15 Minutes All to Myself

I went to the doctor recently for an annual check up, and when I was there I was told some interesting things. First, was that my “annual” check up was actually the first one I had since 2011. I’m really doing well with the whole healthy lifestyle thing. This was further proven when they asked me if there were any problems that I wanted to discuss besides doing a general overview of my health and I responded by pulling out a long list of symptoms I had experienced over the course of the fall semester. When I finished reading my short novel of symptoms they told me that most of them sounded like they were caused by anxiety and stress. Wild I know. But, the doctor decided to get blood work done to make sure nothing was wrong with me physically.

The blood work was fine. So, my issues were due to my anxiety and stress. I hadn’t realized the amount of stress and anxiety that I experienced over the course of the semester, but as I looked back hindsight was twenty-twenty. I asked the doctor what she thought would be a good way to deal with stress when you have a busy schedule. She told me that one thing she always recommends is to take fifteen minutes a day just for yourself. She said I should do something that I really enjoy and that it should be done alone.

The problem for me is not just finding an extra fifteen minutes to do something, but also finding a fun activity that I really enjoy that can be done by myself. On their list of recommended activities were things like running (gross) and meditation (no thanks). I would need to find something better. Video games and watching TV are both things that I enjoy and can do by myself, but I feel like to properly cope with stress I need to do something active. I would like to work out (just not running) or play a sport, but with school and work I rarely find an open slot in my schedule. I have contemplated getting a punching bag that I could hang up in my apartment, but I am not sure how to properly anchor it into the ceiling (if there is anyone out there with advice on how to do that I would love to hear it).

A difficulty I had with the advice from the doctor is that she said I need to do the activity alone. Most of the activities I enjoy are done with other people. I am what is usually categorized as an extreme extrovert. When I take personality tests I am around 90% extroverted and 10% introverted. I’m not a huge fan of being alone, so most things I plan are with others. However, I do realize that a lot of good can come from being alone, and fifteen minutes isn’t too long to spend by myself. While this is an annoyance to me it is something that I can do.

My last thought was that I should use that fifteen minutes to read my Bible and spend time with God. This is probably more of a problem then it sounds, because this should not have been my last thought. My stress is caused because I am relying on myself too much and not spending enough time with God. The Bible says not to be anxious about anything and to present our requests to God so He can give us peace (Phil. 4:6). This is something that I clearly haven’t been doing. I think that the visit to doctor showed me that I need to reorient my focus back on the Lord more than anything else.

“If you wanted to do something absolutely honest, something true, it always turned out to be a thing that had to be done alone.”
― Richard Yates

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