“Mariam, BREATHE.” Is something that I have heard a lot these past few weeks. I’ve been finding it very difficult to relax. I’ve been finding it very hard to ‘switch off’. We live in a world that moves fast, with expectations being thrown at us from every direction, we feel like we can’t take a break. And if we do, we feel guilty.
Lately, I’ve just wanted to run away. Runaway from everything and everyone. From expectations, from disappointment, from trying to be perfect, from societies idea that I should have my life together, from the idea that I should know what I’m doing with my life, now that I am 26.
I’ve been constantly on the go, 24/7. I’ve been feeling like I can’t afford to rest, I want to spend every minute of every day being productive. I said these exact words to my therapist and she said, “you are allowed to take a break.” If you don’t take a break you won’t be working the best that you can, you will feel a lot more stressed and burnt-out, you will be less productive. “Your sanity comes before your work.”
I know how hard it is to “switch off”, as I sit writing this all I can think about is how much work I have to do. I know how hard it is to not look at your emails, to close that tab, to shut down that document. I know how hard it is to allow yourself to have the day off to relax and enjoy. It’s so hard to remember that not everything needs to be done right now, the world is not going to stop if you give yourself a day to rest.
It’s so hard to think that taking time out for yourself is not time wasted. Self-care is the most important thing that we can do for ourselves. Nothing is worth our mental health and well-being. This is totally necessarily and a necessity, for everyone to survive life. Just because you take time to look after yourself, this does not mean you don’t care about your work. Taking a break from work to binge-watch a Netflix series, or to do anything else that you enjoy, does not make you lazy or look like you don’t care about your work. It means that you are recharging, which will allow you to put more energy into your work when you come back to it. You should not feel guilty for taking time out to look after yourself (I know this is easier said than done).
The days when you feel like life is getting a bit too much, it’s okay to pause and breathe. It’s okay to take a break from it all. This is something as a society we forget. It’s okay if you leave your to-do list for one day, it’s okay if you haven’t stuck to your routine for one day. Remember, it’s okay to say “I cannot do this anymore”. I hate that we live in a world where we are not honest with how we are feeling, without thinking we are seeking attention. We are allowed to admit that we are not feeling well, that we are stressed or feeling a little overwhelmed, or it’s getting too much for us to handle, or that we need a little help. We are allowed to admit that life is not going the way we want it to, instead of living a lie, that we one day hope to believe. We are allowed to ask for help, we are allowed to move at our own pace and as slow as we can.
Life is hard, it can really suck at times. It can get difficult, but, it’s only ‘us’, that can save ourselves from this crazy world, that we call life.