I have exams next week, I need to get some work experience this summer, I need to apply to unis, and before I know it, I’m graduating. Living life by looking for the next event or upcoming event will never satisfy you. Thinking that you can relax after completing the next big event—‘I need to hustle through my exams so I can relax’ — leads to burnout because you know you will have other things to worry about after your exams. It’s essentially self sabotage. Not letting yourself enjoy the present, and not setting out time for yourself to enjoy the present can lead to immense stress and a buildup of tension and emotions

There will always be that next thing to worry about. It can wait. In the meantime it is crucial to cut out time to let yourself live in the moment and relax by detaching yourself from your tasks and indulging in your thoughts and emotions. Activities such as yoga, meditation, journaling, and exercising can help with grounding you, helping you destress and gather your thoughts. Trust me, pushing off your emotions and thoughts by overwhelming yourself and overstimulating your brain with information is not healthy and inevitably leads to a breakdown. 

The first step to becoming more present is to realise that the only moment that truly exists is the present; thinking about what’s coming, worrying and overthinking will not lead to any change but rather leads to a build-up of anxiety. These events and tasks can seem intimidating and monstrous, but try to put things into perspective by understanding that nothing determines your value as a person other than who you are and how you treat others. Self growth and improvement can be put off by stressing about events. 

Next, laying out a systematic plan of action can be helpful to break down the task into smaller, more manageable and approachable pieces that aren’t nearly as intimidating. Tackling smaller tasks can be motivating, and also helps you manage your time better, creating more space for other tasks and activities as well.

However, I realise that things like applying to university or your final exams will inevitably be stressful and can be hard not to worry about. Tackling such events needs a lot of confidence and self assurance that you are successful no matter what happens. The pressure on you from parents, friends or school may make this difficult, so detaching yourself from such conversations that trigger thoughts of self doubt or stress is imperative to maintaining a healthy mindset. 

No matter how important a task seems, it is important to put your health first. Overworking and repressing thoughts will affect your performance and your relationships with others. If everything is still too much, reaching out for help is always an option whether that is talking to a trusted friend or family member, reaching out to a counselor or referring to the directory on the Coolminds website to access mental health services available in Hong Kong. 


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