Early morning is my favorite time of day. I like to get up early, sip my coffee, enjoy my breakfast, watch the news, and make a list for the day ahead. However, that doesn't always happen. I often find myself fretting over the day ahead, rather than embracing it.
During those early hours, I have a few choices:
1. Get excited about all that is going to happen during the day and take everything on with enthusiasm.
2. Take things one situation at a time. Focus on the first thing on my checklist, then the second, then the third....
3. Plan something rewarding and relaxing for the end of the day to look forward to.
4. Focus on getting through the morning, take a break at lunch, and then finish up the day strong.
5. Get incredibly anxious about everything I need to accomplish during the day and let it completely ruin my morning.
Unfortunately, option number 5 is my go-to choice in the early hours of the day. Why do I do this? Why do I look at my list of things to-do and get so incredibly stressed out that I dread the day ahead? Is that what it means to have an anxious personality?
I recently asked someone close to me if he ever feels this way while first walking into work and seeing an impossible list of things to accomplish. Of course, he said no and I began to wonder what was wrong with me. More often than not, I feel like packing my schedule to the max is the only way to be successful in the adult world.
So where does that leave those of us who get overwhelmed with a simple eight hour day?
I'm a college student. I know long hours are needed to be successful. But, I don't understand how people take a full load of classes, work long hours, and have a social life on top of it all. Is it so wrong that I can't handle all of that? I know life is about balance, but how do these people do it?
Is this a learned skill?
Something I need to get used to?
Did recovery somehow keep me from this important step in my early twenties?
The only real job I ever had (after my first degree) required long, hard hours in the summer and it led me to an anxiety attack. Maybe my fear of failure is keeping me from overcoming these 8am anxieties.
Looking ahead, this semester is going to busy, but I have handled busy before. I might not be doing all of the extra curriculars and working long hours on top of school, but maybe that's okay. Maybe focusing on my school work and internship is all I need to do; regardless of what everyone else is taking on. 8am anxiety is real. It's debilitating and frustrating, but it's real.
This school year, I would like to work hard and find a way to switch my focus from number 5 to number 2 above. It's time to focus on one class, one assignment, one intern shift, or one social activity at a time... Not to mention focusing on maintaining my weight and eating well.
I do love my morning time, but that damn to-do list stresses me out. A huge part of living a healthy life in recovery (and in general) is finding balance. Balance has become my goal.
P.S. - Send me your balance tips! I need all the help I can get.