Is stress making me lousy?

If you were to ask me if I felt stressed… I would probably say no. I don’t feel panicked or on the verge of tears or like I couldn’t fit a single more thing in my life. In reality, I am probably less busy than I have been in other semesters. I am only working one job and I actually have a day in the week off. Sure, my classes are pretty hard and demanding, but overall this isn’t my hardest semester yet. I think a part of me actual fears stress so much that I don’t take on too many extra activities or responsibilities. I fear that exhausted, can’t do one more thing, don’t-talk-to-me kind of feelings that stress has brought me in the past.

Yet, I feel blah. I feel anxious. I feel like I’ve been in the same spot for too long. It is not high level stress, but it is a low level chronic stress that has been festering. I am guessing it’s common for anyone inching towards their 19th year in school. I started going to school at the young age of 4 (if you count kindergarten) and I’m 23 now. I’ve been in school almost 19 years and I think I’m officially burned out. I’ve felt burned out before, but this is a new kind of burn out. A burn out that actually makes me forget about assignments and not care as much about studying. It’s a feeling of discontent and I’ve noticed it affecting other areas in my life as well. It’s making me lousy. Little things that people do, either trying to be funny or just complete unaware of what they are doing, gets under my skin and actually makes me angry. I have noticed that I haven’t been looking people in the eye lately. When I pass by someone on the street sometimes I won’t smile, but instead intentionally look elsewhere. I’ll look down at papers so that I won’t have to talk to the person sitting beside me. This may sound like normal behavior to some people, but for me it is a much lousier version of myself. I am not usually one to avoid eye contact… I love the exchanges smiles with a stranger. I could talk to a house plant.

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I guess you could say I feel stuck. I’m certainly not unhappy- I love what I am learning in school, I’ve made some amazing friends through school, my husband rocks, I get to enjoy hobbies like cooking and blogging and exercising, and overall I have a beautiful life. I am not ungrateful by any means, but incredibly grateful I’ve been able to make it through 19 years of school. Yet, right now I’m at a point where I feel like I am taking so much from the world but not giving much back. I have to dedicate time to school work because it’s my responsibility right now. I have to focus on doing well, because my journey isn’t over yet.

I graduate in May and I feel like I am at the end of marathon. I’m at mile 22 and I am exhausted and the measly 3 miles I have left feel so far away. [Note: the only time I would consider three miles to be measly is in this illustration].

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Goodness I sound whiny… What it all comes down to, I believe, is that I am so ready to be in a career helping people. I see the career I want, the kind of love, knowledge, and support I want to give to others. I am no longer satisfied by simply making good grades. I should have known as a freshman that a perfect GPA would only go so far as to making me feel fulfilled. Right now my life feels very self-serving and that bothers me. Even though I won’t technically be out of school next year, I will be out in the field working as an intern and I am seriously so excited. I know it will be hard work, and I am okay with hard work, I am just ready to be outside of the classroom.

So since I can’t just skip ahead to May, I’m going to have to be intentional about not being lousy. I need to breathe deeper and exhale completely. I need to love people better. While this phase may be temporary, it does me no good to rush this time of my life. I need to recognize that everyday and every hour is valuable. Even when I am not feeling it. Time to revisit my old “fake til you make it post”. I need to find all the little ways I can live out my call to serve others and be patient for the time in my life where I can devote myself to just that.

Thanks, Amanda for hosting Thinking Out Loud Thursday.

You tell me-

Have you ever felt stuck? Like you were playing the waiting game?

 

 

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30 thoughts on “Is stress making me lousy?

  1. I feel the same with my education too! Can`t wait for graduation. It seems like I am on the start line of something big (read: real life), but can`t cross the line yet!

  2. I was feeling this way towards the end of grad school. Why wouldn’t you feel burned out? You’ve been working non-stop in the same setting for so long, maybe you just need a change? Like you said, you’re excited for your internship, which will be a change!

  3. I’ve been there- the impatient feeling of not wanting to read about the things you’re studying, but to actually DO THEM.
    I’m sorry that you feel lousy. Anyone who has ever met you knows that you’re not lousy, you are wonderful. I know this feeling is temporary (the trudge to the end, if you will). Sending lots of love your way!❤️

  4. YES, I have felt like that. My favorite verses is the one in Philippians 4. ‘Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; 7 and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.’ Praying that you would be comforted in God’s incredible everlasting love on you through this busy time Kate… ❤ you. He is a WONDERFUL Father. Praying for you sister.

  5. Gonna be honest, when I feel stuck, I sign up for a race, try a new restaurant or develop my blog a bit. Small things bring me out of the dull parts of life 🙂

  6. I have been there girl! I think what you are feeling is completely normal and valid. School can burn you out and just make you exhausted. I get worried about becoming too stressed too if I take on a lot of things. But just remember, don’t be so hard on yourself too. It’s okay to feel stuck and a bit lost right now, you aren’t going to feel like this forever. And pretty soon, you’ll be done with school. You are almost there!! Sending my love ❤

  7. Ooof, girl I feel you. Alex is constantly telling me that I’m stressed and I insist I’m not – but then I think through my day and what happening around me and realize that, yes, I’m probably a little stressed and being super cranky about it. (Though, people telling you that you’re stressed and to chill out never helps!) I hope you take some time to yourself to recuperate and get to a less stressed state!

  8. Definitely been there before. And I know it’s hard to see, but there IS a light at the end of the tunnel. Whenever I’m going through a hard/frustrating time, I always try to remind myself that it’s just a phase that I need to get through and that life won’t always be that way. The hope makes things easier 🙂

  9. Oh yes. Absolutely. First of all, it can be so hard to feel that you are not showing the true side of yourself – to feel that you are actually turning away from people and showing something darker than you typically are. I haven’t even met you and I know this side you are explaining (not looking people in the eye etc) is not really you – it is only a manifestation of feeling cruddy inside. And I know that people who know you would know this as well. I see this happen in myself a lot when I am not doing well mentally and I really hate it.
    I decided to return to a training conservatory last year at age 25, and to say I am burnt out from being in ANY sort of educational foundation is an understatement. Some days I want to quit because I can’t stand someone else giving me a schedule, or not having time to really start living my career. It can be so hard when all you want to do is finally be out there in real life doing what you love, yet, I have to continually remind myself that this is part of that journey… this is what is going to get me to that place… and its just kind of “one of those things” you have to push through. Soon it will be over and you will look back and marvel at how fast it went. You are so close! And then the world is at your lovely fingertips.

    1. Yes it just feels so wrong to be not myself. I hate the way it effects me!!
      But I am hanging on b/c I do see the light and I hate wishing time away. Even though I hate you are feeling the same, it’s nice to know I am not alone.

  10. I changed majors in college and definetely know what you mean. I always believe February is just a mentally rough month. Once you can get past it, Spring opens up. For me, I just feel better when it’s warmer and I’m able to enjoy it. Hopefully you are able to feel less stressed in the next couple of months.

  11. Hey I totally get you!! I’ve seen SUCH a decline in my motivation to study and do well, where I was once a straight A student, I now no longer feel that need to excel so much. I think it’s normal and even healthy, don’t beat yourself up about it 🙂

  12. You got this girl! Like you said, it’s the home stretch. Go easy on yourself and remember how far you’ve come.

  13. I SO relate to this! While I’ve been out of school for years (& stopped at undergrad) I’ve felt this way about my job and LIFE in general. Burnt out by my routine, wishing I had the financial security to just uproot and make changes in order to find my passion, and, while my son is EVERYTHING to means I wouldn’t trade being his mommy for anything, feeling trapped by motherhood’s loss of time/freedom. Some days it’s hard, but others it’s not!

    I guess my advice is to keep your eyes on the prize and find gratitude in the little things. You’re getting so close to that dream career! 🙂

    1. It is an up and down kind of thing. Right now I could never see myself going back, even though I love to learn! It’s all this performance crap that wears me out. :O
      Thanks for your sweet words.

  14. This is brilliant. I so agree, learning to cope with a certain level of stress has become the norm for me, and often it’s just there, but sometimes I’ll step back a bit and notice how I’ve been operating like that unconsciously. And the familiar feeling of being burned out and somewhat apathetic about things that used to really matter or motivate me. It makes me realise more and more how important relationship with God is. No one but Jesus can pull me out sometimes!
    “Those who wait on the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they walk and not be faint” (Isaiah 40:31).
    Thank you for helping me to feel like I’m not alone feeling lousy! And I pray you’ll be able to not just push through, but soar joyfully.
    xx

    1. You know, I remind my husband of that verse all the time, but I am so glad you reminded me of it today. It is much easier to tell someone else to lean on God than to remind myself.
      I want to “soar joyfully” and I believe I can. Thank you!

  15. Yes. I’m perpetually stressed and I don’t always recognize it – which is weird, because I’m pretty good at “knowing myself”. Anyway, for me, it manifests in the form of zoning out and feeling exhausted/unmotivated all day, a total breakdown late at night, or mindlessly eating wayyy more sweet stuff than I need (uh, last night?) 😛 I try to find time to do things I love and de-stress, but sometimes… I just skip over that in favor of working more and consequently stressing myself out more. I guess the only thing you can do is take care of yourself, remind yourself that you do love what you’re doing/learning, and look forward to what’s ahead. ❤️

  16. Congrats on your upcoming graduation and internship! I’m in my first year in a master’s program, and I absolutely love what I’m studying; and yet, at the same time, I hate the fact that there are always 20 deadlines over my head. I know I’ll get them done, but nonetheless, I’m constantly feeling guilty whenever I take a break. (The ironic thing is, even when I took a year off, I really missed school.) It sounds like you really love your program, though–that’s so important. I don’t know how people do grad school in fields they’re not that interested in. : P Keep on keepin’ on!

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