Friday, September 22, 2017

Hitting The Wall

It's 1AM, which is by no means an appallingly late time to be up on a school night, but I have been sitting at my desk starting at this essay for, oh, about six hours now. Truthfully, I should have realized that I wasn't going to get anything done by around 9PM, by when I had done everything I could to avoid working on this essay: showering, eating dinner, cleaning the kitchen, clearing off my desk, facetiming my friend, eating twenty chicken nuggets, buying six sports bras (yes, six), browsing Buzzfeed endlessly, etc, etc, etc. It would have been much more effective if I had gone to bed early and woken up early to work on this, yet somehow I insisted on getting this done tonight and couldn't see that it was a bad idea to do so.

It's been a wildly successful week by any measure, as was intended. I went to the gym, caught up on all my readings, stayed on top of my reading responses, attended all my classes, worked at my internship, and forced myself not to procrastinate so I could go to sleep by 10PM. I figured that if I hopped on the work grind for a week, it would be enough to catch up from the confused mess left by the beginning of the semester, and reset myself to a sustainable schedule for the rest of the year. For a while, it worked. I got all of my work done, exercised, ate healthy, and slept enough. But suddenly, today, confronted by a single Classics essay of which I had three pages left, everything stopped. I did everything I could to avoid working on that essay. I ended up binge eating and stress shopping because I was so distressed that I wasn't doing what I thought I was supposed to be doing. I wrote in my journal. I wrote this blog post. Nothing could pull me out of the academic writing rut, which seemed to come out of nowhere.

I keep reminding myself that everything is okay. Even though I spent a lot of money on my stress shopping, it was arguably for things I needed that were on sale. It might be a bit financially irresponsible, but as soon as I check off things on my list like selling the extra iPad I received this summer, those finances will be in ship-shape. The binge eating was a small blip in an otherwise healthy routine. Yet still, even though I know it isn't, everything feels like it is out of my control.

Moving forward, I think it's important for me to be aware of my limits. As much as I try, there is only so much I can do until I hit a mental wall. What should have been an easy essay was the straw that broke the camel's back after a grueling week. I am only capable of being on a productive grind for so long until I get worn down. When that happens, I need to stop and let myself recover, because I can't do my best work if I am not my best self. For now, this means going to sleep and getting up in the morning to try again. If that doesn't work, then there are always other options, like asking for an extension. Even if that's not possible, there's nothing I can do right now except make taking care of myself my only priority. ◊

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