone with their thoughts.
College students, for example, are consistently immersed in technology, work, and keeping busy. Professor Joseph Murray of Bucknell University summed it up best: "In this culture of busyness and with all this social networking, students have the experience that every waking hour should be spent doing something,...we need to make it OK for students to find places for stress relief and reflection and to take time for themselves."
The above advice need not just apply to college students; we live in a world where people who aren't constantly on the move are seen as "slackers." But what happens to those of us constantly on the move? We burn out.
Fortunately, this can be prevented by taking a moment, or even a day, to yourself.
Every once in a while, it's important to turn off your phone, your laptop, and do whatever it is you need to do to care for yourself. Curl up with a good book, fill up a hot bath and pour yourself a glass of wine, watch a film by yourself, take a walk or lay in bed and do absolutely nothing. Do whatever you need to do to recharge, take care of yourself, and prepare for the next day.
It's okay to be alone. In fact, it's perfectly normal, if not absolutely necessary. Next time you're filling out your weekly planner, make sure to schedule some alone time; you'll thank yourself for it later.