A 30 Minute Phone Call Became 6 Hours
July 17, 2020
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Due to my super tight schedule of balancing five classes, a job, research, and sleep (because sleep is my best friend and I am adamant about making time for it!), I do not call my friends as often as I would like. In the past, spontaneous phone calls were an easy and quick way to check in. Now? I pretty much rely on everything being planned on a To-Do list. Once upon a time, spontaneity was fun and refreshing. But now it throws me off schedule and leads to feelings of chaos. None of that, please!
My close friend from college and I have a semi-regular schedule for when we talk. We try to check in every two weeks around the same time (8:30 CST for me, 9:30 EST for her). However, I had to stay up late to finish an assignment on one of our scheduled nights and asked my friend if we could chat another time. Then the next week rolled by in what felt like a flash. The following week, I had one day in my schedule that was pretty open. I thought “Great, I can call my friend!” Too bad that when I reached out, she said that that day did not work for her. Another week went by. I was out of our routine and sort of stopped looking for time to chat. Finally, after 5 weeks, we both had an empty slot on the same day. I actually wrote her name in my planner with a “30m” next to it, which meant that I allotted thirty minutes to the call. I intended to complete several tasks once off the phone. I always looked forward to our biweekly check-ins but because I had not done it in a while, I was still in the mode of work work work. I viewed the call as an assignment that needed to get done efficiently.
When I answered the phone, I was greeted with “Hey, MONI!” It was one of those greetings where you could hear the smile on someone’s face. Her voice was lifted, warm, and welcoming. It was like a hug through the screen. Her positive energy transferred to me and I instantly felt at ease. The built-up stress had calmed down. The constant thoughts about the tasks I needed to complete had gone quiet. We talked about TV shows, future vacations that we want to take together, our families, what we ate, old college memories, relationships, jokes we heard throughout the weeks, and even outrageous what-would-you-do scenarios. Less than five minutes were spent talking about work or school. That was where all of our time went throughout the week. This was our time to focus on something else. Thirty minutes came and went. Then it was two hours. By the time we chose to end the call, it was 2AM and nearly six hours had passed! You know how the saying goes—“time flies when you’re having fun!” That could not have been more true. Even after all of those hours, I did not want the call to end. If my body had not needed sleep (my other best friend), we probably could have spent an additional six hours together. I woke up the next morning feeling restored.
I am someone that loves solitude. My time alone is very special to me. I am also naturally more introverted. All that is to say that I am very comfortable with being by myself. But pair that with a heavy workload and I can close myself off for too long. So long that I forget the beauty of friendship. Spending time with or talking to someone that loves you is like a natural healer - a remedy for stress. (Side note: shout out to OT534 and the professors, Kelcie Kadowaki and Laura Marie Cox, who work for the Faculty Practice because I learned that this is a fact. As part of our stress response, the parasympathetic nervous system aka “Tend and Befriend” releases oxytocin which then urges us to engage in positive social interactions. This leads to stress reduction). Being with people that care about you increases your health and wellness!
Next time you want to cancel plans with your friends or family because of a high workload or increased stress, don’t. They are your stress remedy. I bet that after spending time with the people that you love, you will feel refreshed and better prepared to finish your work. Health comes first, always. Everything else comes later.
Sometimes you do not realize what you need until you get it. But once you have that realization, get more of it. Get it not only when it is desperately needed but also as a preventative measure. Stay safe and stay healthy ✌️
Beautiful story, Lamoni. Thank you for sharing and thanks for the reminder of what is really important in this life!