I ended March with a bang– I represented my school in a moot court competition and bought a car! I also wrote an article for Salty Running about how my perfectionist tendencies have manifested in law school. I wrote the post a couple weeks ago, and it was published last Monday. You can read the article to get an idea, but my perfectionism knows no bounds. Since then, I’ve made an effort to be more aware of when anxiety is being caused by my idea of what “should” be.
I am actually most overwhelmed when faced with “free time,” aka time that I don’t have to be in class or in the office or in a meeting or a practice. Get it? I don’t have a lot of unscheduled time, so when I do have it, my brain goes haywire. WhatshouldIdo? WhatshouldIdo? WhatshouldIdo?
It’s all about what I should be doing– not what I want to be doing or what I would enjoy doing. A therapist observed this last year. I see “free time” as a time to catch up, and that’s it. It’s also not a healthy way to look at weekends (my most anxious time of the week, believe it or not).
This week, I discovered a useful question that I asked myself in moments in which I was overwhelmed, i.e. when I had a few moments to spare.
What would benefit you the most right now?
On Thursday, instead of going for a run, I tackled the mess in my apartment that was neglected while I was in New York. Sure, a run would have benefited me, but not the most. I needed those moments to get organized, so that’s what I did! Tonight, some gym time is going to benefit me the most. I’ve been working all day to complete a project, and I drove a couple hours back to my city. I feel stiff and cranky. I need to go log some miles and loosen up. That’s what will benefit me the most right now.
While I have a giant list of things I could technically be doing, I’ll be digging myself in a miserable hole if I don’t get some exercise. Asking this question helps me to compartmentalize my academic life, work life, running, and home life. Instead of having a rigid schedule for each compartment of my life, this helps me strike a balance. Some days running will be the best benefit. Sometimes, homework will be the best. Sometimes a cup of tea and scrolling instagram will be it. Being spontaneous about my free time has relieved some stress this weekend.
I hope this tip helps you! Have a wonderful week! Eat some good food and get some fresh air. Don’t forget to sleep! 😀
Featured image is in Venice, Italy.