It’s Okay Not To Be Okay

Picture of By Ayesha Parwani

By Ayesha Parwani

As the world gets back on its feet, coronavirus restrictions are ceasing and alternatively disappearing. We often find ourselves back to square one, surrounded by endless work demands, university commitments, social engagements, and trying to patch up lost relationships.

“We tend to feel numb, lost, and sometimes even empty…”

As an International student, juggling part-time to make a living, trying to be a social butterfly (because of my fear of missing out) comes with its challenges. You don’t have time for yourself. In fact, all the time you have is for everyone but yourself

Ironic, right? What happened to the classic “Live your life” saying? Down the drain I guess… 

I found myself trapped in this never-ending game of working day and night, feeling this compulsive urge to go out for every event. I became a workaholic, who could never say no to a task, favor, or opportunity.

This is how I ended up with two part-time jobs, two society committee positions all while working on my double degree. Not to mention my weekly counseling sessions. Now, these were interesting – it was supposed to be a stress buster, but I found myself rehearsing lines to tell my counselor that I’m okay and that there is nothing to worry about when in reality I’m sure there is A LOT to worry about!

“I’m always tired, or in a bad mood”

This was a line I’ve heard countless times from my peers. It does sound simple, and completely mundane. But if you pay close attention to it, if we are always in a bad mood, tired, and affected by the variables around us, we could possibly be reaching a burning-out point.

It’s called the “Burnout Phase”. Creeping in subtly, it makes its presence known by inducing chronic fatigue, insomnia, and irritability. 

Does it sound familiar? If so, maybe you need a break! 

When was the last time you did something you liked for yourself? Grabbed a coffee, went on a hike or had a self-care me day?

It’s questions like these, which make me wonder who are we living for? We find ourselves obsessing over our degrees, jumping on every internship opportunity only to work a 9-5 and earn a stable income at best.

“Work hard now and you will succeed in life, later

Ahh, the classic tale and moral of every story. Makes me wonder: Why are we working so hard now to achieve success later?

I say, achieve success now! Your little own variation of success. Maybe it’s not the end goal, but it should be your reward for all your countless efforts. Make a weekly reward list: treat yourself to a fancy dinner, go out with your family or some friends and have a game night! It’s these simple things in life that make our hard work (misery even) rewarding.

And luckily, studies suggest the same. For example, research from Harvard, shows that by embracing your community, you are likely to live longer and be happier.

So let’s bring out our social selves and partake in community activities. Look up if some local charity store requires more volunteers or simply head down to town and spread some joy!

A key researcher in the study says: “Taking care of your body is important, but tending to your relationships is a form of self-care too.”

“It’s okay not to be okay”

You don’t have to be smiling all the time, and hiding your fears. We are human at the end of the day, with many flaws but equally many strengths. There will be days when you’re going to feel like crap. Negative thoughts may flood your mind, inevitably making you doubt your own potential and rethink your dreams. 

But, when life gives you lemons – make lemonade! Accept your flaws, and realize that life is a journey and not a race. Your only competition is yourself, not others. 

People may succeed earlier than you, perhaps land their dream job first, or fulfil their bucket list first. But that doesn’t mean you are anything less. Your chance will come, and trust me it will be worth it. It will make your turn more meaningful, and as you look back you will realize those tough times were a catalyst that made you stronger and pushed you above and beyond. 

So remember, whatever life throws at you, big or small, we are conditioned to brace ourselves and fight. No matter how challenging or overwhelming the task may be.

And that’s it from me. You’re probably exhausted from my level of optimism in each and every paragraph of this article. My apologetic self would like to say sorry, but I really do hope every one of us realizes that perfection is never attainable; it’s merely socially constructed. Take a break once in a while, trust me it won’t cause you any harm.

Look outside the window, absorb the beauty nature has to offer and live your life to the fullest!


Cover: Madison Inouye

Edited by: Gaukhar Orkashbayeva

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