Take it easy and don’t burn out too early in the year
By Elliot Chan, Opinions Editor
Formerly published by The Other Press. January 13, 2015
Pace yourself. For those who are working and going to school, taking a break periodically at the start of the year can do wonders. Let’s be honest, the holiday season is not as relaxing as you would have wanted it to be. In fact, some might say that running around, buying gifts, attending parties, and mingling with old friends and familiar relatives is as stressful as a communications project. Now that you are back into the groove, take a moment, breathe, and relish in the start without anticipating the finish.
If you have chronic stress or if you don’t want to develop it, there are few things you need to do: avoid exhaustion, stay motivated, dismiss cynicism, and get cognitive rest and take care of yourself.
We often overload our schedule early in the year or try to harness the momentum that dwindled a bit after the festivities. There is a bit of holiday hangover though, so although we are optimistic, we must also be realistic. While some people are busy making New Year’s resolutions, you may consider taking a break. Ease up, allow yourself time to soak in the new environment, new classrooms, new responsibilities, and new opportunities.
Why do we burn out in April when it’s exam season? Why do we feel overwhelmed and stressed? It’s because we weren’t taking care of ourselves earlier on. We weren’t preparing ourselves properly. Once activities and assignments pile up, there is no time to rest, but there is plenty to stress.
Instead of doing frivolous work or starting anything new, consider how far you’ve come since the previous year and maybe reassess your goals. Mark milestones you would like to hit throughout the year and plan. Planning an event in May will give you energy in March, so even if you start burning out in the latter half of the season, know that you’ll be rewarded by someone who cares: you.
Relaxing is serious business. While the grind up ahead seems daunting and preparation is a must, relaxation is the act of staying attuned with your body and mind. A body builder doesn’t go to the gym every day and doesn’t work the same muscles every day. Neither should you.
Trust in yourself that you will survive this year with grace. Exemplify vitality. Don’t beat yourself up for having a day where you get to sleep. Not every day needs to be productive, especially early on in the year. You’re about to climb a mountain, a mountain you have climbed many times before, a mountain that lasts 365 days. Look up, visualize all that you want to accomplish, and then take one step at a time. Most importantly, don’t forget to enjoy the view.