I’ve been in a hole the past couple weeks, taking extra slow mornings, doing work (or watching Tik Tok) from my bed till about noon, maybe making it to the gym or going for a quick run through my neighborhood, and then off to my part-time job till I go back to my bed. Next day, repeat. These days sound like they’d be relaxing, right? Then why do I feel so exhausted?
This mundane cycle—it’s draining. The same day over and over again, spending way too much time in my room and on social media is depleting my motivation, energy, and creativity. Every night the past two weeks, I’d tell myself right before bed, “I’m going to do it differently tomorrow. I’ll go for a hike tomorrow. I’ll start reading again tomorrow. I’ll get out of bed early tomorrow.” Another day, another rationalization for why I should just start the next day.
Today, I was on the phone with a friend I haven’t spoken to in awhile. Per usual, it was almost noon and I still hadn’t left my bed—working on business tasks from under the comfort of my covers. We both shared how we’d been struggling to get back into a routine of productivity and together, we brought to light how the overload of negative stimuli in our current world has definitely contributed to our sluggishness. Taking in everything that is going in our world, from a global pandemic to spiking rates in mental health issues, it’s no wonder it is difficult to find the motivation to keep going and embrace the day. But I need to redirect time and energy back to myself, otherwise I am no help to anyone.
When my friend asked me why I wasn’t going for hikes or getting up early or doing any of the things I said I wanted to do, I had no answer other than I was tired. And it was my current cycle that was making me tired so… “I think you just solved your own problem, Kelly.” I responded to my friend’s inquiries enough times with “I don’t know” or “I’m just tired” that I jumped out of bed, grabbed my keys, grabbed my running shoes and IPad, and headed for the beach.
Something about being at the beach always brings me back to a state of clarity. As soon as I open my car door and a waft of salty air enters my nose, I feel immediate relief. Like everything is about to be okay. And as soon as the crisp water floods over my feet and I’m looking out over the vast ocean, it’s as if life doesn’t exist outside that moment and I become so present. Over the course of the past couple weeks, I’d lost that feeling of presence. I’d been in auto-pilot just going through the motions and as I started my run along the coast I thought to myself, what the f**k have I been doing? Waisting my time like that. Despicable.
It’s important to note I am not mad or disappointed in myself for “waisting my time,” as I am sure it won’t be the last time it happens. I’m human and I need to give myself grace as life can be overwhelming, daunting, and stressful. At the time, I thought I was doing my best. Sometimes our best is working from bed and living off granola bars while other times it will look like a workout, beach day, green smoothie, to-do list-complete-by-6-pm-kind-of-day. What is most important is becoming aware of what your mind and body are asking for each day.
For me, the first few days my body and mind were asking me to slow down and rest. I leaned into that. But then, those days turned into weeks and my body was like, “girl, your booty is going to be lookin’ like a pancake if you don’t get your butt out of bed.” My brain was begging, “for the love of God, PLEASE can we go outside?!” Hearing them out (finally), I went to the place where I knew I could reenergize. After running on the sand and enjoying the waves, I felt lighter—I felt fulfilled. This experience is a great reminder of how important it is to listen to your needs and prioritize accordingly. There will be busy weeks in the future where I won’t have the freedom to just drive to the beach or go to the gym or go for a hike, but that is why it’s so important to take advantage of the time I do have when I have it. Also, to manage my time during those busy weeks to make even the tiniest of time slots for something that brings me joy. If we aren’t enjoying our time, then what are we doing here?
Not to be grim but, no one is guaranteed any certain amount of time on this Earth. All of our days our numbered. So if today was your last day, how would you spend it?
Now, make time for your answer to that question.