Being a college student, having a job when I came home for the summer was understandably a must, and I’m sure it is for many others as well. Naturally, I panicked just a bit when I found out that the woman I had been a nanny for got a new job, and no longer needed me to watch her son over the summer. When the waitressing job I had been hoping to get fell through because they found someone who could be there all year round, I went in and interviewed at the only fast food place in town. As soon as we sat down to talk the assistant manager asked me if I could multitask, and told me to run home and grab my social security card so I could begin filling out paperwork.
It was the longest, hardest summer of my life. More than half the people who were there when I started quit by the time I left, and many came and went in between. We were short staffed the entire summer, and there were times when I was the only one on the floor, answering the drive thru headset, punching in orders, making drinks, cashing people out, and answering the questions of new employees I’m training all at once. Don’t ever let anyone convince you that working in the fast food industry is easy! My second day on register was their biggest promotional day of the year. All that kept me there was the money. You get nice paychecks when you work ten hour shifts twelve days in a row!
The anxiety I’ve been struggling with for years was never more intense than it was during this period. It felt as if my mind was incapable of calming itself. Most mornings I would get sick before work because the panic attacks were so intense, and every couple weeks I would be coming to work without sleeping at all the night before. There were days when I would get in the car after work and burst into tears.
One morning after no sleep, getting sick, and finding that I was unable to stop crying, I decided that I was going to have to call in. It took being on the verge of having a breakdown to take a step back, and realize that my mind needed a break. It was the only time I called in, but to this day I’m glad I did. I wiped my puffy red eyes, grabbed my book, and spent the day sitting on the porch swing. Words cannot even begin to describe how cathartic and healing that day was for me. I went into work the next day feeling rested for the first time in weeks.
Never, ever be afraid to practice some self-care and take a day for yourself if you need it. Practicing self-care, and being mindful of your mental and physical well-being is invaluable. Not only will your whole outlook improve, but your job performance will as well. Get up half an hour earlier, and practice breathing exercises and meditation before work if you feel that can help you! Eat well, drink lots of water, and read or watch some TV to take your mind off of things. We are not made of steel. Our bodies and minds are temples, and we cannot forget to take care of them.
Originally published at ardentlylauren.wordpress.com on March 23, 2017.
Originally published at medium.com