The following tips will be focused on retrospection: returning to the roots of our own identities and attempting to understand how our inner voices respond to situations and encounters. It is highly important to be aware of our capacities and our limits because it is the only way that we can truly master the art of self-control to build self-care.
10. Study hard, but take care of your mental health
Speaking from personal experience, one of the most satisfying feelings is completing your assignments in the best possible manner, on time or even earlier. I cannot deny that I am one for finishing everything beforehand. I work thoroughly on every task I am given because I am passionate about each topic I have to tackle. When an assignment is announced a month before the due date, my mind pushes me to start preparing for it. Even if I don’t officially start working, my ideas start coming to ensure I analyze the problem thoroughly. It is indeed easier said than done, but just as I am trying to take care of myself, I think that you, reader, should think about yourself more often. Studying becomes more than a class, more than course material. It becomes a personal perspective you build, based on the elements you have learned and the thrill of learning even more. At some point, you think that the drive and the passion you embody could not grow any larger, but every time you encounter a new academic crossroad, you feel the challenge to nourish your passion.
However, passion is not everything. When taken too far, it can be silenced by the struggles of insomnia, the heat of anxiety, the nastiness of burn-outs and all the different results of overworking yourself. Passion could be the sole reason behind your success and the primary trigger of your destruction. Therefore, learn to assess your balance before chasing your passions and evaluate the limits of your sanity before accomplishing a goal, acknowledging that you are human and you need some space to breathe before incorporating a suffocating work ethic.
Even if you are in the middle of a complicated problem set, listen to your body. If your mind needs to refuel, then leave your room and lose your thoughts in nature for a couple of minutes. Your body is helping you by being responsive when you need it to be and productive when it should be, so you should reward this precious treasure you own instead of treating it like an automated machine. Apply for that fellowship, ace your midterm, excel in your research, finish your problem set in style; but in between, do not forget to look within and listen to your personal inner voices that have taken you this far.
11. Trust the process
How could you trust something you cannot see or something that can’t be proven? You just learn not to think about trust as materially connected to evident truths or tangible evidence. Trust is blind — blind in terms of being the purest exchange between parties.
I won’t ask you to trust me, but I would ask you one thing: trust in the process, in the dynamics of events, whether they are horrendous or exceptional.
Trust in the mutation of seasons and simultaneously in the mood swings. Trust in the failures that make you cry and give up and in the successes that make you cry of happiness. Trust in the quarantine process, although it is indeed extremely hard and everyone is a unique protagonist in the quarantine series, for no one uses the same coping mechanisms to face isolation. Nevertheless, do not suffocate, do not drown yourself in the endless questions of “what if.” Instead, try to embrace the uncertainty.
Trust that the things you put on hold due to a global pandemic are not running away and that they will resume when the moment is right. Trust the people that support you. Trust yourself.
Where should you start? Start at the beginning and follow the light. Trust that you might not reach the places you thought you would. It is okay because at least you trusted the journey.
12. Be grateful for what you already have
Sometimes (most of the time), we are too disturbed with the outside chaos of professional tasks and distracted by the ignition of social drama that we forget components that “wholify” our life. Sometimes, we forget that without self-care, we would be unable to run faster. Without a good mental state, we would be unable to score better on exams and assignments. Without good self-esteem, we would be unable to view ourselves as beautiful and imperfect. Without self-confidence, we would be unable to detach our minds from the labels “FAT,” “SKINNY,” “CURVY” and “FLAT.” Without a support system, we would not be able to push through the toughest and darkest times. Without our own self, we would be lost. So, we should really take a moment or two to contemplate what we have been blessed with in order to appreciate what is to come and embrace it in a graceful manner.
After the Beirut Blast, everything died: the memories, the streets, the homes, the hearts, the glass, everything. People were lost, but their memory did not die. Buildings, rooms, houses, restaurants, cafes were destroyed, but their memory did not die. As much as was gone, survival made the idea of living bearable. When are we going to realize that we have so much to be grateful for and so little time to enjoy it?