Never Be Ashamed for Needing a Moment to Yourself

*five months later* whoops.

That’s really the only statement that I can come up with regarding my blog taking a little hiatus. I’ve thought about opening my laptop over the past few months, but never seemed motivated or inspired to write. I really don’t even know where the time went. I guess I’ve been waiting for something to spark my rediscovery in writing. Apparently, this weekend was it.

This weekend I decided to take a step back from personal and professional responsibilities and just do my own thing. Mind you, it’s been a gloomy two days, so that “own thing” has been Netflix, reading, cleaning and working out.

And let me tell you – I feel fabulous.

For those who don’t know, May is Mental Health Month – and to be honest, I’m surprised that alone wasn’t reason enough for me to break out the blog on May 1. Just because I didn’t write about it, though, doesn’t mean it hasn’t been on my mind.

I technically spent this weekend doing nothing, which may be considered “lazy” to some. But to me, it was a chance to refresh my body and mind — free of a single responsibility, aside from cleaning and laundry because #adulting.

In a life where we cannot let our responsibilities fall to the wayside (#adulting again), I feel like it’s extra important to take advantage of these quiet days when we can. Supporting your mental health does not necessarily mean you have a mental illness, or that you have anything to be ashamed of if you do have a mental illness. Sometimes you just need to check yourself and your priorities to be sure that you aren’t on a path toward burnout, and that you’re able to experience life fully. This is not to say your life should be without stress, fears, or busy schedules; however, you should be able to experience life in a way that is not hindered by negative thoughts or activities that are not your priorities.

My mental health is a priority. My physical health is a priority. Do I always take care of these? No, not necessarily. Wine, cheese and sleepless nights do sometimes occur.

This is why I’m so lucky to have family and friends in my life who understand when I say I just need to take a day or two with no plans. They know that means I need to recharge, even if I didn’t technically have an “exhausting” week. For example, I may not have been overwhelmed with life this past week, but this weekend was more of a proactive mental health weekend.

I am self-aware now to know that when I travel often and make lots of plans, I tend to become overwhelmed. I know this is not the case for everyone. Some people thrive off of being constantly social or always on the go, and that is wonderful; however, I have busied myself up enough in the past to know that I need to take breaks.

Not breaks from life, though.

This is something I’ve really had to alter my perspective on and find a balance with over the past couple years. I used to just “need a break from life,” when in reality that’s not true. I feel like this was and still is such a negative way to look at mental health or personal days. As if there’s a negative connotation, but there’s not. When I have these days now — I’m aware that I have plenty of responsibilities and people around me. I’m not trying to ignore those; rather, I’m just making sure I’m refreshed enough to truly make the most of when I return to those responsibilities (in this case, Monday).

It’s not taking a break from life – it’s taking a moment to yourself to breathe so that you can continue to appreciate life moving forward.

– Rachel

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A Year of Grieving – of Healing – of Living.

2017 was a year of grieving. I spent last New Year’s Eve unable to leave my bed, hurting over the loss of our dad. That night my mom was my NYE kiss, and luckily tonight, she will be right by my side again as I ring in 2018 with family. I wouldn’t want it any other way.

2017 was a year of healing–a year of transferring any ounce of self-loathing into self-loving. It was a time to ask for help after years of holding back, and getting that help when I needed it most. I learned who makes up my support system. I learned how special the people in my life are, and how lucky I am to have them beside me in the years to come.

2017 was a year of life’s biggest moments. I graduated college, became employed, and moved out. I will soon move into New York City–a city I’ve dreamed of since I was just a kid visiting the Big Apple. How long will this be my home? Now, that’s just something we’ll have to re-evaluate when I look back at 2018.

2017 was a year of family–of bonding together in a time when we all needed this support the most. It was a year of continuing to fight the adversities that life throws our way. It was a year of adding a new brother, husband and son into our little family. It was a year to celebrate, to dance and laugh, and enjoy the best part of this crazy life: love.

2017 was a year of living. These twelve months reminded me what matters most in life, and from this, reminded me of what does not matter–to take a step back when I am feeling everyday stresses and pressures, and to recognize that what I’m worried about may not be worth the stress at all.

2018 will be a year to remember. I know it. I don’t know what it will bring, but I know as long as I’m surrounded by the same people that kept me going through 2017, then this new year is going to be perfect.

Cheers to the year ahead.

-Rachel

Communicating Happiness: A Work in Progress

They can’t all be ideal weeks, but that’s not to say I can’t find the positives in Week Four of the Happiness Challenge. First and foremost, I was reminded of my support system. I strongly believe that for any chance of happiness, you need your support system close, and you need to be honest with those who are in that circle. This does not mean you have to share every detail of what’s going on in your head and in your life with every single one of your friends; however, I have found that when I share what I’m able to, the true friends show up and do not leave.

Those in my support system have reminded me that as I make my way through life, I am a work in progress. As someone who tends to be pretty critical of herself, it’s important to have people who bring me back to the reality of how mistakes are meant to learn from–not to dwell on.

This is exactly what I needed to be reminded of during the past week of my Happiness Challenge. It’s not always going to be easy. Just because I continue to try and focus on all the positive aspects of my life, it doesn’t mean there aren’t moments, days, even weeks that are too hard to handle alone. Hence, the support system–the people that keep me happy when I’m not too good at it by myself.

I’m lucky I found my people. I’m lucky I have the family that I do. I wish nothing more than for every person who needs happiness reminders to have the same support.

This week’s Happiness Challenge post is basically a big thank you. It’s a thank you to anyone who has witnessed my not-so-happy moments, but stick with me through them until the happy moments come back around.

Thanks Fam.

-Rachel