It always takes me forever to realize I have fallen out of my routine. Running every morning turns into waking up late for class; getting caught up with work turns into constantly trying to make the 11:59 deadline; and minimizing social media use turns into endlessly scrolling for hours. The days start to blur together, and I start to go into automation mode: wake up, do work, go to sleep. I also usually develop chronic headaches. I only get headaches when I think too hard, too long, and too much about something. When I have a thought that I just can't stop thinking even when I think my brain can't think anymore. Y'all know the ones. The ones you think when you stare off to a wall, or while you are in class, or when you look at your bank account (lmao). These thoughts put me in a mental space where I feel equally unprepared and overwhelmed by the world. Time becomes short, and my temper follows suit. My diet goes out the window, and now I'm bloated. And I've skipped all of my homework so you know I'm behind on work. But then I saw my plant.
I walked in my kitchen and there she was. My first house plant, Molly, was withering. Her leaves were hanging lower than usual and I could tell her energy was off. I screamed, "MOLLY WHAT HAPPENED TO YOU?" I gently took her down from my ceiling hook, grabbed the canteen, and headed outside. I began to question her, trying to see where I had gone wrong as a mother. "What more can I be doing Molly?" I sprayed her leaves, told her she could do anything she puts her mind to, and gave her some time in the sun to herself. I sat on my couch after the mini panic attack and began to realize: I happened to Molly. I have been waking up so late, I had forgotten to water her, I stopped talking to her in the mornings, and I fucked up her eating schedule. Molly was going through it, just like her mama. I also needed some water, food, and sunlight to bring me back to life.
Feeling overwhelmed, anxious, nervous, sad, upset, or mad at yourself and at your life is normal and you need to recognize those emotions first in order to utilize a break period to its fullest "glow-up" potential! Breaks should have purpose, leave you feeling more secure with your emotions, and should re-energize you! If you feel shame towards the idea of needing a break, asking for help, or recognizing you need a change in life understand that help is never a bad thing. We have to help ourselves first, before we can help anyone else. You deserve to feel good about yourself! So if you are feeling odd, or in need of change; read these steps to having you one step closer to feeling like yourself again.
1) Breaks are necessary, so take them. Period.
Life is hard, as fuck! This living shit is really for the birds. Who made this shit up? Seriously? Straight people parades, Popeyes chicken sandwich frenzies, and Kodak Black is still walking the streets. Whew chile, the ghetto. A variety of factors about your environment can build into why you might be feeling off, too. Have you recently moved, maybe just got some bad news, or ended a relationship with someone and you thought you were over it? Maybe you dropped your food outside, or got a parking ticket? Maybe you moved to a place that's super cold and cold weather makes you sad? Maybe the lights in your house are harsh, and too bright? Whatever it is, you need to take a minute in order to figure it out. Log off, put the phone on DND, and go for a walk with just your favorite playlist and your thoughts. Get one with yourself man.
2) Remind yourself of your purpose/goals.
So now you're on the break and thinking: What do I do now? What does "getting to know myself look like?" Well it's going to look different for each person but I can tell you what it looks like for me. I usually start by questioning myself about my feelings and why I feel them. I'll usually ask myself, "What's worrying me right now?" My answers are usually money, school, family, and my existential existence. Ok, in terms of money I was worried about not using my paychecks "correctly". Ok, well what do I mean by "correctly?" What are my financial goals for the year? For the month or just the week? And so on and so forth until I get a solid financial goal. Yes, setting goals and manifesting things I want in life are my forms of self care. This time is full of blocking and muting accounts on my social media that I no longer want to see or interact with. I go through my phone and delete old contacts, and delete bunches of emails. I make a lot of vision boards and get bursts of creativity! I learn from visual examples, and from conversation with other people! Bouncing ideas off of people, making a vision board with a collaboration of ideas, to help me continue to make new goals and purposes for myself. I always want to be in a good place to think productively, to brainstorm in a way that is helpful for me! So think of your goals for the year? How many have you achieved and how many do you have left to do? How many need to be changed to realign with your new goals? How many are you going to have to push back? Start there.
3) Be honest to yourself when you start to feel "off."
This part is very difficult and you mustn't judge yourself or others on reaching this point. I go through stages of complicitness to my own toxic behavior. Sometimes, it lasts months and sometimes a few minutes. Depression and sadness and getting stuck in a cycle is real. It happens to us so often and we always try to avoid it. It is imperative that we start to recognize our feelings and being honest about having to deal with them. I would recommend getting a therapist or a counselor if you are privileged with insurance or funds, if not, I recommend following other bloggers and creators who deal with conversations around depression and anxiety. As a Black woman, I love watching other Black women youtubers who discuss feeling exhausted and depressed. Alyssa Forever is a youtuber who is pretty open with her struggle with depression and ways that she combats it in her career! We stan!
So if you need a break from life, take it! I encourage you to! Society has conditioned us to think that we don't deserve to take breaks, that young people shouldn't need breaks, and that being open about mental illness is taboo. Don't allow society to dictate your view of yourself! If you feel exhausted, if you think a break would help you; do it, PERIOD. "If you can't love yourself, how in the hell you gon love anybody else?" Shout out to Mother Ru.
After following all of these steps I am back like I never left. Like mother, like daughter. Thankfully, after a day outside, Molly is back to her old self: bountiful, full, and gorgeous and so am I.
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