Giving Yourself a Break
Because you can't expect to keep going when you're on empty.
|Kirstie Taylor||Oct 16, 2020||1|
I’m taking a break.
Not from you all, though. I absolutely love writing this newsletter. I’ll always be in your inbox every Friday. You can count on that.
What I’m taking time off from is more internal.
I’m taking a break from the pressures that I feel from society and Instagram telling me I should hustle to be a successful freelancer. I’m taking a break from the expectations I made for myself based on other people’s success. I’m taking a break from worrying about what people from high school will think about me. I’m taking a break from believing that my worth resides in my career; that somehow I’m never doing enough, even during a pandemic and tumultuous election season.
I’m taking a break from trying to be a perfect partner, from thinking that if I follow the internet’s advice (mine and others) that I’ll have an argument-free relationship. I’m taking a break from thinking I’m the problem. I’m taking a break from thinking my boyfriend can do better. I’m taking a break from improvement.
I’m taking a break from judging myself, from thinking I’m not good enough. I’m taking a break from constantly thinking I need to work, sleep, eat, love, and think better.
I’m taking a break. I’m stepping back. I’m breathing. I’m allowing myself space to just be.
I write a lot about relationship advice in this newsletter. And though that’s what I love mainly focusing on, I’d be lying and doing you all an injustice if I didn’t admit that part of creating a healthy relationship is working on yourself.
Which is the reason self-improvement content like this week’s newsletter wriggles its way in here.
So let’s talk about breaks. No, not in your relationship. I’m talking about the breaks that we all sometimes need: mental breaks. Because this year has been rough, to say the least. We can’t be expected to run on empty for the rest of 2020.
You don’t need to always keep going.
When did the hustle culture become a thing? Am I the only one who thinks it eerily resembles the lines of “toxic masculinity” in the sense that it ignores one’s emotions in favor of financial gain? That money will prove your worthiness and make you happy?
Don’t get me wrong: financial stability brings happiness, pursuing your dreams is fucking awesome; working hard is something to be proud of.
But when you get to the point that all this work affects your mental and physical health, is it worth it then? I’d say not.
We can’t be expected to keep moving forward constantly. We simply can’t. Humans are emotional creatures. Our happiness can’t hang solely on improving ourselves, especially when improvement can always be improved upon.
Life isn’t black and white: you’re not either working towards a better life or giving up completely. There are colors in the middle, like the beautiful lilac of taking baby steps. Or the rich royal blue of putting things on pause.
Just because you take a break doesn’t mean you’re giving up on your dreams, relationship, career, etc. In fact, it’s the opposite.
Allowing yourself to take a step back.
In the depths of my overwhelm from work and the state of the world, I felt like a complete and utter failure. Every day felt like an uphill battle because I existed in this in-between state of wanting to get work done but not being emotionally able to do so.
Instead of enjoying time off or just getting to work, I was perpetually disheartened and frustrated with myself. I’d become a parent to myself; you know the ones who catch you smoking in the garage and aren’t mad, just “disappointed?”
Yes, I’m hard on myself. Welcome to the inner workings of my mind.
But being someone who enjoys talking about her feelings and having a boyfriend who's put an “Open 24/7” sign on his forehead in terms of communication, I did what I do best. I sat my boyfriend down for a talk about this internal battle I’d been going through. “I dread waking up every day. I can’t take it. I don’t know what to do.” I more so wanted to vent than anything else. I couldn’t keep this ugly monster of jumbled feelings inside me anymore.
And on that day, after a few tears on my end, we made a plan.
I took a step back from writing. I figured out the bare minimum I needed to make to pay the bills. I put trying to find new clients on hold and stopped trying to expand. Instead, I started thinking of this time as ~refining~ because I’m focusing on my personal writing, book, and this lovely newsletter.
And on the days when my heart is too freakin’ heavy to carry on, I take off. And I don’t feel bad for doing so.
Sometimes, we need to be the ones to give ourselves permission to take a step back. We can’t expect the outside world to say it’s OK. We need to prioritize our mental health and allow ourselves to lighten up on the expectations.
Stepping back from the chaos.
So we’ve done it. We’ve gotten here. The point at which we say ENOUGH IS ENOUGH while looking in the mirror at our biggest obstacle.
What does this life-altering break look like? What’re the five-step actions to taking one?
Well, I don’t have the answer. Why? Because you do.
Every person’s needs are different. I took a step back from trying to grow my writing career and judging myself and “improving” my relationship.
But maybe you need a break from constantly staying informed about the election. Perhaps you want to take time off work for a stay-at-home mental vacation.
Or maybe you just need permission to feel your feelings and exist.
I can’t say what will work best for you. All I can do is plant the little seed inside your head that it’s perfectly fine to experience a pause. In fact, it could be the key to what you need for all those larger goals you’re so fiercely pursuing. It could be the mental flush that improves other aspects of your life like your relationships.
But once you decide to take a step back, fully do so. Don’t peer into windows and check on parts of your life because you fear they need maintenance. Don’t go on Instagram and compare yourself to people who seem like they’re crushing it.
Do yourself a favor and give in to what your body is saying that you need.
Until next week my amazing readers.
All the love,
Content I Loved:
Articles I Wrote:
*If you're new to this newsletter and my work, I'm currently writing on a book, What I Wish I Knew About Love, that's set to come out early 2021 with Thought Catalog Books.*
This week, I’m working on the second to last chapter I need to add. It’s all about the Dos and Dont’s of Arguing with your partner. I’m curious, what’re tips you have for arguing? Or, on the flip side, what do you want to know more about communication between couples?
Your answer could just make it into my book ;)