THE DARK SIDE OF BEING ACTIVE – Anastasiia (UKRAINE)
At the end of the fall semester, I came to my project manager for a piece of advice regarding my schedule. I couldn’t abstain from enrolling in more classes that I could actually handle. My project manager wisely hinted that I should assess my capacity because I could get easily overloaded with assignments and wouldn’t be able to proceed the same lifestyle as I had. Although I completely understood his point, my desire to go ahead was stronger than my rationality . Needless to say that I didn’t drop out from any of the classes but I also decided to set up some challenges outside the academic space. It seems to be a nice beginning for another story of success that we, ambassadors, love to share with you. However, this story seeks to share the other side of success.
We hear from all quarters how important it is to be active. Our friends around the world share their success stories with a hope to inspire us to follow the same path. As a result, our reality is shaped in a way that we feel it is an obligation to go extra. Thus, we feel it is normal and manageable to be an A-student, run different volunteer projects, work and have time for fun at the same time. However, we usually fail to assess our capabilities adequately and don’t want to confess that it is not always possible to be successful in all areas. Eventually, we try to do the best in all the areas of our life and sometimes it looks to be possible but it entails some negative outcomes that we tend not to talk about.
One of the negative outcome that we are used to ignoring is burnout. As I said, we all have limited capacities. Being active requires a lot of energy that we usually do not have time to renew. So no doubt that once I can find yourself lying in your bed, without any yearnings to get up and to do something. You will lose a taste of your life, you will not diminish your goals, you will disparage yourself. Everything will turn to grey and you will not enjoy your life anymore. You just don’t feel that life is worth it. Also, burnout is a first stage to get into depression. So, be careful.
Another possible scenario is frequent attacks of mental breakdowns. The more exhausted you are the less you enjoy your life. Being active is not always fun but rather stressful. Although you try to manage everything some negative moments are accumulated and once you find yourself bursting into tears evoked by nonsense. As a person that experienced breakdowns, I would never wish anyone to feel it. At the moment when I blue, I underestimate myself. What is more drastic, I worsen my state by convincing myself that I cannot achieve anything good anymore. Can you imagine how does it feel when you are writing your assignment with a notion that it the greatest bullshit in the world?
Worsen your physical health
Although two mentioned outcomes might be specific and individual, one more apparent outcome happens more frequently. I am talking about the physical health. Active people usually don’t sleep much and don’t eat healthy food because they simply don’t have time for that. Indeed, non-active people might be also ignorant of their bad habits; however, I assume active people tend to be more unaware of the importance to take care of themselves. Lack of sleep harms your productivity and efficacy. Bad eating habits entail harder problems with our health in the future. For instance, drinking alcohol to relax or energy drinks to increase our productivity. Frequent consumption of those drinks has some destructive outcomes for our liver and other body organs. Indeed, we might not feel it now, but once the outcome will emerge. But do we really want our body to suffer?
What is the solution?
I am not trying to stop somebody to be active. It’s not my aim. To tell you more, I am still convinced that we should be active; however, we should build our activities in balance. It is a good idea to narrow down our scope of activities and focus on the most essential things for you. Do not overload yourself with the activities that will, eventually, bring insignificant benefit. Take care of your mental and physical health. Try to be more down-to-earth when it comes to taking an extra activity. Take your time to thoroughly assess your health capacities. You should always keep in mind that your activities should not affect your health. Draw the line between activities and a personal life. Try to devote time to yourself. Do some lazy days if it’s necessary.
To finish up, being active doesn’t mean to succeed everywhere. It means to have a certain goal in your life that you are moving towards to, step by step, without needed haste. Our environment is very competitive and, indeed, requires us to be unbeaten in different areas. However, we shouldn’t forget to care about ourselves while participating in this crazy race called “being active”.