Break out, but don’t break you down: why you shouldn’t push yourself too hard

As you might have noticed (or not😛), yesterday I didn’t post anything. At first, I felt bad for breaking a cycle I am really committed to keeping, but then it occurred to me that I also need to get myself a break. Not that I have been overbusy with this site, which I love very much, but keep up with me to understand why this might help you too.

Let’s give a little context to this reflection: in the past years, we have been surrounded by untrustable messages from some self-called gurus. They say that the reason you are lacking success in life (which I highly doubt) is that you have a skeptical mind about your own power. That’s ridiculous.

While those “gurus” push people to work to their exhaustion, they refuse to see the damage they are causing on something very, VERY important: mental health. Imagine yourself flooding up with guilt, actually believing that the reason you don’t get the thing you want the most yet is that you don’t believe in your own power. I cannot stress enough how irresponsible this is. Listen, I am not saying this is impossible – sometimes it’s exactly what’s going on. In those situations, you go to therapy. In more practical situations, meditating at 5 am in the rain in the winter will not give you resistance to get that promotion at your office, it will give you pneumonia. We are, thankfully, much more aware of the danger we keep running into on the internet when people come up with absurd theories to sell an unveridical abundance, prosperity, productivity, or whatever they feel it’s a good business.

You don’t have to wake up at 4 am to exercise and start your day with loads of work. You don’t have to eat one peanut a day because your body doesn’t need anything else. You don’t have to run 40km every dawn because it’s what champions do. And no, you don’t have to mimic CEO’s behaviors in their private lives if it doesn’t make sense to you. The key here is to understand one little concept, simple, yet tricky: you don’t have to; but if you want to, you can. Be happy, do what you feel like if it’s not going to cause pain to others.

When I started this project, I committed to myself that I’d post something every day. Not a single week later, I decided to make it 6 posts a week, because I really need to focus on other things – to rest is one of them. I have a content planner all set up and it covers most of the first trimester, I have a routine to keep my writing where I want it to be and, most important of all: I want to do this. Writing makes me feel good, makes me feel alive in a way that transcends the obvious. But is that enough to force me when my body and mind clearly need a break?

I will excuse myself to go a little too personal here. We are friends, right? Lately, I have a lot to handle. I chose all those things, so I am not complaining. I have a full-time job that demands a lot of my attention. After I am finished with it, I start my Master’s Thesis studies. Although I am approaching the deadline, there’s still a lot to work on and it’s getting on my nerves that the possibility of having to postpone it is becoming more and more real. After I am done with the thesis (or something like it), I start to design my post for the next day at The Airport Party. Some days it takes me around 2 or 3 hours, some days the process is faster. Then, I start to study another topic called Digital Marketing for as much time my brain can take because it’s almost midnight when I get there. If I feel good, I engage in some physical exercises, but lately, I have been too tired. Then it’s time to take a shower and hop into bed because the next day awaits the same tasks.

I know I might have gone a little too far with all those things, but I like to do it. What I don’t like is that I have no time at all, mostly, to catch up with my friends via text or calls (I’d say bars and cafes too, but pandemic won’t let me count on it), to scroll guilt-free on dumb social media topics, watch my favorite shows or have more than a 5 hours sleep. I am exhausted. That I don’t like.

Yesterday, while I was finishing a test for my studies, the energy in my apartment building went down. I had to use my cellphone to illuminate the keyboard of the notebook and as a hotspot because of no energy power = no wifi. However, the batteries in both my notebook and my cellphone were running low and I needed to finish the test (or I’d lose the scores) and save battery on my cellphone so the alarm would wake me up in the morning so I wouldn’t lose my job. Long story short: I couldn’t write yesterday’s post. And I couldn’t work on it during my lunch break today, because I need more than an hour to write something that matches the quality I was seeking.

I don’t know about you, but even in situations when I don’t get to do something and it’s not my fault, I still feel guilty. I lay on my bed, but couldn’t sleep regardless of how tired I was. For some minutes, I was hoping the energy would come back and I would be able to leave my bed in the middle of the night to write the content I wanted to deliver. Can you see what’s wrong in the picture?

The whole reason I created this website is that I enjoy writing and expressing myself. I enjoy making connections and building relationships, especially when I get to talk about what I love. Why I was putting so much pressure on myself? It’s okay to skip a day, I needed to rest. At the end of the day, if I insisted on writing even though I had a bad evening and no basic resources due to the situation, the content would be mediocre to my standards and I wouldn’t enjoy writing it. It would lose its point. It would make no sense.

Today, I almost decided to skip the post as well. But then I realized that it would be good to say that it’s okay when you feel overwhelmed in your personal projects and fail on your schedule sometimes. I am producing content, if I am not well-rested, feeling good and creative, I am going to deliver something too technical and lacking emotion. That’s not what I am here for. I wanted to write something quick today, but my love for writing is so big that, as you can see, I couldn’t. Honestly, I don’t regret writing so much, but that’s because it makes me feel good about it. If I had insisted on reaching this exact same feeling yesterday, with no energy in the house or within me, it would be a disaster.

As long as it makes me feel good, as long as it serves a purpose and it feels right to do so, I will keep up with my projects. But if something goes missing one day or another, I am happy to take a pause and enjoy my silence. And I think you should do it too.

I see you tomorrow 🙂

Published by flaviastamato

Publicist and writer, a citizen of the world trying to free herself from writing cliches (but it's so tempting....)

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