I'm so glad that Musings of a Counselor asked me to guest post. Allow me to introduce myself. My name is Whitney from Everything Happens For a Reason. I am currently a graduate student and will graduate in December with a master's degree in Counseling and Human Development with a specialization in Mental Health Counseling. I also work full-time in a psychology/social services/social work/case management position.
I'm a 25 year old graduate student, who works full-time. I recently got married to a man in the National Guard. My blog consists of our life together, makeup, fashion, wishlists, tutorials, trips, day-to-day life, and basically anything that is anything that helps document my life.
Today, I am going to discuss the importance of self-care. Some of you reading this, may wonder what self-care is. A lot of us take on several roles at one time, whether it be; wife, mother, employee, student, friend, etc. It is safe to say that we could easily be pulled into several directions. Each role that we have can demand a lot of time and attention, which leaves very little time for yourself.
Take me, for example. I worked full-time, which full-time to my job is 37.5 hours a week. However, no one hardly works 37.5 hours. There were times when I worked up to 50 hours, but that was rare. On top of my job and being on call 24/7, I went and still go to school full-time. With my graduate program, I go on Friday nights from 4pm to 9pm and Saturdays from 9am to 4pm. Seven days in a week right? This leaves ONE full day off to do whatever I want. The majority of the time, I used THIS day to catch up on the work that I was lagging behind on the week prior. One of the worst times that I had was around February through April. Oh yeah, did I mention, throughout the midst of this, I was moving in with my fiance (now my hubby) and planning my dream wedding. Needless to say, I was stressed.
It seemed that no matter what I did, I was always behind. I would spend hours and hours to catch up on everything, only to find myself behind again or behind in something else. I had to please everyone else before myself. If I didn't do my work, I would be written up or fired (worse case scenario). If I didn't do my homework for graduate school, then I would receive a lower grade or a zero. Certain demands were placed on me and I had to meet those expectations.
Self-care is something that is seldom talked about, at least from my experience. We made a certain point to take about the importance of how it can be beneficial and how the lack of it can be somewhat devastating. I have had several friends who landed in the hospital for exhaustion, due to overworking and not "taking care" of themselves.
During this time, I felt like I worked nonstop. I would leave the house at 9am and would not return until 10pm. There's been countless times when I haven't eaten breakfast or lunch, simply because I did not have the time to fit in my schedule. The stress in my life was manifesting symptoms with my body. My neck and shoulders would constantly hurt and ache. I was constantly worried about getting everything completed in a timely manner and pleasing everyone. I had to fit in so many people in my schedule; work, friends, school, vendors for the wedding, and my hubby (my then fiance). This was extremely hard to do, and most days I felt like a) crying or b) quitting school and work and just stay home. I felt like I could not do it anymore. It was too much. More than I could handle. My fiance (now hubby) supported me and attempted to show me the "big picture" and that this slump will not last forever.
I basically threw out "me" time altogether, simply because there was not any. Now that part of my life is over, I am extremely grateful. It also makes me fearful of what is yet to come, and whether or not there will be instances like that again. I'm still learning, but I have found that I may be more equipped to handle what comes my way. I have found it is all about balance. I have made a rule that I try to abide by. I told myself to get all work done at work. I have told myself to finish all school work before their deadlines, except I'm still needing more work on that one. I have found that you may need to be selfish and put yourself first. Do things more you, and if you don't want to do something, then don't. Don't take on more projects than you can handle, learn to no.