Being Real with Yourself and Others: My Lessons

It seems like I've been posting less and less on my blog since staying at home, which is ironic (you would think I'd have a lot more time to write when I'm sitting in my room all day).
In this post, I want to talk about being real about your needs with yourself and others.

An important step in doing this is allowing yourself to have downtime to rest and re-balance. 

It's especially important during the COVID era to allow yourself to have 'me time' where you're not constantly online and ready to act. Now that we're not commuting to the office or spending 8+ hours a day in person attending school/work, we tend to be seen as 'not busy'.

This couldn't be further from the truth. Speaking personally,  I've taken so much more on my plate since being able to stay home. Working with a non-profit, teaching online, and scheduling regular calls with friends to keep my social life healthy: all while balancing a 9-5.

When people invite you to do things, you may feel pressured to say yes since you're stuck at home and have 'nothing to do'. However, in reality, scheduling personal time into your day is not only a valid way to spend your time but a necessary part of a healthy routine. It can be difficult to draw a line between personal time and work time, whether that work is for something you enjoy, for your friends, or for your job. 

When was the last time you did something just for yourself?

My advice: Plan some time for yourself every day to do something you find relaxing, or simply leave a blank space on your calendar to allow you to decompress after a busy school/workday. Your body and mind will thank you for it, and you won't be stretched as thin. 

The next point to address: Do your friends know that you're struggling? Do you acknowledge your own limits?

Like many people, I've had a year full of curveballs. Though I have experienced many joys, I've lost loved ones this year, lost my mind a few times, and have dealt with a handful of stressful situations. It's been helpful in a way because I have acquired some healthier coping mechanisms, but being overloaded is never an enjoyable experience. 

With everything you have gone through or are currently going through: have you put on a happy face in front of loved ones to assert you're okay? 

I've found that when you work really hard to show people that you're okay (and you're not) they believe the image you give off. If you trying your best to be strong and don't allow yourself to have bad days, your loved ones may be surprised and at a loss when they are confronted with you reaching your limits.

This is where honesty comes into play. When you're having a difficult time I think the importance of letting people know when you're not okay and establishing boundaries is indispensable. It's okay to need time to yourself. It's okay that you aren't available emotionally. It's okay to put down your responsibilities for a moment, breathe, and then come back. The most important thing is proper communication with those around you, so they can give you the time you need to recover. 

 In my case, I felt like I was juggling a social life, trying to excel at work, keeping track of the non-profit, and teaching classes twice a week. I felt that I didn't have a choice and that people would be disappointed if I didn't fulfill their needs over mine. At the same time, I was dealing with my own issues, which started to build stress and anxiety within me since I would portray a happy and 'can-do' attitude to others. 

Are you being honest with yourself and others?

This month is a great time to sit back and evaluate relationships and how honest you are with those that you love. If you're feeling like you're in need of help but don't know where to begin, keep this in mind: people don't know what's wrong until you tell them. Rather than putting others above yourself to keep busy and distract from your pain, I would suggest using this time in November to look inward.

Are you in the top 5 of your own life? If not: evaluate why and figure out how you can refocus your attention.

Lastly, I want to touch on the importance of therapy and how talking to a professional has really helped me this year. Therapy has been a wonderful resource for me to get an outside perspective and give me the tools to best approach situations that I feel like I need help with. 

If you're concerned about being able to afford therapy, I recommend looking up your insurance online and seeing what therapists you are covered for. Doing therapy via Zoom allows for a personal experience without being in person and it may be that you're able to get therapy for free based on what your insurance is covering regarding Telehealth. 

My therapy is currently free until December 31st, so I recommend you try to take full advantage of what mental health resources your insurance may cover.

As always, thanks for reading and I'll see you next time :)