You Don't Have To Break Yourself To Do Your Best
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You Don't Have To Break Yourself To Do Your Best

Working hard doesn't mean working yourself to death.

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You Don't Have To Break Yourself To Do Your Best
Rob Bye on Unsplash

We're living in a fast-paced world. It's fast-paced and we're being asked to juggle more and more things while somehow figuring out how not to lose our momentum. We've got our jobs on top of school on top of internships on top of sororities or fraternities and then we're also supposed to keep up with our family and friends. Not to mention, we need to take care of ourselves physically. Because, you know, you can't do a part-time job, an internship, and get your community service hours for the semester on an empty stomach.

At the end of the day, we're all just trying to do our best. We're constantly being told to do our best. The extra motivation is great and all, but I think that in the midst of how hard we're all working to prove ourselves we lose a lot. It seems like our "best" is always being pitched as one very narrow idea: a long list of responsibilities in the limited hours of the day that we can't be stressed about because then we're "ungrateful", and we can't possibly be tired because we're "young" and "hungry for it". I realize that might be a pessimistic way of putting it. Because there are days when juggling everything seems second-nature and everything is going well and you feel great.

No matter how great it feels, though, all of that running around and keeping the pace gets exhausting. It doesn't matter how much you love your area of study, your job, the cause you're supporting. It takes a lot of mental, physical, and emotional stamina, and it's unrealistic to think that anyone, including yourself, can perform at that level all the time.

Doing your best isn't just about clocking the most hours at work or being chapters ahead in class. Doing your best also means taking the best care of yourself, physically and mentally, that you possibly can. Sometimes that means you don't take that overtime so you can finally get eight hours of sleep. You miss that one study session your TA's were hosting so you could finally make a real meal for yourself instead of living on granola bars and pretending that that's enough to sustain you. There are just going to be times when doing your best means tapping out of something you normally wouldn't for the sake of your mental health. Running yourself ragged isn't good in the short term or the long term.

We're living in a fast-paced world and if we want any hope for keeping up with it we need to treat our minds and bodies like they're just as important as our classes and internships and jobs. At the end of the day, they're more important. It might not seem like that at the moment, but the truth of the matter is we only get one body and our mind is the only one we've got for all of our trips around the sun. There are always more semesters, other jobs and internships and community service opportunities will come along if anything else falls through. But you can't fall through on yourself.

Being overworked is not the equivalent of doing your best. Doing your best is being happy and healthy while also doing what you need to do. And if you need to do less in order to accomplish all of that, then so be it. But don't let the world, with all of its high-speed talk, convince you that going 100 miles per hour until exhaustion forces you to halt, is the right or the "best" way of doing things. Be the best you, not just with external things, but be the best version of you internally too.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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