How do I make the most of this quarter, rediscover myself, and recover from hitting rock bottom?
April 5, 2011 10:37 AM   Subscribe

How do I make the most of this quarter, rediscover myself, and recover from hitting rock bottom?

I'm in my second year at a community college on the west coast and won't be transferring until next year. I recently went to through a lot of stress in March and hit rock bottom, so I've decided to take this quarter "off" (i.e. only two classes) and work full-time.

But I want to do more than this:
-I want to rediscover myself: for the last year I've been complacent, going to school, going home, having a girlfriend (now ex), and her being my motivation for doing pretty much everything at the time. In the process of all this I lost who I was as a person, my excitement for things died down, and now I'm left without a passion.

More specific things that I want to do this include: read good books, run, strength train, start a side project (e.g. computer repair), learn Korean, and work.

I guess my big question is, how can I make sure I follow through with all these things and that this quarter isn't wasted? Also, what are some other things would suggest to a person from a stressful period in their life?
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (7 answers total) 16 users marked this as a favorite
I force myself to do healthy things. Usually I say, "Self, do you want to be happy and healthy or like that man with the eye patch on the side of the road?" It kind of works.
posted by amodelcitizen at 10:59 AM on April 5, 2011 [1 favorite]

I've always found that a schedule helps everything.

A while back I read somewhere about adhereing to a schedule for a month makes it much easier to "follow through things" for much longer. Using that thought I got onto a daily exercise and eating schedule that helped me lose close to a hundred pounds.

I would be tired or moody and not want to go to out for my walk, but it would really really really bug me to deviate from my daily routine. It was disruptive to NOT do the healthy things that i had set up in that first obnoxious month.

AND BOY was that first month hard. But totally doable. The hardest part was making every day count, no days off at all. Weekends when i didn't work i still had to get up at the same time and still had to go for a walk at the same time.

I guess this is sort of an extream example, but it really worked for me. It was incredible how much better my headspace was when i was on the schedule. Now it's been a few (fiveish?) years and i've kinda slid out of it- but i haven't given up the daily exercise or the early wakeups, and i haven't gained back the weight (give or take a few pounds). So while I can't really scream from the rooftops that this will work for everyone, it might help you out to just put together a routine that includes all of your activites that you want and really go for broke the first month to follow it.
posted by Blisterlips at 11:00 AM on April 5, 2011 [2 favorites]

how can I make sure I follow through with all these things and that this quarter isn't wasted?

Try not putting pressure on yourself about 'wasting' time, for one thing. If you need to slack off and take a break, let yourself take a break and be okay about it. The key to doing things is wanting to do them. If you don't really want to learn Korean at 1pm on a Saturday and you think getting an ice cream cone would be nice, get an ice cream cone, wholeheartedly. Enjoy it. Don't force yourself to study Korean because anything else is a waste of time. You will make yourself cranky and it will be harder to do anything. Do things you want to do instead of things you should do.

When I get in burned out moods I like to think of myself as a tired kid who needs a nap. Making a tired kid do chores or work is largely unproductive. They throw a tantrum, they slack off and do a lousy job, etc. So I let myself have a break, and often that cheers me up, and I can get back on track. Maybe some people do better with schedules - I find I get upset with myself if I don't do the schedule perfectly and it causes negativity and problems.

Sometimes these breaks need to be long, until I remember why I wanted to do that thing. I think about the task and explore the rewards for doing it (imagine yourself speaking Korean and the conversations you might have, etc.). Be patient with yourself. Be positive instead of negative. Remember that playtime is important.
posted by griselda at 11:07 AM on April 5, 2011 [3 favorites]

At its essence, managing a chronic condition (like "diabetes" or "life") involves making incremental, sustainable changes over time so that they become routine and so that overall health and productivity increase. It is about setting realistic goals. It is about doing adequate preparatory work. And it is about not giving up if/when you fall short.

So here's what you should do:

1. Take each of those action items separately. Eat each elephant separately, one bite at a time.

2. Break them down into their component parts and determine where you'd like to see yourself in three months.

3. Assess whether your goal for each one is realistic and sustainable. Fluency in Korean in three months? Not realistic. Going to the gym 6 days a week after not going at all for the last year? Not sustainable (for most people).

4. Assess what you need to actually begin each project. Plan properly, by making very clear concise incremental goals out of each longer-term goal.

5. Set a schedule for the completion of each interim step. Make sure it is realistic, make sure it is sustainable.

6. Keep going if you get behind. Don't allow yourself to be discouraged. If you find that you haven't met a goal, use it as an opportunity to re-assess where you went wrong in your planning.

7. Profit?
posted by jph at 11:26 AM on April 5, 2011 [3 favorites]

Be careful - it sounds like you're already overloading yourself. Two classes & working full time is not an easy thing (I speak from experience). Unless you're combining some of your goals (like, learning Korean - is that one of the classes you're taking?), I think you need to cut back on what you truly think you can accomplish. Start small so you can be successful, and build up from there.
posted by bibbit at 12:02 PM on April 5, 2011

Consider this to be an emergency situation. Wear sunscreen. Treat yourself as though you are susceptible to a medical condition. Be thoughtful to others and wonder why people aren't being as healthy as you. Have a sense of humor. Seek crowds. Learn a piece of music. Wear shorts. Get a haircut and show you can grow a beard. Attempt a book.
posted by parmanparman at 2:40 PM on April 5, 2011

Read "The Power of Now", it's only $6.60 on Amazon right now, even cheaper used... I'm in my mid-20's and it has completely changed the way I see things; this book will help you rediscover yourself. It's non-religious, and focuses on your "self", the self that you want to re-discover... Feel free to memail me if you'd like.
posted by MrBCID at 6:42 PM on April 5, 2011

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