Over the past few weeks, my brain has felt like a pressure cooker. My mind has been racing with thoughts about the end of the semester, summer plans, and my upcoming senior year (which sounds much too close to the start of “real life” for my liking).
It’s no surprise then, that with hectic weeks mapped out in my planner that would give even Buddhist monks anxiety, I’ve been neglecting taking time for myself. Combine this with the fact that my therapist was just on vacation in Thailand for a month, and there you have the perfect storm.
At first, I wondered why it was happening. I started to get acute anxiety, something that normally only happens to me when I’m experiencing a big transition. And I wasn’t. I’d be sitting at my desk at work, and all of a sudden it’d feel like I was going to pass out, which then made me more anxious (because who wants to be the girl that passes out at work?!)
Then I realized, it had only been a matter of time. After a few weeks of pushing my thoughts and feelings aside wondering “who has time for those?” which is pretty easy to do when your therapist isn’t on the other end of the phone, my emotions were beginning to catch up with me. On top of that, I had been neglecting my weekly yoga classes and morning meditation sessions in favor of more sleep, papers that needed to be finished, and summer internship applications that were begging to be filled out.
I was burnt out. That’s when I realized, we all need to have “self check in” meetings. For me, that means regular appointments with my therapist to reflect on how I’m feeling. That’s why when she went on vacation for a month, it was easy to just not check in with myself because I wasn’t used to doing it much beyond our 50 minute sessions.
While therapy isn’t necessarily for everyone, having regular self check in meetings should be. Dr. Lynn Keegan, a well-known leader in holistic nursing explains, “When people take time from their busy lives for solitude and self-reflection, the benefits are well worth the effort. The purposes of self-reflection are value development and clarification, discovery and development of meaning in life, and refined and renewed direction.” Who wouldn’t want that?
The next time you’re tempted to push your feelings aside in order to “get sh*t done,” don’t. Sure, there’s something to be said for those who are constantly productive and getting their #hustle on. But there’s also tremendous value in taking time to pause and check in with yourself. Lucky for me, my therapist is back so I’ll be forced to, but I’m going to make it a priority outside of those 50 minute sessions.
It can be as simple as writing your thoughts and feelings down for 5 minutes at the end of a long day, or ditching your headphones as you walk to class so that you can ~just think~. The important thing is that you make space in your life to reflect on how you’re doing before all of those neglected thoughts and feelings catch up with you.