I've got a question for you.
Don't worry it's not going to appear on an exam or determine your IQ. This is a personal question.
When was the last time you sang in the shower?
I know, I know, kind of a toughie. While you think about that one, I've got a few follow-up questions:
When was the last time you danced alone in your room with your headphones on full volume? When was the last time you made yourself a cup of tea and snuggled up with a good book? When was the last time you took a walk around town with no destination in mind?
When was the last time you did something for yourself?
Ok, that was a lot of questions. I don't mean to pry, I just want you to understand that you're worth thinking about.
But I don't have time to think about myself! I've got papers due and shifts to work and tests to study for and --
Let me stop you right there. Yes, those things matter. Grades are important, jobs are important, school is important, but none of those things are as important as you. In a hyperactive world that's constantly shoving deadlines and expectations and judgment down our throats, it's easy to feel like we aren't deserving. But guess what? We are.
Want to know how I know? Let me answer with another personal question: When do you feel most alive?
Um, always? I'm breathing, aren't I?
That's not what I mean. I mean when do you feel like you have a purpose? When do you truly live in the moment and not worry about the rest of the world? Is it when you're writing a lab report or sitting through a 2-hour lecture? Probably not. For me, it's when I'm playing rugby. Every week, rugby is what I most look forward to. Even if I have a thousand assignments or a big test one week, I still go to rugby because it's the best part of my day and it makes me so happy. Sacrificing just a couple of hours of study time to be out on the pitch not only gives me a chance to clear my head and step away from my work for a bit, but it also strengthens my physical, mental, and emotional health which makes me more capable of completing my assignments.
So whatever it is you love, whether it's sports, singing, dancing, painting, writing, video games, reading -- whatever, dedicate just an hour or two each day to yourself and do what you love. If you don't make time for those moments of self-love and passion, then life becomes a struggle. You get weighed down by the responsibility of trying to accomplish things you don't especially care about like study guides and work. But if you have just one thing in your life that makes you excited every day, then those responsibilities seem secondary and manageable.
I'm not saying to ignore your responsibilities, because they do matter, I'm just saying that there are much more important things in life than the things we check off of our "To Do" list. Doing things for ourselves may not always seem like a priority when the world weighs us down with responsibilities, but I'm here to tell you that you and your well-being matter a great deal more than any test score.
So go sing in the shower, dance around your room, get lost in a book, bake some cookies, go for a run, do whatever it is that makes your heart happy because yes, you do deserve it.