Thoughts and Musings | PRESSURE

Wednesday, 14 October 2015

I picked this photo because there are few things that intimidate me more than a blank page (or screen!)
By pressure, I mean the pressure I put on myself. The things that I feel like I should be doing, and therefore fret about when I don't get them done, or don't do enough of them. This list includes, but is not limited to:

  • Eating well, so that I stay well, and so my skin doesn't breakout further
  • Staying attentive and focused in creative writing workshops
  • Writing a certain amount each day
  • Doing enough work, and good enough work, to graduate with a first
  • Co-running my society at uni to the best of my ability and keeping the high standards from last year 
  • Looking wide awake and reasonably put-together whenever I leave the house
  • Making each blog post the best it can possibly be
  • Maintaining an interesting Twitter feed and Instagram account for the blog
  • Spending enough time commenting on other blog posts and replying to comments/emails
  • Making plans for after I finish university
  • Being a good housemate
  • Being a good friend, and staying in touch with everyone back home
  • Keeping in contact with my family, particularly my parents and my brother, who is currently in his first year of uni.

On the surface, these all seem like reasonable things to do, but HOLY SHIT  when you put them all together? It's just crazy. And when you're feeling stressed out and everything seems more of a big deal than it normally would, it's overwhelming. There are days when I coast along just fine, and days when I feel like I'm one step away from having a nervous breakdown.

One thing that I find helps me a lot is to-do lists. I've been working out what I need to do that week, then dividing everything up so that each day I do a couple of important things, and also get a couple of not-so vital tasks ticked off. (Sometimes I start my list with something I've already done, just so I can cross it off and feel smug. Works a treat for motivation.) 

Breaking everything down so that you take it one day at a time makes everything seem a lot more manageable, too. Telling myself I have to submit a 10,000-12,000 word dissertation by mid-March is panic-inducing, but telling myself that I just need to submit a new non-fiction story before my next tutorial isn't so bad; I can do that. 

Often, it can feel like there's not enough time in the day, but I figure that as long as I'm trying to get everything sorted then I can cut myself some slack. And I think it's important to be kind to yourself: to realize that you're doing the best you can and there's nothing more you can do beyond that. Letting yourself relax helps a lot, too. Usually I'm quite bad at that, so I'm gonna get myself some bath bombs, and make some time so that I can just breathe, and switch my brain off, if only for an hour or so each day.

What kind of pressure do you feel? How do you relax when it all gets too much? Let me know in the comments.

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