I could feel my chest start to cave in, suffocating my lungs and threatening to crush me from the outside in. I felt as if 10,000 pound boulders were on my shoulders, just waiting for one little misstep to cause all my pride to crumble into nothing. In short, I felt the stress of demanding, elite university life, and I was at risk of having a complete and utter breakdown.
After my last class of the week, I forced myself to put on comfy clothes, hop in bed, and watch Netflix. Not just a little 20 minute Friends episode– a 45 minute Grey’s Anatomy one. I was not allowed to pause it to check my email, make a mental checklist of everything I had to do that weekend, or worry about grad school. I committed to 45 minutes of pure relaxation and unproductiveness, and it was amazing.
Sometimes, we need to turn off our strange belief that in order to be a functioning member of society, we must do 20 different things, all at once, perfectly. I still catch myself putting unnecessary pressure on my academics and other engagements, and I repeatedly have to put on the breaks and breathe. I remind myself that relaxation and some amount of laziness is a good thing. And now, I’m reminding you.
If you start to feel the weight of stress– whether from recovery, your treatment plan, school, work, sports, etc– stop what you’re doing, hop in bed, and watch a show. It is your primary duty to take care of yourself, because if you are not taken care of, you can’t do everything else in your life at full potential. So when you’re stressed, remember these three words: “Netflix and chill”.