There is something about the number 3. Third times a charm, good things come in threes, deaths come in three’s, and many other cultural aphorisms that express the importance of the “number 3” in many aspects of life. Lately, I have been in somewhat of a slump; it’s my last real semester of college, soon all my friends will be parting ways across the country in pursuit of jobs, new experiences and big adult decisions, and the pressure to “figure it all out” has never been greater. This, combined with the need to do well in school to finish strong can amount to an enormous level of stress and anxiety, as time feels like it is slipping away at an ever-increasing rate. I knew I had to do something to prevent my entire life from completely spiraling out of control these past few months, but initially I wasn’t sure how to structure these changes so that I could try to stick to them.
I decided there were 3 components of my life that I needed to pay special attention to to make sure I was taking care of my health while still moving forward in this absurd journey we call life. I decided that every day, I would try to do 3 things; one thing for my physical health, one for my future and one for my personal enjoyment/emotional health.
1. Physical health. This is probably the most important of the three because without healthy bodies, it’s nearly impossible for us to take care of the other parts of life. I have been trying to focus on going to the gym and trying new group fitness classes, as well as doing yoga before bed in order to relax. Obviously, it is nearly impossible for any college student (or any person for that matter) to commit to a full-fledged workout everyday, and for days that I know the gym is out of the question, I pay extra special attention to what food I eat, and I avoid snacking and unhealthy choices. Salads have become a popular meal choice and I’ve started skipping the processed food options. Something as simple as a 15 minute walk in the fresh air does the body and mind good, I’ve always found this to be a great way to get re-centered to focus on my work if my mind has been stressed.
2. For the future. This one is slightly more difficult to complete something every single day. I try to aim to accomplish something that is going to help me move a step forward in terms of my career and my future after graduation. Some things that I have done include filling out online job applications for companies I might want to work for, updating my LinkedIn profile, updating my resume, reading online forums on job interviews, search job opportunities in other cities and look into possible future grad schools. This “step” or component of the daily 3 is less relevant for people who already have it all figured out, but there’s no harm in polishing a resume or investigating what your options are if you are less than fully satisfied in your current occupation. An incredible resource for people who ARE looking for as much information on future jobs as possible is The Daily Muse which has endless articles of advice for job seekers as well as job postings and other resources.
3. Personal enjoyment. This one, which should be the easiest, honestly becomes one of the most challenging things to accomplish for a busy college student. When everyone’s day is essentially planned out from the moment they wake up to the moment their head hits the pillow, it can be so hard to make sure to pencil in an activity of some sort that we can do for pure enjoyment and relaxation. Lately, I have been writing a book, which I try to accomplish writing 1000 words per day in it, which has been an easy way to relax and get away from the stresses of other commitments. It is fun to shape my characters and think of new twists and turns for my story, which also helps my brain maintain its creativity muscle.
Personal enjoyment activities do not need to be major time consuming things; whether it is something as simple as painting your nails, organizing your bedroom, reading a chapter out of a book, trying a new recipe, trying a new restaurant, updating a blog (ahem!) or learning a new hobby. It is so important to make time for these things because they allow us to put our other worries aside and focus on just enjoying ourselves, which is so critical in having a well-rounded, happy life. This blog has been my major personal outlet over the last few years, and I have really grown to love writing in it, sharing my ideas, travels and communicating with other bloggers through it. I only hope that it can continue to grow and hopefully help others, or at least entertain them. I love all of you! My readers are the motivation that keep me going and keep me writing and seeking out new things to write about.
Unless one wins the lottery, we can’t dramatically change our lives overnight, and trying to do so can only lead to failure and frustration. Taking small steps and doing things in “chunks” can be a gradual but steady journey toward improving ourselves and our daily lives. It also forces creativity and to think outside the box for new things to do to improve, which can lead to exciting opportunities!