Romanticizing Overexertion

Hello Folks,

So I was scrolling through my Facebook newsfeed this afternoon when I came across this photo:

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This. THIS. THIS!! I can’t express enough how accurate from start to finish this quote is! I am currently working two jobs, back to back, Monday to Friday, working around a total of 12 hours a day. I wake up at 5:30am and get to sleep by 10-11pm and THIS IS NOT GOOD. I’ve been doing the full-time + part-time job situation for just over three weeks now and it’s sufficient to say that it’s taken a toll on my mental and physical health.

Firstly, my body is lacking an incredible amount of sleep, I actually just slept from 4-8pm, and this is the first time I’ve been able to fit a nap into my schedule for a while. Secondly, I haven’t been eating properly – at all. I went grocery shopping for the first time in about three weeks yesterday, and on Saturday while I was working, I realized in 26 hours (the time from my break at my other job) I had only eaten the crumbs of the bottom of a bag of white cheddar popcorn. I thought that I could handle this, and that eating on my break at McDonald’s and then again on the bus on the way to my second job was enough, but it’s really not. A body needs proper nourishment not a bowl of cereal or a granola bar.

I’m only going into such detail because today it all added up and my body finally gave up on me. I was at hot yoga with my friend Chloe, and I should disclose that this wasn’t my first time going. There was about 15 minutes left of an hour and 15 minute class and I started feeling dizzy. This happened a couple weeks before, and I ended up exiting class just in time to puke in the change room bathroom. I attributed this to the fact that I ate cereal with Chloe before the class, where my body really isn’t used to eating so early in the morning. So today I chose to skip breakfast to avoid that happening again. I felt dizzy and I tried steadying my breathing and stopping the pose. When that didn’t help and I could feel my vision blurring I tried to get out of the room (and the heat). Next thing I knew everything was black and my head fucking hurt. I thought I had just woken up with a really bad head ache when it came back to me that I in fact had already woken up for the day, and that I also was in a yoga class haha.

If you know anything about me as a person, I hate being the centre of attention, like fully despise and avoid at all costs. So passing out and hitting my head on the floor in a room full of people is pretty much the opposite of what I would have liked to happen that morning. Unfortunately, this wasn’t my first time passing out. I tend to have a history of stress and twice before had experienced the exact same situation. I felt dizzy, my vision started blurring, I thought I was going to throw up and before I know it I’m on the floor blacked out. The first time it happened was in grade 10 or 11 and I went to the hospital because I wouldn’t stop vomiting after. They ran blood tests, checked my heart, embarrassingly asked if I was pregnant in front of my mother and that was it. Nothing was wrong they just attributed it as stress and told me to slow down.  The second time was in grade 12 and I was on the public bus on my way to school in Switzerland. Luckily this was one of the only times my exchange student actually accompanied me to school so I wasn’t alone. I was in the corner of a packed bus and I could feel the same dizzying nauseous feeling coming on, I just wanted to get off the bus because I was sure I was going to puke on some Suisse strangers and I was not ready for that A-Level type of embarrassment, but before I had the chance to try and exit the bus, I was on the ground. Strangers picked me up and it took a while for my eye sight to restore which was the worst part, so I stumbled off the bus just seeing stars.

And that brings me to today. I stood up and told people to not call an ambulance because it’s happened before (and I worked in three hours and didn’t have time for them to tell me what I already knew). I got a bunch of unsolicited advice about low blood sugar, low blood pressure, dehydration and lack of sleep. They were all probably right to some respect, but I knew that what it really was that I wasn’t taking care of my body and it had to just ‘restart’.

I know University and College and life in general can be so difficult it’s hard to do anything but complain on twitter about how much coffee you drank because of how much sleep you didn’t get, but we really need to teach students especially  and young adults how important self-care is. The year I did at University was a mess of sleepless nights and poor diet. The next year when I switched to college my course load was a lot easier, but I had school 5 days a week and I had to wake up at 6am, but I took so much better care of myself and the pay off was incredible. I’d try and get at least 7-8 hours of sleep and although my cooking was still sub-par, it was better than the caf food I was eating the year prior. I know that as a student, you have a heavy course load and an incredible amount of stress to do well. Some people also have jobs and extra-curriculars. I remember feeling guilty every time I’d just lie down and watch an episode of Netflix because I knew there was a better use of my time, but looking back there really wasn’t. I’m sure I could have done a little bit better in my classes, but I needed that time to let my body and mind relax and actually do something I enjoyed.

When I read the quote today it just hit something inside of me that told me to wake up and start taking care of myself. I applied to 14 other part-time jobs today in hopes of finally being able to quit McDonald’s once and for all, and returning to working a normal amount of hours weekly. I won’t lie, I do enjoy having two different jobs and I do enjoy the extra hours, but 12 hour days aren’t realistic in the long run, or at least for someone like myself that isn’t yet educated enough on balance and how to care for my body.

So from here out, I plan to start taking care of my body and listening to it when it tells me to slow down and pay attention. I need to stop laughing at and romanticizing how busy and stressed I am, and instead learn to control my schedule and find more time to focus on myself. Life is busy and stressful and filled with so many pressures from so many different things, but when you take a step back you just need to realize that ultimately you are the centre of your own universe and if you don’t take of yourself you will eventually not be able to do the school or work that you’re draining your body for in the first place.

Just remember to pay attention to your body and realize when you need a break. To take some time to yourself to reenergize because you don’t want to miss your opportunity to be a shining star because you were too busy being a flame.

Love always,
Kate

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