The Art of Doing Nothing

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I’ve got to be honest, we live in a society that doesn’t know how to stop moving. And I’m a part of it. We all are. 

Even though this is my last summer of rejecting adulthood, I’m also gearing up portfolios and plans and applications for graduate schools because something has to come next and I need options. It just so happens that some of those grad schools are in New York and if I remember correctly, there was something about that place that was so bright and so blurry…

Part of what drew me into the city was the fact that it never felt like anything could stop moving. Our minds, creativity, business, photography, entertainment, tourism… None of it was allowed to ever stop otherwise the whole city wouldn’t quite be what it was anymore.

I thought everything just might fall apart without it.

Sometimes, that’s what it feels like to be growing up right now. On the cusp of the 2000s and right in between the defining factors for two very different generations, I find myself being pushed more and more to keep moving. Forward, up, sideways, it doesn’t really matter. As long as I keep doing something

Something productive, of course.

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That’s the culture that surrounds us, no matter what generation you are or what your life looks like right now, people constantly feel the need to keep up with one another. As much as Nike would love to tell you that rivals are the best motivation, it only goes so far. 

There is a fine line between being super productive or the best worker you can be and well, a burnout. Because burnout will come if you never stop, and that’s not a choice but a fact.

Knowing that, feeling the pressure of sports or writing or future industries and accomplishing as much as I could to be the best before I get to my future, it’s a lot.

Maybe at some points, it was for me and at others, it wasn’t about me—we might be the priority of our own lives but that doesn’t mean we don’t put other people first sometimes. That’s what I’ve done for years now, especially my junior year of college when so much of it was working to support or be better for others so they had everything they needed to be the best.

After moving so so much, I am just realizing that I started moving forward in 2017 in an effort to fix all the things I felt I was doing and being wrong. I joined clubs, was offered a high starting position at work, and I hit 300+ plus pages in my novel. 

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It’s just that, I know these are past accomplishments but this was only the beginning and I didn’t stop working or thinking or trying until I hit July of this year. This is the first time I’ve stopped moving.

And I’m tired.

If I’m being honest, I’m not as healthy as I should be. I am not sleeping the way I should be. I am not eating the way I should be. I do not feel the way I should, the way I want to. 

Even after all this work and time and accomplishing that has truly been incredible, none of it has changed what I lost in the process. And I really needed to recharge.

So I stopped—sort of by choice and sort of by my body making me. Instead, I’ve taken two online classes I wanted, spent a lot of time with dogs (dog sitting is a surprisingly lucrative job), and taken a break. In the past two weeks, I have read three average length novels and right now I’m on my fourth. I’ve spent time with my family and watched shows for no reason but the mindless distraction they bring.

For a little while, I’ve done nothing. And honestly, I don’t quite look forward to the structure of 16 units on quarter system again, but I’ll be starting better than it ended.

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That counts for a whole lot.

Maybe if you remember to truly take a break, from social media and influence and work, you’ll give yourself something you truly need in the process.

I would like to think that I did and for my own literary enjoyment and fun-starved soul, I needed that time to reconnect both to the world and myself in the process. If you need that, do it for yourself. Do whatever it takes.

Trust me, you’re worth it.

Happy Friday. 

Adjusting to Yourself

Photo by Janko Ferlič on Unsplash

Did you notice that there was no Bookworms on Tuesday?

There’s a reason for that.

You see, last month I did a post on the Mortal Instrument series along with the two other branch off series by Cassandra Clare. So I’ve been joy-reading all of those from the very beginning since last month—very slowly since my life has been a bit jam-packed lately—which consequently means that I haven’t gotten the chance to sit down and read another book.

Maybe it sounds like an excuse, but honestly, I just haven’t had the time to make it a good post for you.

You deserve that much; maybe I do too.

We all have our responsibilities, as students, parents, employees, human beings… There are things that we have committed ourselves to doing whether or not we can really do it well at the moment. Even if we want to.

Photo by Janko Ferlič on Unsplash

That’s where adjusting comes in.

Just like we have our responsibilities, we also have our own lives that in the grand scheme of things, we make the rules. Sure we have our plans of how things go or when we retire or what comes next, but maybe that plan changes as you change and circumstances change with it.

Just like I didn’t write a post I had nothing for this week—instead of speed-reading a new book or recycling an old one I have little interest in—change the rules for where you’re at (within reason of course).

Think about it.

Everything we do comes from what we’ve got left to give. If we have no energy, say you skipped breakfast or didn’t sleep last night, then you’ve got a little less to give than another day where your circumstances would be better.

This is the small screen version of the picture; take a moment to zoom out.

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Every one of us has jobs to do, things we partake in every day that keep the world running as it does. It’s that idea that everything affects everything.

So if you forget to eat breakfast today, then tomorrow, and the next day until it becomes a habit, your performance falls. And when your performance falls, maybe you start to skip out on meetings with friends or nights with your family too. Before you know it, someone else has to pick up the slack and maybe they start missing things right behind you. When they miss things, someone else has to make up for the time that they don’t have to spend on their other jobs, and well… The cycle only continues.

But what does this have to do with you?

Like I said, everything affects everything. And it starts with you. In order to make sure you can be what and who you want to be every day, you can’t skip breakfast or skip sleep or do something that you simply aren’t prepared for.

It’s not worth it in the long run if you’re still going but everything you do is a little less than it could have been.

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So take a moment to look where you’re at, what you’re doing, and maybe adjust a little today. Take more time for your morning routine, hum in the shower, take a break when you need it; just listen to yourself and do what you need.

Because only when you’re doing good for yourself can you efficiently do good for others. It starts with you.

Going into the weekend, I hope you remember that. Happy Friday everyone.

Self-Care: If We Don’t, Who Will?

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Photo by Alisa Anton on Unsplash

With a few exams under my belt already, we’ve got finals coming up next week and I have just the thing for you today. Because lately, I have to be honest in saying I haven’t been taking care of myself at all— I keep telling myself that I’ll sleep tomorrow, or I’ll eat after I finish this one assignment and well… Time just keeps going and I wear myself down even more.

So for the good of each of us, I have five ways for you to add to your self care toolbox today. Because you’re the number one advocate for you, the self-care starts with you. So let’s get started together.


Sleep

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Photo by Alisa Anton on Unsplash

This will always be one of my biggest things to advocate for because, just like Snickers says you’re not you when you’re hungry, you’re also not you when you’re tired. Take it from someone who was in bed by 9:30 last night, sometimes you really just need the sleep. Whether you’re working or just trying to enjoy a day off, sleep is the first step to having a solid day of doing what you want to do without holding yourself back. Treat yourself to some zzz’s today, nap a little if you have to. Pay attention to your body and it’ll pay you back in feeling more ready for whatever comes next.

Get Out

Sometimes, it truly does help to just get out of the house and go outside. And no, I don’t mean the outside you’re in while you walk to class or go to work, I mean surround yourself by nature and walk in a park or go for a hike. If those aren’t an option, then find a coffee shop or some place to sit down and relax for at least thirty minutes without doing any work. And if you really can’t do that either, then change your surroundings even if all you do is clean your room or move to a new area. One way or another, get out of your current space for a bit. Your mind and your body will thank you.

Drink. A lot.

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Photo by Clint McKoy on Unsplash

And I mean water, come on now. Hydration is incredibly important for your body to function properly, but on top of that, it helps you feel more balanced throughout your day. Not only does staying hydrated help your focus, sleep, and overall feeling, but it also helps to keep you from snacking throughout the day. If you’re like me, maybe you procrastinate with food, or even just snack when you’re stressed. Drinking more water can help you with that because sometimes when you think you’re hungry, you really just need water. So grab a glass of water and treat your body well today.

Meditation

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Photo by Samuel Austin on Unsplash

When I say meditation, I could mean it literally for some of you, especially if you’re into the headspace app. But if you’re not, this could also mean maybe meditating over a good book, or even better, a good meal. Just take a step back from whatever else is going on in your life and be present in the moment. Give your full attention to those around you, your work, your books, and even your shows. Just be there and be a little productively unproductive for a while. You probably need it.

Company

anthony-intraversato-455600-unsplash (1).jpgFor some people, self-care might look like studying and working until it’s all done and that’s one less thing to worry about. For other people, it might look like spending a little extra time around the people who matter to you. After all, they say misery loves company but in reality, all of us need a little extra love sometimes. Whether it’s the moral support or even just a fun time to get your mind to relax a little, you know yourself and your people the best. So don’t be afraid to ask for what you need.


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Photo by Carli Jeen on Unsplash

I know we’re all busy people with busy lives, but I hope that you can take some time to care for yourself today, you deserve that much. It’s a Friday after all, why not head into the weekend with a mind and body feeling rested and ready.

And hey, if you’ve got anything that works really well for you, feel free to tell me about it in the comments; I can always use more tips for my toolbox!

So happy Friday. I hope you have a beautiful weekend. See you Tuesday for Poetry Place.