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Tuesday, November 30, 2021

We don’t have to be busy in order to be accomplished

Our self-worth isn’t determined by how much we get done in a day

Laying in bed, scrolling through TikTok like most people my age, I always come across these “morning routine” videos of girls starting their days with an ab workout at 5 a.m. On most mornings they have completed a workout and run before I even wake up––making me feel unaccomplished the minute I step out of bed. 

There’s a constant pressure for college students, especially on social media, to always keep going––even during a pandemic. No matter how many classes I attend or assignments I complete, I never feel like I’ve done enough for the day, even if my overloaded brain says otherwise. We don’t allow ourselves to think completing our homework or going to class is an accomplishment. Instead, we continue to pile more onto our plates in order to keep up with everyone else. 

There is this false sense that everyone is doing more than us––even though most people are updating their social media from a couch. But what works for someone else, doesn’t always work for you. I like to tell myself I’ll get up at 5 a.m. to do a workout, but that never happens––going for a walk in the afternoon is more my style. This doesn’t mean my day is any less fulfilling. Our success shouldn’t be measured by the number of things we do in a day nor society’s standards of productivity. 

We are in the middle of a pandemic and living in unprecedented times––restricted from having any social contact and unable to do many of our favorite things. Getting out of bed every morning is an accomplishment in itself. It’s impossible to be productive all the time, no matter how hard we try. 

Resting is essential to our well-being. We shouldn’t feel ashamed for wanting to lay in bed all day and binge-watch television. The pandemic, however, has made it next to impossible to give ourselves time to relax when we’ve already spent the day attending class from our beds and couches. 

In our culture, we pride ourselves on always being busy and having every second of our day planned. The minute we wake up, we start working and keep going until it’s time to go to sleep. Even when we try to relax, our cellphones make it difficult to disconnect from emails and pending assignments. 

We need to place boundaries on our time and availability. More specifically, there needs to be a time when we stop working, put away our computers and phones and just rest, without guilt. We need to start finding accomplishments outside of a to-do list.

Life shouldn’t be rushed or constantly on-the-go. It’s important to be motivated and organized, but it’s unhealthy if those qualities make us plow through our day without time to rest. Ultimately, we should focus on filling our time with things we want to do and not worry about what everyone else is doing. If you are someone who likes to get up early to workout, then kudos to you. But if you’re someone who likes to sleep in and eat breakfast as soon as you wake up, that’s just as acceptable. Our accomplishments are determined by the quality of our time, not by how early we wake up or the number of tasks we check off a to-do list.

Written By: Kacey Cain –– klcain@ucdavis.edu 

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed by individual columnists belong to the columnists alone and do not necessarily indicate the views and opinions held by The California Aggie

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