If you get tired, learn to rest, not to quit
Today I want to talk a little bit about asking for help, taking a rest, and simply stepping back from it all for five minutes.
Not enough of us are told that it is okay to take a step back and catch our breath. We get told that we can have it all, that we should hustle, that every moment of our lives should be productive, or filled with fun- and its just not realistic. And the idea that we should be doing all or nothing permeates every single little bit of our lives: the gym, the way we eat, how we work, how we socialize…and if we can’t give it our all, then what’s the point in doing it?
This week just gone I suddenly realised that, for the first time since I came to uni, I may need to go home for a weekend- outside of official uni holidays. For two years straight I have gone home at Christmas, Easter, and summer-time, and that has been it. Much as I am loving my third year at uni, it’s already pretty intense work-wise. I am also that one flatmate who runs around cleaning because they’re house proud verging on OCD. I’ve been trying to spend time with my friends, managing this blog and linked IG account, job hunting for when I leave uni, and I’m still progressively working on building my muscle tone in the gym. I am by no means the busiest person I know, but I am feeling fairly knackered right now.
If you read last week’s post then you’ll know about our Halloween house party, and how after being talked around to the idea of a party in my own house, I was actually pretty excited about it. Well, here is another truth of life: people can change their minds. And this party is causing me more than a little stress. The lack of compromise on how many guests one of my house mates is planning on inviting, the tidying up etc etc is all just getting on top of me.
And so I’ve decided to take a rest.
When I opted to go home for a few nights I knew I would have to miss something: either a good friend’s leaving party before she crosses the globe to return to Singapore, or the university organised trip to Scotland this weekend just gone with some friends – or the house party. It was too late to cancel the trip, there was no way in hell I was missing my friend’s leaving do- which left the house party weekend. Incidentally, my mum works most weekends, but is also off on this one- meaning I get family time thrown into the bargain.
But isn’t my plan to go home me quitting at a) my record of staying at uni other than holidays and b) my plan to cram in socialising and c) my idea of stepping out of my comfort zone?
Well, in a way yes. In a bigger way, no.
The decision to actually admit I need a rest is majorly out of my comfort zone, but more importantly, this is part of something I disregarded for many years: self-care. Its about admitting I need time out. Its about saying “Hey, guys, I’m not quitting. I just need to go take a nap for a bit.”
I think that taking a rest, a lot of us feel, equates to “quitting”. Because we’re brought up in a society where we’re taught to stick to New Year’s Resolutions like glue- however strict- and abandon them by February. Because we’re taught to choose “diets” and short term plans you stick with rigidly, instead of a more flexible healthy lifestyle. Deviation from anything, taking a quick rest (or however long is needed) from anything, is wrong. But taking a rest is incredibly important, because you can’t drive a car without gas. So, my train ticket home is booked, and after some initial panic that I’d been wrong and that I didn’t really need to go home, I am now really looking forward to it. And I still get to use my dragon costume for a friend’s Halloween themed birthday party come December.
This week, or whenever it’s feasible in the near future, take a rest if you need one. Don’t believe the memes and “inspo” telling you to “go hard” all the time, and if you don’t then you’re a failure. That couldn’t be further from the truth. You only fail when you quit, and taking a rest is not quitting. If you need a night in instead of socialising and networking, if you need a lie in in place of your usual 7am gym trip, if you need a day off from studying- then take that break. Refresh yourself, and then get back on it, confident that taking a rest is not the same as quitting.