It's finals week and you're approaching day three of eating fast food and not showering, as you write a 30-page paper, prepare for a crucial oral presentation, and cram for two cumulative exams. Each of these four responsibilities is for a different class, and to say you are overwhelmed is an understatement. With your mind racing, your body fatigued and your stamina wearing thin, you just want the week to be over so you can breathe again.
The good news is this is the last round of student life; after this, you'll be graduating and beginning a new job as a marketing assistant. You can hardly wait to step into the 'real world' and close the door on student life forever.
As the college years draw to an end, the burnout you feel is understandable. A break from structured learning is refreshing as you maneuver through your new roles. You continue to learn, but changes occur in the form this learning takes. Direct contact and hands-on experience replace theory and hypothetical scenarios.
And this new period can be very stimulating and exciting. Yet with most careers, this phase of learning is just that - a phase. Once a person is in the flow of their professional life, their attainment of new knowledge has a tendency to slow down.
This is very bad for the mind, which constantly needs to be fed new information so it can function to its highest potential. It needs stimulation for inspiration and growth. A mind that repetitively processes the same knowledge is essentially feeding on itself, and inevitably loses its potential. It becomes robotic and sedentary rather than innovative and expanding.
At home after a long day, people just want to unwind. However, in our society, 'unwinding' almost always means flipping on the television to watch shows about nothing, reading non-enlightening paperbacks, or absentmindedly scanning through social media posts. But these activities actually deplete the energy of our spirit instead of nourishing it.
The human mind and spirit thrive on learning about other people, countries, tastes and ways of living. Any information that can give us a new perspective on life will enhance the mind and spirit on a conscious and even subconscious level.
This type of learning connects the human experience. It makes us feel less isolated. It can even align us to a more purposeful existence. When you learn about life in a way you had not thought of before, your heart and mind expand, your compassion deepens, and your understanding is elevated.
In a time when everyone is so busy running around, it's counterproductive to turn to the media, or social media, to feed your spirit 'remedial' information that does not make an impact on your well-being. This is the mental equivalent of training for a marathon but feeding your body fried chicken and donuts all day.
An attempt to obtain nourishment is being made, but it is futile, because there is little or no nutritional value in our chosen ingredients. The mind functions in the same way that the body does: The healthier the information you feed it, the more it will reward you with stamina and clarity.
We all work hard on our careers and family lives, so it's understandable to not have much energy left for ourselves. But if we don't take care of ourselves, the quality of energy we bring to our responsibilities will be low. Instead of turning on the television and watching the evening news or a sitcom, watch a motivational talk on the web. Instead of flipping through the pages of a celebrity magazine, read one about yoga, cooking or travel. Instead of scanning through social media and observing random details of your friends' lives through static posts, pick up the phone and actually hear their voices.
The information we feed our minds is ultimately felt in our hearts. By making conscious choices to feed the mind high-quality information, we are also nourishing our hearts. And when the heart is fulfilled, it will show through our smiles, our conversations, and quality of our human connections. Everything is a choice in life, and ultimately, the most important choices are the ones we make about taking care of our own well-being.
Facebook: Michelle Zarrin