The semester’s coming to a close, and if there’s anything me and millions of other students need right now, it’s motivation. Here’s a post by a classmate of mine, anaaab98, with some tips on how to combat that end-of-year burnout. Also, check out her awesome blog, The Banana Hut.
Now that I finally feel like I am breaking out of my motivation hole, I feel like I can give some input on what I do when I am feeling burnt out and overwhelmed with my tasks. Some of these things might not be the healthiest, but they aren’t harmful.
Watch a movie. Never a show, or at least not a new show, this way I’m not tempted to binge a series when I have things that require my attention. I like to stick to either old classics that I haven’t seen or nostalgic Disney films.
Shop. While this is usually just me putting items in a shopping cart and then closing the tab, looking at pretty things, and even just imagining the ability to buy them brings me a little bit of happiness. One of my latest stress shopping resulted in the purchase of four new books that I…
I’ve been thinking a lot about isolation. As an introvert, I’d say I’m generally great at being alone. There’s almost no place I’d rather be than in my bed with a facial mask, journaling, binging, or blogging in an empty room that smells like cherry blossoms. But more than that, being alone lets me block out the world, focus on myself, and fill the space with my many, many thoughts.
I wasn’t doing great when the quarantine started, but I can’t say part of me wasn’t relieved. I spent almost every free day with a face mask, journaling, candling, and being alone. I didn’t charge my phone, partly from the stress from the news and partly because socializing no longer felt like a requirement. I held a few text conversations with my friends – “Hey, how you been?” “Oh, you know, good…”-but the ritual grew boring and eventually lost appeal. With no plans to cancel or invitations to decline, I felt increasingly comfortable with my isolation. I could just be by myself in peace, blocking out everything else.
We’re now over a year into the pandemic and I’ve mastered the art of being alone. There’s only a few pages left in my journal, I’m down to 2 face masks, and the cherry blossom candle is almost nothing but a burnt wick. The past year has been my introvert dream, so why was it starting to feel like a nightmare?
I’m no scientist, so I can’t speak on the pandemic’s psychological effects on all introverts. But what I can say is that connection, even for the most isolated of us, is a essential part of being human. This might seem like common sense for the extroverts, but if you’re a lone ranger like me, it can be a hard pill to swallow. Being alone might seem like the the happiest place on earth, and with quarantine, you might’ve felt like almost every day was a trip to Disneyland, but even riding Splash Mountain too many times can make a person sick. When I pushed my introversion to the limits, I found that my room was so full of me, I had no space to give or receive love from the people I really cared about. I thought I was content in my loneliness, but after finally spending some socially distanced time with friends, I realized what a big of a chunk of my soul I’d been missing, and how much my friends and I had robbed ourselves by only focusing on our individual little worlds.
So yes, being by ourselves can feel really good. Sometimes so good, we overload. But don’t let your isolation prevent you from seeing the beauty around you. No man is a island, so make sure to ‘vacation’ from that mind every once in a while, and pay a visit to the soul.
Forgive me for never writing to you. I’ll admit it, I don’t think about you enough, and you’ll probably scold me about that later, but it’s only because I’m really not sure what to say to you.
I have no idea who you are. I have no idea what you do or who your friends are or what you’ve accomplished. You could be reading this letter from 1,000 miles away, from down the street, from your job, or from the tiny pink room that we’re sitting in now. Either way, you’re a mystery to me, and it kind of scares me.
Right now, we’re in our young adult years and almost always confused. We still like pink, chocolate, and remember all the Disney Princess lyrics from when we were younger, but we’re a little less inexperienced, a lot less naiive, and we’ve got a few notches on the belt of life. Still, we have a hard time figuring out what we want and making decisions , and it seems like adulthood is always demanding both from us (as you already know).
People say it’s ok not to have all the answers, so I won’t ask you any questions because something tells me you won’t all of have them either. I won’t give you any deadlines or strict goals to accomplish, because who even knows if you’ll still want those things.
What I will say is that no matter where you are reading this letter from, no matter who you are, what you have or haven’t accomplished, and no matter what you’re new favorite color is, know that I’m proud of you. I’m proud of you for making it this far, and I’m proud of whatever path you choose to take, even though I don’t know what path that is. Don’t ever worry about disappointing me or not living up to what we thought we would be, because at the end of the day, you’re me, and I’ll always stand by you.
Anyways, I don’t want to hold you too long, so I’ll let you get back to whatever life you’re living. You probably have lots of advice and life lessons to tell me so write to me when you can, cause I’d really love to hear it. I can’t wait meet to you, or err- be you. See you soon.
It’s a Sabbath afternoon in 2005, and the last ‘amens’ have just rung through the sanctuary in our small church in New York.
My sister and I brace ourselves, knowing what’s about to happen.
Every Sabbath after service, the nice, older church member would hunt us down, kindly reach into his suit pocket, and hand me and my sister two hard, artificially flavored mango candies.
Oh, how we hated those candies.
The exchange was almost always wordless. Mom and Dad would nudge us for our manners, we’d mumble our ‘thank yous’, hop into the car, and reluctantly pop those sickly sweet candies into our mouths, only to feel carsick 3 minutes later.
The torture went on for years; candy, “thank you”, carsick. We’d dream of throwing those bitter rocks into the garbage, but the older man always offered them with the most sincere smile, happy to brighten the day of two ‘sweet’ little girls. So we sucked it up, literally. To this day my sister and I can’t stand the taste of artificial mango.
I was thinking about these moments earlier this week – and though the nauseating taste of fake mango started to ghost my tongue- I surprisingly found myself looking at the situation a little differently:
I realized my sister and I were probably the only little kids in church that received candy every Sabbath like clockwork. The man would bring just two treats every week and go out of his way to give them to us without saying more than two words. He could’ve eaten the whole pack, or simply decide it was too much work for an old man to flag down two little girls, but he did it anyway.
It also occurred to me that I never knew the old man’s name. Not even my parents can recall. We attended that church for a good many years and no one in the family can remember his name. I think I’ll always remember his face though: bright and clear like my Papi’s, with a genuine smile and gentle voice as he handed his last two candies to my sister and me.
There are a lot of moments in life, little ‘mango candy moments’, that seem bitter at first but get sweeter with time. Maybe it’s a heartbreak that you eventually grow from, maybe it’s losing an okay-paying gig for a better one, or maybe it’s finally learning to appreciate the hard ‘mango candies’ you’re given.
Take the time to remember, relive, and rethink your ‘mango candy moments’. Chances are you won’t like that initial negative sensation, but if you look hard enough, you just might find the sugar of perspective to sweeten even the sourest of times.
So, thank you Mango Candy Man, from the bottom of this little church girl’s heart. Even though the smell of artificial mango makes me gag (sorry), it’ll always remind me of your sweet, sweet heart.