Listicles have always fascinated me. They’re fun, precise and satisfying. The times I have written lists haven’t always been the best because I normally write lists when everything is all too overwhelming and I need some semblance of order and control and detached rationality.
But I got up at 5 today morning for no apparent reason and I was in the mood. And my dad gave me this talk yesterday about overworking myself and becoming a workaholic later on in life like he did and how he really does regret it. So, um, here:
Signs you’re dying inside. Drowning amidst hydrophilic molecule heads and bond angles and Newton’s laws and coherent sources and revolution volumes and radians and argumentative essays and integration and vector forces and kinematics and primary and secondary alcohols and Tollen’s reagent and translocation and Pascal’s triangle (or whatever it’s called) and parallelogram laws and killer cells and memory cells and tuberculosis symptoms and AIDS incidence and STAHP. Stop.
- Exhaustion. Even if you take a day off and do nothing, absolutely nothing except sleep and loiter around, you’re tired. Always.
- Sleep Paralysis. This technically comes under exhaustion since it is usually caused by it. For those of you who don’t know what sleep paralysis is, it happens when you fall asleep or as you wake up. Your mind is awake and trying to get your body to move, but your body decides to throw a tantrum and not show up for work and is still in shut down mode. It is terrifying. Basically your body is in rest mode because it is too exhausted to even be able to move a finger but your mind is wide awake, calculating, planning, thinking and slowly going into panic mode because WHY AM I NOT MOVING?! That nightmare you have about running in slow motion while being chased by bloodthirsty monsters who want to gouge your eyeballs out and dip them in candy while you sit writhing in pain? It’s like that, except worse because this is actually happening. Hallucinations are also a thing for extreme cases.
- Lack of motivation. Perhaps you started out strong. Foolishly optimistic, steadily gaining momentum, finishing half a subject in one day and actually even remembering it. And then being excited about diving back into it the next day. Well no more o’ that darling, no more o’ tha’! It’s not that you dread studying; it’s just that you see no reason for it. It’s too—for lack of a better word–blah. Because you started out too strong.
- Disenchanted. With everything. That doesn’t mean you’re in a perpetual state of melancholy and that you find no joy in any aspect of life. You’re just neutral when it comes to most things because even though you have no motivation to study, you still want to (but don’t at the same time ya’ know?) and all you can think about is how productive this hour would be if you were studying instead of making stupid lists no one even wants to see. And that takes the fun out of whatever it is that you are doing.
- Sleep deprivation. Because you foolishly stay up nights in wild hopes of somehow ending up actually studying. This of course leads to point #1: exhaustion.
- Cat lady behavioural problems. Except worse because you don’t even have cats. You sit in your room all day and honestly dread going out because it is such a waste of time and you could be doing so many other important things. Important things that you don’t even end up doing because #3. Your social life takes a turn for the worse and even your family starts thinking of you as a mythological creature whose existence they can’t entirely be sure of, and whose sightings are cast away as tricks of the mind due to them being extremely rare in nature. You hiss at sunlight. Your eyes have grown so used to the tube light in your room that it can’t handle natural light unless it is muted by layers and layers of rainy day clouds. No dude, seriously.
Well with a name like Tiddles, it should’ve known she was never on them to begin with.
- Weight in your chest. You don’t actually notice it, really. Until it is momentarily lifted when you do something stimulating (besides studying, that is) like writing or dancing—and the relief is sweet and welcome until it settles back in without you even noticing. And there it sits until it is temporarily lifted again.
Now of course these aren’t “scientific” signs or anything. Mainly just from personal experience.
Dealing with it:
- Relax. I know. I know how stupid that sounds and I know how impossible it is, but really, relax. It’s okay. You’ll do it.
- Do Something You Like For The Sake Of Doing It. Don’t think about what you should be doing or exactly how many minutes of your day you’re wasting, just do it. It’ll make you feel good enough for you to actually be motivated enough to work Best of both worlds.
- It’s okay to have a lazy day. You don’t have to be productive every minute of every day. You’re human. In six months the test you’re stressing about won’t even matter. Probably.
- Dance. Even if you’re not a dancer and mostly look like you’re having a seizure on the dance floor. Turn off the big lights, lock the door, put on the music and dance. Just jump around until you’re exhausted. But this time it’ll be the good kind of exhausted: the physically stimulating, endorphin-releasing kind. And you don’t have to worry about clocking in your workout that day while tackling studies. Honestly people, just do it. I really don’t mean this in the spiritual, soul-freeing sense (like, ew); your heart will beat faster, feel-good hormones will be released and you will actually end up being more productive that day because you’ve gotten all the restlessness out.
I said lights off
- Go Out For Ice Cream. You’re probably supposed to be doing that English assignment but do it anyway. Nothing will make you feel better than frozen sugar and milk and diabetes on a stick. Even if you hate having to dress up, go out for ice cream. Taking the pack out of the fridge isn’t the same thing. Get out you lazy bum.
- Read. Every one once in a while, even if it is impossible to limit yourself to 3 chapters. You deserve an adventure after 2 hours of studying (even if 45 minutes of it was purely study breaks)
- Which reminds me: take study breaks. 6 minutes every 20 minutes. And do something nice in those 6 minutes, don’t just think about past failures and then feel guilty about the break.
- Make a schedule. Even if you don’t follow it, the act of making it makes you feel better about yourself and optimistic about your future.
I’m in no way qualified to give out advice, but this has helped me and I wanted to make a list. Because they calm me down and help me process.
PS. The WordPress Gods tell me I’ve crossed 100 followers…whaaaaaaaaa–? Last I remember is being excited about reaching 30 subscribers. So, well thank you 🙂 I know I should play it cool and mature and act like it’s no big deal, because it isn’t and it doesn’t really matter how many followers you have–it’s about simply writing. But I’m still grateful for all you misguided fools out there actually reading this crap.