Morgan Harper Nichols posted something that truly hit me as I’ve been doing less new writing, and more promotion of writing I’ve already done (my poetry book Blue) or not promoting anything at all…
Amidst things going on in my personal life, choices to be made and things to organize, it can be hard not to feel like I’m neglecting my craft for longer than I should. In some ways, I feel lazy, or maybe just unorganized with it since maybe I should’ve made a plan for when things would get as busy as they’ve currently gotten.
Morgan Harper Nichols’ post reminded me that during this time, it’s okay to give myself permission to BREATHE…to really be okay with taking a step back for now. It doesn’t mean I’ve lost my passion for my writing or editing, and it doesn’t mean I’m any less good at it. Things happen in life, and it’s actually healthier for me to take a step back than to feel pressured to keep going through the motions, and not genuinely feel it (I am feeling it now, as I write this though, so don’t get it twisted!).
It makes me think of Simone Biles and Naomi Osaka, who stepped down from their jobs as athletes for a moment to BREATHE. Despite what the world was telling them they needed to do as professional athletes, they took the big step of telling themselves and everyone else that they needed to take a break, and that IT IS OKAY to take a break when you need it!
I find that as much as self-care and mental health are promoted through social media, society still hasn’t caught up to their value yet. Many jobs still expect their workers to work through sickness, whether it be physical or mental. Awareness of physical health has gotten better due to COVID-19, but why has it taken a pandemic for people to understand that people who aren’t physically at their best cannot give their best at work?
Don’t even get me started on mental health days. I truly believe that all jobs should be required to give their employees a certain amount of these. Sure, maybe some people will use the just to get off work, but maybe that’s what some people need in order to avoid burn-out at their occupations! Yeah, there are vacation days or paid-time-off, but people usually use those for big trips (which, depending on what happens during the trip, can be more stressful than relaxing) or extending their holidays for travel instead of simply days to rest.
Of course though, it is up to each individual to utilize the days they’re given. I know that I’m the worst when it comes to using vacation days or paid time off…I never feel the need to take a break, and somewhere down the line, either my physical or mental health suffers for it.
So, if we are given opportunities to just BREATHE, I say we take them without guilt and without beating ourselves up over whether we’re truly productive or capable or talented.
A song that popped into my head while writing this. Listen to it, and allow yourself to rest!