2021 was filled with anxiety, chaos, fear, and fatigue. My fear of failure grew larger. My anxiety about making friends and being my true self engulfed every aspect of my life. Especially near the end of 2021, I lost motivation to DO things. Exams were degrading because it felt like no matter how much I’d study I’d still not do as well as I wanted to. I let go of some of my extracurricular responsibilities. Most importantly, I lost sight of what pushes me.
I think a lot of young people went through a similar situation in 2021. We were thrown back into a lifestyle that had been on pause for a year, and we were expected to come back strong. I lost count of the number of times my teachers have called my grade or generation lazy. It was extremely enraging and demoralizing. I’m lucky that I have the chance to slow down before the next semester of school begins. If you have the time to slow down before school picks up again or before extracurriculars take over your free time, take it and use it so you can come back from 2021 stronger.
Here are some ways to utilize that time:
Resting mentally and physically is extremely important. I do not mean mindlessly sitting and watching Netflix. I mean you should take part in fulfilling things that allow you to relax. This could mean reading one of your favorite books again. I think watching your favorite show or YouTuber can be a fulfilling restful task, however, you should keep control over the situation. Meaning you shouldn’t sit for 8 hours watching and call that rest. Rest, for you, could be taking a walk or a nap. In general, rest is allowing yourself time to just be and prioritize the things that make you content.
Journaling + Meditation
Journaling is shown to reduce levels of depression and anxiety. It is accepted that journaling is one of the most beneficial things you can do for yourself, however, oftentimes people don’t know how or where to start. I was one of these people until I turned to Pinterest for journaling inspiration. It has a variety of prompts and questions to get you started on your journaling. Since I deal with morning anxiety, I journal in the morning with prompts like: “How are you this morning?”, “What are 3 goals for today?”, “What are you looking forward to?”, etc.
Other prompts include: “Describe your current mindset. How do you self sabotage yourself? Do others notice these habits?”, “Write a list of moments you will never forget.”, “What motivates me…”.
Balance is a great app that is simple and direct when it comes to meditation. I’m not yet sure if I need to invest in an app solely for meditation, but until then I’ve utilized the 1-year free trial greatly. It has meditation plans to guide you through anxiety, fear, loneliness, and pain. It has meditation singles for waking up, relaxing, sick days, procrastination, frustration, anxiety, and many more. You can learn the basics of meditation with flexible meditation plans. If you’ve been wanting to try out meditation I would suggest checking Balance out.
I’ve always been a reader, so when I need to rest it is one of the best things to do for me. Here are some awesome books that you can look to if you need inspiration…
- A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith
- The Sun Does Shine by Anthony Ray Hinton
- Think Again by Adam Grant
- Shadow City by Taran Khan
Remind Yourself of What You’re Passionate About
Why do I try so hard at school? Why am I still on the basketball team if it causes stress on my schedule? Why did I sign up for the debate team if I know my schedule will barely allow it?
We all have things we do or don’t do that logically don’t make sense in terms of time or our supposed career path. We do or don’t do those things for a reason; take some time to remind yourself of that reason. Your reason could be a dream school or a dream career; it could be simply for your own happiness. For example, I’m a big basketball fan, but until this winter break, I haven’t watched one NBA game since the season started. For reference, I watched almost every professional basketball game in 2020. I knew that to motivate myself and get more confident in my knowledge of the game I needed to simply go back and watch an NBA game.
Taking time to think about your goals and how you are taking steps towards them is important. Taking time to think about what makes you happy and how often you are fulfilling that desire is important as well.