BY Elise Siebert
Last friday, I had a meltdown in front of my boyfriend. Of course, it was completely unexpected and happened at the worst possible time. I was hanging out with my group of friends, it was a casual night, nothing special. I typically have a lot of energy when it comes to being around big groups of people and having a negative attitude is usually very rare. But this night was different. I saw a couple pictures that brought back painful memories and all of a sudden I could feel myself sinking. All of the things that have been overwhelming me started to build up, along with all of my personal emotions that I tend to push away.
You might be asking yourself how I got to this point. All teens have to deal with the feeling of being overwhelmed. Sometimes it is a coach or a parent that is putting pressure on them and sometimes it is themselves. I struggle with pushing myself. I fill my schedule up completely, not giving myself any time to breathe. I try too hard to multitask everything instead of focusing on the important things. I force myself to keep going until eventually it all boils up and explodes.
Personally, I find it very difficult to balance everything I have on my plate. We are expected to find a good amount of time for everything, but how do we define what a good amount of time is? The top ones for myself are school, work and my social life.
High schoolers are pressured daily about their grades. In some way, I look at school like a competition, but against myself. Just when I think I have everything under control, one bad assignment goes in the gradebook and down goes that percentage, along with my mood. It honestly isn’t healthy how easily a number can affect the way I feel about myself. Not only do I constantly overwhelm myself with school work but also school activities. The need to feel involved constantly creeps up at school. There are so many different clubs and activities that students feel obligated to join when really there isn’t enough time. Clubs also contribute to the social life category, but we will get to that in a little bit.
The second thing that stresses me out is work. Now, not everyone has to deal with work. But for those of us who have bad FOMO (fear of missing out,) and have to pay for things themselves this section is a big one. Along with getting school work done, we have to find a time to squeeze in hours for our minimum wage paying job. But again, we need to make money so we can pay for gas so we can get to work… kinda seems like a vicious cycle.
Having a social life is one of the bigger ones. The reason is because not only do you have to find a good balance between school and work but you also have many things within it. I struggle with this because I somehow need to find a way to give enough time to my friendships, my boyfriend, my family, my church group and my clubs at school. This is kind of a risky thing to do because if they are not equal, it will cause all kinds of issues.
For example, let’s say I am spending too much time with my group of friends. My boyfriend can easily get jealous and I will constantly get the “we never see you anymore,” comment from my parents. But if I flip the situation, the same complaints will still come.
It is impossible to find time for everything, but it is possible to choose your main priorities and to focus on the big things. At first, I didn’t know how to respond and found myself overthinking and stressing out. This weekend I had to take a step back and take a look at my overall happiness, and this is what I learned.
I found that the best way to calm your stress is to communicate. Don’t push your feelings down. Allow yourself a day to rest, make some hot chocolate and read a book because you want to, not because it is an assignment. Talk about your feelings with someone without fear.
For myself, I am trying to focus more on the things that I cannot change. The things inside like my emotions and my feelings. When I was able to completely express my thoughts, I didn’t feel so alone or stressed. For the first time in awhile, I found peace in my hectic world.
So, really I am taking it one day at a time. Some days are better than others, but overall I have learned that it is okay to have bad days. It is okay to vulnerable.
It is time to allow yourself to breathe.