If you’re hiking up a trail and you’ve got your head down the whole time, you’ll never be able to see how far you’ve come—or better yet, allow yourself to be in awe of the view. You might tell yourself that persisting forward will pay off. But eventually you’re going to topple over! On the other hand, if you keep your head in the clouds you’re probably going to step in some shit. Maybe deer shit.
Yes. I feel like that sums it up just about right.
But I’ll go on for the sake of it.
It’s okay to slow down. I remind myself of this constantly because I have a bad habit of getting sucked into an endless orbit of work, whatever it may be. It’s good to push yourself, but if it’s causing constant stress then what’s the point. There’s a frequent statement that’s often thrown at me whenever someone refuses to break, and it usually goes something like ‘that’s what separates the hard workers’ and I’d like to call a big BS on those words.
More recently, I’ve accepted that I need “down-time.” Not lock myself in my room and sleep for 12 hours time; I mean simply taking a step back from whatever I’m deeply immersed in. I’ve done the work—it’s not going to grow legs and run away. And I’ll come back to it. Whether it be in a few hours or a few days.
And the only reason I emphasize this now is because I’ve taken this advice to heart, and I have never felt more in control. Of everything.
There are various factors that play into this, but giving myself breathing space has been a massive change. The daily hot chocolates have been doing wonders for my soul, but that might just be me taking advantage of the fact that it’s the holidays. I suppose it also makes me feel like I’m getting my daily caffeine fix since I’ve given up coffee again. Clever, huh?
The problem with the breaks and the breathing and the looking up at the view stuff is that it’s much easier said than done. Putting down a paper that’s due in a week can make us so uneasy. For the longest time, and even still, I get extremely anxious when I’m not writing because I’m not “being productive.” But then I thought, if I’m only writing and not experiencing anything, then what in the world will I write about? We must have BALANCE. Come back to things fresh. Don’t think of it as taking one step back then two steps forward. Rather than scuffling forward, refuel and take one solid step forward.
I know this all sounds obvious and redundant; but we all need reminding sometimes…
Don’t let anyone use it against you.
We’re only human for god’s sake. Everyone needs a breather; whether that means a me-day or a night out. Hypocrites like to tell you that you’re slacking if you’re not stressing about something. But stress does you no good. Don’t do it to yourself! A cry for sympathy isn’t going to help you any either. We can see the work-load, but if you’re well-being isn’t being looked after, then what does the credit people give you really worth?
Stopping to look up will keep you in the loop.
How will you ever know what’s happening around you if you’re ploughing forward with your head in the dirt? Well. You can’t. Really.
Just take a moment to see what’s happening in the world. You have no idea how much it could benefit you unless you do. I don’t necessarily mean politics—just a general awareness; what’s happening in music, film, social affairs, literature, cultures, the news… you get the point. And even the people who are close to you. What happens when you look up to see that your best friend is gone, all because you looked up too late? It happens! Don’t ignore what could benefit you.
A lack of sleep can lead to depression.
Not quite literally, but if you’re not getting any rest then you might drive yourself into a dark abyss. The simplicity of resting is completely underrated yet overwhelmingly necessary. Why it has become so overlooked, I do not know. I’m guilty of forgetting the definition of rest myself, but oh I can’t emphasize how much of a different it can make.
Is it extra sleep you need? A nice dinner? Or maybe it’s simply putting the book down. It allows you to refuel, mentally and physically—keeping your mind out of the goddamn gutter! Sinking into yourself divides you from the outer world. Then you begin to make assumptions about everything and everyone and it’s all bad.
Make sure you sleep.