I am a pretty busy person. I generally only have 3 days of the week where I am free to do as I please. As the school year draws to a close, so does my amount of free time. I have a perfectly packed schedule in which I have to accomplish everything when I set time aside for it in order to not overwhelm myself.

In the past, I was great at sticking to my own agenda and successfully crossing things off my to-do list. One week flowed smoothly into the next, developing a cycle of extremely stressful weeks and extremely calm weekends. But life, as you know is never calm. Soon, the line between work and play blurred, and I found myself stuck in a living nightmare filled with endless bouts of sleep deprivation,  and large amounts of stress. 

Then I came across this quote, 

"I don’t care if you have 3 hours of homework left. If your friend is crying, you need to go comfort her. If your boyfriend is upset, you need to go give him a hug. If your mother wants to talk, talk to her. If your brothers are jumping in leaf piles, go join them. If your family wants to go out to eat, go with them. You can’t miss your life because of the demands of school. You can always finish homework later or get one bad grade; but life.. you can’t push that off for later. You only get that one chance. And no homework assignment is more important than actually living your life."

Which made me question why I could carve enough time out of my life to finish all of my homework, but I couldn't find it in me to actually find a moment to do something for myself. How much of my happiness and sanity, was I willing to sacrifice in order to ensure that I got all "E"s for excellent on my next report card? How many weekends was I prepared to spend locked in my room, hunched over my textbook, for the sake of a good grade? The answer as it turned out was way too many. I had already spent six months of flourishing academically but remaining stunted in growth in all other aspects of my life. On my report card, everything was as it should be, but I wasn't any closer to fulfilling any of my own goals than when I first made them six months ago. 

Now I'm not saying that school isn't important, but making your whole life revolve around one aspect is. Whether it's sports, work or animals, once you have more focus on it than taking care of yourself and your needs, it becomes a problem. Yet, I think the real dilemma that many of us share is our difficulty with putting ourselves first. We see relaxation as detrimental to achieving our goals, rather than as a necessary water break after a marathon. Sometimes, taking a pause doesn't mean putting our whole life on hold, but actually jump starting it to the next level. 

Putting oneself first is often promoted as selfish, but I think that it's the key to helping others. If you are unhappy, you'll feel as if everything you do is harder than it truly is. If you are too busy focusing on how tired you are, how can you accomplish anything to the best of your abilities? The truth is that you can't. And that's why there comes a time where you have to stop neglecting your needs and your happiness and start caring for yourself, in order to put your best foot forward. 


For more on why you should put yourself first, click here

How do you find me-time?