Taking a Break

I am just finishing up my week of spring break, and I’ve spent it happily at home with my family. While I’ve been busy shopping at Costco, going to Pilates with my mom, and knocking medical check-ups off my list, the thought of all the work that I have coming up was always in the back of my mind.

Why now? Why recently has my to-do list been causing unnecessary stress and wrinkles? I met with an advisor last week to make sure my college schedule aligns with requirements for both majors and my minor, and I realized that this is about to get a lot more difficult than I bargained for.

If I thought that I was swimming to keep my head above water this past year and a half, I’m about to take a nose dive into the deep end.

In addition to the initial pressure of grades and course requirements, I have an organization on campus to co-run as well as a new job as of recent. If the goal of my time at college is to grow and learn, I feel that having real world experiences will teach me just as much as my college algebra and adding these extra benefits to my resume is sure to teach me a thing or two.

Everyone could use this quote as a wallpaper!

A week of break could not have come at a better time for me, with every day of the past two months being back to back work, school, and social plans. And yet, as I packed my bag to come home, all I could think about was what books I needed to bring back and what folders contained all the homework I should get done over the week.

Productivity is something that has plagued me throughout my entire career, as focus and discipline lead my character traits. It a great tool for time management and for people who decide to double major a year later, but an absolute wreckage for coping with faltering anxiety and self-worth based on achievement.

And this break, despite having lugged home books and chargers and folders and important papers, I have barely gotten anything completed. Every time I start to type out the paper that’s due next week, my mind drifts and I find myself starring off at old baby pictures on the wall or listening to my mom talk about her nonprofit work. Whenever I go to Google to begin the research project due in April, I end up looking at news stories or browsing pictures of Pomeranians.

I have been struggling with this lack of productivity this week, even though I’ve gotten a dozen other than school-related activities done. I am dreading my “return to reality” but have also taken this time to understand that the mind and body needs a rest from routine every once in a while.

And if any readers out there know and understand this heavy feeling on my chest just thinking about everything that needs to get done, I’ve put together a list of ten things to do instead of beating yourself up about not being productive.

  1. Read a non-school related book
  2. Watch a movie or show you’ve been putting off
  3. Go for a walk
  4. Listen to music
  5. Do chores
  6. Hang out with family
  7. Journal (or write a blog post!)
  8. Call a friend
  9. Bake
  10. Go for a drive

And if after all of these things, you still can’t bring yourself to finish the assignment or read the chapter, just have peace with yourself for the time being and understand that your productivity doesn’t determine your success, especially if you find your mind needing some time off.

Remember that the image in the mirror doesn’t always reflect the feelings inside. Respect that and relax every once in a while.

(Trying to find) peace,

Madeleine Rheinheimer

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