Learning to Stop at Green Lights

Go. Our lives are like traffic lights stuck on green, with no signal for us to slow down. We follow the traffic, hurry along, and do as much as we can as quickly as we can. This is my life. My job is intense, and I keep busy at night and on the weekends. My mom jokes that I don’t know how to relax, and in many ways she’s right. But a few years ago I learned the importance of not overworking myself.

During my freshman year of college, I tried to do everything. I took six classes, joined lots of clubs, and had two jobs. I was always on the go. But I eventually broke down. I was sick, exhausted, and my body was angry at me. Everything and everyone was telling me to “slow down.” My first reaction was I am not going to give up anything, I love it all too much! Yet, I realized that by not finding balance in my life, I was giving up something much more precious–my health and well-being. For many of you, this may sound all too familiar.

Finding balance in daily life is important. Being healthy requires moderation; balance keeps us happy and decreases unnecessary stress. After all, stress is normal, but too much of it can be toxic. To achieve this everyone needs to find their own methods. Here are some ideas for achieving balance and decreasing stress:

  • Spend 30 minutes alone every day
  • Go for a run or bike ride regularly
  • Spend time with friends just because you can
  • Take up a new hobby
  • Sleep in on the weekends
  • Write in a journal

Whatever the method, and the possibilities are endless, it’s important that it be about you.

So, here’s your challenge. To start, for an hour each day for the next week turn off your phone, stay off of the Internet, and do something that is entirely your decision. Whether it be reading that book that is collecting dust on your shelf, watching a Buffy episode, or dancing around your house, make sure it’s your choice and that it makes you happy. This is the first step to finding your daily balance. Let us know know in the comments what your method is. Go!

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  1. Heather Murray

    January 30, 2011 at 12:02 am

    Jen, I relate to this SO STRONGLY! This is what I did to myself last semester and I am RESOLVED not to do it again, because it was miserable. SO far, much better. :) Thanks for the challenging words!

    My hour will be divided, I think. First of all, I am a bath person, and if I don’t start my day off with a bath it’s a bad day! (is this weird? tmi? IDK haha) So, bath in the morning to clear my head. And I think I’ll take a 30 minute video game break each evening this week. Sounds lovely… thanks for giving me an excuse to save the galaxy! Playing Mass Effect. 😉

  2. Jodi

    January 30, 2011 at 12:13 pm

    Personally, I love relaxing too much to this too much, but I know a lot of people who overwork themselves. I’m going to spend my hour today reading my newest book obsession – it’s called Matched and it’s brilliant so far. 😀

  3. Emily Ioppolo

    January 30, 2011 at 12:18 pm

    You have basicly explained the story of my life. If anybody hasn’t heard of Emmy Rossum’s song “Slow Me Down”, it’s a beautiful explaination of this. Check it out!!

  4. Abby

    January 30, 2011 at 12:39 pm

    This reminds me a lot of a HuffPost article I read this morning about how college students are overworking themselves and then keeping silent about it – actually, it works really well with this month’s Horcrux. It’s worth a read, if you’re interested.


  5. rosie

    January 30, 2011 at 3:53 pm

    Thank you. I really needed this. I’ve been stressing out about homework, college and financial aid too much and haven’t had time to just do something for myself. I’ll take your advice and spend an hour reading =]

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