September was a really tough month for me. I went on a social media hiatus to give myself some time away from all the hustle and bustle of everyday life to reflect. I needed this time away because life was becoming unmanageable.
Feeling burnt out and emotionally strained (from the loss of a very close childhood friend), I had to take a step back from everything and look after myself. Unfortunately, my family did not support me through this time by giving me a break from my everyday responsibilities. Though, I don’t feel upset about it. After all, they didn’t grow up with my friend so the loss didn’t have the same effect on them as it did for me. Family is family, but no one understands me as well as I do. So, to give myself time to recover, I took time off from my regular authorship duties.
Goodbye was the 3 a.m. writing sprees. So long was the coffee naps. Farewell to non-stop planning and drafting on future projects and social media posts. Honestly, I missed it at first because I live and breathe ‘busy’. But, after three nights, I felt relieved because I was giving myself time to cope, reflect, and recover from everything that was going on in my life.
Grief is not something easy and I still have moments when I’m stuck in this strange in-between grey space of loneliness. Fortunately, the busyness from school resuming for my son has kept my mind occupied on teaching mathematics in the evenings.
Just like how I described it in my novel ‘Hold on please, Emily,’ we sometimes need to listen to ourselves to cope. Grief is something we face alone, and even though others will listen, we still walk down that path alone. So, listen to yourself when you’re grieving and remember that we all walk our own path at our own pace. It’s okay to hurt even if many days or weeks have passed since the loss. Take the time you need.
I truly think practicing self-kindness is an art. It requires you to identify what you need and to take action. The truth is, it isn’t simple in practice.
My heart is still hurting, but I know I cannot stay stuck in grief forever. However, through self-reflection, I’ve realized a few things. This month has taught me so much about myself and my career.
I realized that I need to practice a bit more self-love. Although it’s important to push myself to achieve greater and better things, I also need to be realistic and make smart goals that are suited for me. For instance, other indie authors typically release at least two books in their inaugural year, but I am not them. Not all authors have children, extended responsibilities for taking care of elderly family members, or a work schedule that is never reliable. I sometimes have weeks where it seems like a month-load of work and other weeks when I can spare a day off without falling behind—life of an editor who works project-based can be stressful.
Thus, my personal goals should align better with my needs—rest being one of them—for the betterment of my health in the long run. I don’t want to feel mentally drained when life happens again because we all know that life will happen again one day. Death is unfortunately inevitable and many members in my family are getting older as years go by. This is the sad reality, but being mentally prepared for everything will help me cope better in the future.
Do you practice self-love? Do you ever take a step back and ask yourself if you’re pushing yourself too much? Or, do you feel that we all should be pushing ourselves more so we can get the most out of our lives? This topic of discussion has no right or wrong answer, but it’s good to think about it as you make plans in your life.
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