Give Yourself Permission to Let Go of “Shoulds”– For Fucks sake, If Not Now, When?

This past month has been the pinnacle of a cluster fuck, I’m not going to lie. All kinds of skeletons came tumbling out of a closet I thought was clean, until I moved my dresser a little.

Family drama, romantic upheaval, re-hashing sexual assault cases, pandemics, protests, murders, and preparing to do EMDR, in addition to some potential massive upcoming changes in my life has shaken me up. I’ve been fucking tired, dude! I was emotionally and physically exhausted. I know I’m not the only one. This year has been a test of our resilience, and while I am all for digging deep and doing things that are challenging, sometimes you truly get depleted, and it’s time to take a step back.

If you’re like me, you may feel guilty for slashing your to-do lists in half, or allowing yourself to just be. You may find it hard to ignore the list of things you “should” be doing like organizing your closet, building your glutes, putting hours into your side hustle, or writing a best-seller.

The thing is, sometimes we need to chill the fuck out to get back to our to do lists at full force. Sometimes we need to step away from social media, and give ourselves a break from the shoulds.

Even though I “should” have been blogging Monday-Friday, I’ve only felt like painting, making silly greeting cards, and editing the my e-book draft, so that’s what I’ve been doing. Even though I “should” be doing strength training a few times a week, I’ve only felt like going on long walks and hikes. Even though I “should” be eating veggie-heavy, because that’s what my body responds well to, I’ve allowed myself to indulge in copious amounts of cheese, cupcakes, pizza, and wine (everything in moderation, including moderation.) Even though I “should” stay informed and up-to-date, I deleted Instagram and didn’t read the news for a week. Even though I “should” watch something new, I’ve been allowing myself to re-watch Sex and the City for the fifth time simply because it comforts me.

I still have my self care non-negotiables that I do, like exercising, meditating, eating well, journaling, gratitude, creativity, and taking care of my self and my home, but I’ve let myself slow down on hustling and getting shit done, and that’s ok.

It’s true that we grow outside of our comfort zones, but sometimes, when you’ve been doing a lot of growing, the growing pains can get overwhelming, and it’s ok to go back to your comfort zone for a minute.

Think of yourself like a child. If a child experienced something traumatic or upsetting, you’d probably want to make them a cozy blanket fort, make them some cookies, and let them get lost in a movie. You’d want to take them to the park and buy them ice cream. You’d want to comfort them. You’d allow them to be sad, and you’d give them some time to process and move on. You’re allowed to do the same thing for yourself.

Sometimes, you have to say “fuck should.” Oftentimes, you should indeed, and you feel better once you do the thing, but other times, life knocks you around, and you need some long walks, SATC marathons, and cupcakes.

Here’s Some Signs You are Emotionally Depleted and It’s Time to Fuck “Shoulds” for a While:

You Are Sleeping Excessively, or Tired all the Time

Find yourself sleeping ten hours a night, and still ready for that 2 hour nap each afternoon? This is your body’s way of telling you it is overloaded and you need to CTFO.

Your sleep is irregular

You wake up in the middle of the night, it takes you a long time to fall back to sleep, or you can’t get on a regular sleep schedule. Perhaps you have racing thoughts at night, or nightmares.

Irritability

You may find things that used to roll off irk you more than usual, or you find yourself getting upset more frequently throughout the day.

Lack of Focus

Perhaps you pick up a book and have to re-read the same page four times. Maybe you sit down to work and it feels like pulling teeth. You might have a hard time staying present in conversations, or even while following a TV show.

Depressive Episodes

Changes in appetite, and moments of feeling blue, helpless, or overwhelmed.

These are just a few signs you might be emotionally depleted, and if this resonates for you, I highly recommend looking into counseling, (BetterHelp offers affordable, virtual, private counseling services) and prioritizing self care. Know that you are not alone, but there are a myriad of resources out there to help you get your life back and you don’t have to feel like this forever.

Eyes On Your Own Life- Don’t Get it Twisted

A lot of people took advantage of and jumped on the idea of using stay-at-home orders to leap into productivity, creative projects, etc. And while I’m all for that, if you don’t have the energy because you are GOING THROUGH IT, remember that you are not your productivity. Your worth is not tied up in what you produce, or how many things you’ve accomplished in a day.

Also, don’t compare your life, your productivity, or where you’re at to where others are. You have no idea what their behind-the-scenes looks like, how many invisible helping hands they have back there, or what challenges they are going through when the camera is put away. Keep your eyes on your life, that’s where your power is.

I know it feels good to create, to produce, to get work done, and to see your accomplishments laid out in front of you. I get high on it. I love it. I get it. Sometimes, though, you have to do a lot of nothing, and it will actually make you more productive in the long run because you are less likely to burn out.

Time Out Now is an Investment for your Future

If you are doing serious internal work, it’s ok if you take some time out. You won’t stay there forever, but forgive yourself for taking a break, and taking a step back. Get back into doing the things that light you up. Maybe your typical hobbies aren’t appealing you you, but you can dust off old instruments, take photos again, or change up the ways you play or create. Get out of your rut by allowing yourself new ways to express yourself. Just play with no particular goal or destination in mind.

I let myself do some healing, some vegging out, and generally gave myself permission to be a bit of a mess, and get back into play, into joy, into spending quality time with people I love, and I’m over it. I’m ready to put more time into the blog, the e-book, and art projects and generally kick ass.

This year requires epic amounts of processing. Family matters are coming to the surface. Relationships are becoming stronger or coming apart, or we’re realizing we need to better nurture the ones we have. Jobs are lost or changed. Trauma is happening to some for the first time, and bubbling back up in unexpected ways for others.

This is tough, you guys. Plenty of us are being strong on the surface for the sake of others, but this year is tough, there’s no denying it. I know I’m strong, but I’ve allowed myself to soften a little bit, to melt like a hollow chocolate bunny and harden back into a solid chocolate heart.

We’re all changing, growing, learning, and getting to know ourselves and our worlds more intimately than perhaps we ever had before. And it’s hard work! We’re not so tied up in rushing from one errand and project to the next that we can live in denial. And moving from denial to consciousness is heavy shit. Instagram spirituality may have you believe it’s all sitting on beaded meditation pillows, sipping tea, and natural skin care, but waking up spiritually is often quite messy. That’s ok. Being emotional, having feelings means you are not numbing, you are doing the work to feel, and you deserve credit for that.

Even if the work sometimes feels like shit, it’s still worth it. It’s how we become stronger, let go of our baggage, and create our best selves and live our best lives. Being happy all the time is a myth created to sell you shit. Life is way more complex than that.

If you take the time to process, to rest, and to feel, not only will you be more productive long term by dodging bullshit, but your spirit will be lighter because instead of suppressing, you’re actually dealing with things head on. It’s harder in the short term, but keeps you from holding onto baggage long term.

Take it Easy, Baby

When we wake up in the morning, most people don’t jump out of bed as soon as they hear the alarm. Most people hit snooze a few times, meditate, have coffee, stretch a little, work out, shower, put on clean clothes, put on a little lipstick. It’s a process.

We are metaphorically waking up in many ways right now, and it’s a process. Take your time. Snooze a little. Wipe the sleep from your eyes. Take a shower. Have some coffee. Allow yourself to wake up slow.

Progress, productivity, and healing is not always linear. We think it’s going to be simple, like a diagonal line on a graph, but it’s often more like the loopy roller coaster at an amusement park. There’s hills, drops, turns, loops, fear, stomach flips, screams of delight, and sometimes vomit.

The point of this is to say that if you have creative or personal goals, and shit is hitting the fan in your personal life, and you literally can’t even, as the kids say, give yourself permission to fuck “shoulds” for a while, and do the resting, processing, and healing you need to do to get back on your bullshit. Take care of yourself like you would a nine year old kid who is heart broken and upset.

Love from the other side and back on my bullshit,

Sarah

2 thoughts on “Give Yourself Permission to Let Go of “Shoulds”– For Fucks sake, If Not Now, When?

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