Monday, November 28, 2016

When You're Forced to Slow Down

Dear God,

Message received, loud and clear. I needed to slow down and take care of myself. I can still (unintentionally) get back on the "must work, work, work" train of thought that lets important things -- like getting proper hydration during the day -- slip to the side. Thank you for derailing my plans.


I spent most of last week sleeping and/or unable to leave the house. On Tuesday, which was St. Cecilia's feast day, I had planned on reposting my confirmation story and expand on how St. Cecilia has been an ever-present influence on my life without me realizing it until recently. (side note: I'll eventually post that story but I won't have the time to do it today.) I was also going to write about Advent beginning and a slew of other ideas I had. Then I woke up on Tuesday not feeling that great. I think I slept about 20-22 hours in total on Tuesday and Wednesday. I had to turn in a homework assignment late because I was just completely out of it on Tuesday, falling asleep when I wasn't dealing with feeling like crumbs. I was forced to slow down and rest. Then, when I started feeling better, I decided to take the long Thanksgiving Break off and do some serious self-care by letting my body get the rest it needed as well as eating and drinking as I should. Okay, I also watched the Gilmore Girls revival episodes (not a fan) and let my mind rest after pushing it to my limits over the last couple of weeks.

Could I have finished the last of my homework assignments during the long weekend? Sure. Though I didn't start feeling like myself again until yesterday (and it was still a sort of off day), I could've totally made myself do some of the work. Instead, I chose not to. Why? Because I wasn't sleeping quality sleep. Sure, I got 6-8 hours of sleep but they were usually broken up into naps of 3-4 hours per nap. I wasn't drinking enough water. I was eating well enough but I needed the other two components. I chose to give myself a break because I know that finals are coming up and I'll be completely useless for the exams if I burn myself out before they begin late next week.

I've made a lot of progress from a year ago. Last year I pushed myself too hard, especially after my car accident. I wanted to prove that I could do it all despite the obstacles. That's just how I've always been, especially when it comes to academia. I wanted to finish my first quarter of graduate school on a high note despite missing half the quarter due to the accident. I put homework and exam deadlines ahead of sleep, food, and (I'm ashamed to admit) even attending Mass one weekend. My priorities were messed up. I put importance on things that would, ultimately, not matter in the long run and was neglecting things that were more important. This semester was the first in which prayer, Mass, and health have gotten priority over deadlines. It's worked out well for me but it was so easy to slip back into my bad habits in the week leading up to my last exam, two weeks ago. After the exam, I was on that academic high (despite the bombed exam) and it was hard not to keep going. I didn't even notice it, to be honest. I just thought "Oh, cool. Second wind!!" Nope. I was going to eventually crash -- and probably before I took my last final -- and it took this to slow me down and rest. Again, thank you, God, for forcing me to slow down.

I love how this also coincided with the beginning of Advent. Though it's my favorite time of year (massive fan of Advent and Christmastime over here), I didn't really prepare this year. I bought a new Advent candle holder (Nativity scene center) to replace the wreath we had that fell apart. I pulled out my book of Advent and Christmas meditations using wisdom nuggets from Ven. Fulton Sheen. I came up with a list of New (Liturgical) Year Resolutions. (Side note: I already failed out of the gate because I was too lightheaded to drive to Mass by myself last night. I really need someone to find someone willing to come pick me up for Mass when I can't drive but am, at least, well enough to sit and be present at Mass.) That's about it. I've changed to Office 2 in The Little Office of the Blessed Virgin Mary. I'm continuing the 54-day Rosary novena. I'm keeping my prayer schedule. One thing that I will be doing, that is a last minute addition, is adding more silence into my day.

I've never been a big fan of silence. The day my father died, I took solace in music. When I'm home alone, something is almost always playing in the background. I can't drive in the car without music. I can (and have) done long periods of silence but it's usually during Lent. I'm not sure if I don't want to be alone with my thoughts, if it's just something that I learned from my parents, or if it's something I've yet not figured out but I've never been comfortable with not having some type of noise, even if it's white noise. This season, I'm going to add to silence to my routine as part of my ongoing quest to let go and let God lead the way. I have a feeling it may be exactly what I need amidst the crazy that is coming up in the next 2-3 weeks. The silence will also help slow down my ever-racing brain ("gotta memorize these terms... gotta do this assignment...") and help me focus on what Advent is all about.

Anyway, just wanted to write so... hey, new blog post. ;) Now I'm going to do a couple more self-care things (get a bit more water in me and have dinner) and then get started on some of my last observation hours since hours 20-22 (out of 25; almost done!) are due tomorrow. They'll get done when they get done but I have time to do them tonight so why not? It'll be better than binge-watching more Netflix shows and movies (which I did enough of this weekend). Moderation, my dears. :)

I hope y'all had a great weekend and a lovely start of the Advent season. :D

As always, thanks for reading and God bless! :D

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