September 20, 2020

The Healing Power of the Long Weekend

Living is hard. Whatever your age, whatever your situation, there’s things that make going about your daily life difficult and when they really start to weigh you down, it can be extremely difficult to get back to normal. For me, it’s been a struggle to juggle a job, multiple side jobs, planning for the future, planning a wedding, and the “little things” like laundry, cooking, taking care of pets… It adds up. Since before the holidays I’ve felt completely run down and traveling for several family Christmases from 2-10 hours away didn’t leave a lot of time to catch my breath. Finally, thanks to the insane snowfall Friday, my job shut down for the day and gave me three consecutive days at home.

Generally, so much time would feel daunting, like I needed to plan out every minute to make sure I tackled every project I’d had to neglect in favor of more pressing matters. This time, though, I put that aside and tried my best to shed the guilt that tends to come with simply relaxing. There was some laundry to put away and dishes to be done, but I felt if I didn’t cut myself a little slack the ramifications on my own mental health would be even worse.

I’m extremely fortunate to be in a job that is fairly low-stress, have an incredibly supportive family structure, and a good living situation. Even so, as someone with plenty of anxiety and related issues, even what may seem like a great life can get to be too much. I’m exceedingly grateful to be able to take a step back and some time off without having to worry about what a missed day of work will do to my finances or letting down someone who relies on me to take care of them. 

My days off were mostly spent laying on my couch, playing with my pets, watching whatever shows/movies I’d been wanting to catch up on with some sports sprinkled in for good measure. Thanks to the storm, leaving wasn’t even really in the cards anyway, so the prospect of human interaction was generally off the table. By the time Sunday came around, I felt rested, relaxed, and even tackled some of the chores that had been waiting for me. I finally felt like a person again, not just some robot barely going through the motions.

By Monday, I had decompressed enough that even a dead car battery didn’t ruin my day. Had something like that happened last week, it would’ve been liable to trigger an anxious meltdown. As it were, I walked the block to work (still very cold and icy), then took care of jumping the car after my day’s appointments.

If you’re feeling burnt out or just plain exhausted, it’s easy to continue to beat yourself up for your feelings on top of all the other perceived failings you see . It’s bad enough to struggle with school, or work, or home duties, but to add the internal pressure and disappointment makes a small hurdle look like an insurmountable mountain. I’m no great philosopher or psychologist, just someone who’s been through it asking people to be just a little easier on themselves. Take a break once in a while and really check out. I’ve even got wonderful television recommendations to cease as much brain activity as possible! We’re all doing our best, so let’s be kind to ourselves. We deserve it.

Chaplin
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Jamie Steyer 10 Articles
Staff Writer

Recent Iowa State graduate, current Iowa master's student, eternal artist, writer, and photographer.

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