Learning to Breathe

Remember when you were younger, and life during the warmer months revolved around being outside? Whether it was school recess or meeting a group of friends at the local park, you always wanted to be outside to get fresh air and run around. Because that’s what being a kid is about – living free without a care in the world.

striped tee and utility vest

While I had a great childhood and experienced most rights of passage that kids should go through, I can’t help but sometimes feel like I missed out on the carefree attitude of being an adolescent. And unfortunately, that has carried through with me into adulthood.

I always have been hard on myself and my own worst critic – while friends were outside playing four square, I most likely was inside working on homework. Even in college I typically forewent that night’s party or downtown bar hopping to hole myself up in my apartment to study and work ahead on assignments that weren’t due for another two weeks. And now, I sometimes catch myself turning down opportunities or not allowing myself a simple break to step outside for some air because I have work to catch up on, blog posts to write, laundry to fold, etc. Especially as a blogger and online creative, it is so easy to get wrapped up in social media accounts and webinars and other blogs and before you know it, it’s been four hours since you got up from your desk.

striped tee and utility vest

Women, as we know, have this even worse since practically everybody around us expects us to wear 10 different hats on any given day and manage to get every task finished. But, since the everyday pressures and hustle aren’t slowing down anytime soon, I’ve been making more of a conscious effort to recognize when I’m exhibiting one of my not-so-nice habits that I’ve harbored and developed over the years.

There are times, yes, when it still isn’t easy to walk away from the current project at hand, but there are other times when it just is necessary to close the laptop screen or put the planner away to step outside and simply breathe.

Are you hard on yourself? Do you allow yourself breaks during the day? Share some of your tips and coping mechanisms in the comments.

Linking up with Kristen.

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  • Girl, YES! There are some days I only get up from my desk at work to go to the bathroom or to a meeting. And there are even days where I’m so busy I forget to eat lunch or just don’t have time. Sometimes you just have to walk away. <3, Pamela Sequins & Sea Breezes

    • I can only imagine since you always discuss how hectic your work schedule is! At my former office job, it was the same way – I’m pretty sure I didn’t have a lunch break in the 3.5 years I was there. Sometimes, I guess we just have to put ourselves first and mandate a break – it’s so important for our health!

  • Yes to so much of this! Even though I’m so guilty of constantly remarking on how fast time goes by, I think this is a big part of it– getting so sucked into what you’re doing or working on that you don’t take even 20 minutes to stop and really enjoy and appreciate the day.

    • That is so true! I always comment about how fast the month went by or whatever, and that’s probably because I was holed up in front of the computer for a majority of it. We only have one life, guess we need to live it!

  • It seems like there is never enough time in the day right? It is so important to give ourselves a break once in a while, an actual one and mental health one 😉

    • Absolutely! The mental breaks are most important to me – I start to go a little crazy if I’m thinking about too many things at once.

  • Debra Stachelski

    Oh, this is hard to read today because I know how hard you are on yourself, and I also know how hard it is to change those things about yourself that you want to change. All I can say is give yourself permission to enjoy the life you want, and sometimes you have to say no! Something I struggle with everyday, but I don’t want you to!

    • It shouldn’t be hard to read! I just wanted to be honest and share some the struggles that I have there to hopefully help others take a step back and breathe. I don’t think I’ll ever stop being hard on myself – not sure where that came from, and apparently you and dad don’t either! – but I’m definitely working to improve it.

  • This is so true! I feel like no matter what I can’t get it all done, and never get to just breathe and be care free. Taking a step back from things and re-evaluating during the time of year you want to be outside and living life is so refreshing <3
    Green Fashionista

    • It really is! I do some of my best recharging and thinking when I take Finn on his daily walks – they’re good for both of us!

  • I hear you, lady + can totally sympathize. I share a few of these traits! I’m definitely goal-focused and pretty hard on myself, and this can make letting go + being carefree pretty tough.

    -Ashley
    Le Stylo Rouge

    • I’m glad I’m not the only one. I’m trying really hard to break some of those habits, but it just isn’t the easiest thing to do as I’m sure you know.

  • This is such a great reminder! My Grandpa always told me “don’t sweat the small stuff” and I always remember that saying when I’m starting to feel stressed about insignificant things and the daily ‘to-do’s’ that aren’t really that important in the long run!

  • I was the exact same way in college and growing up! I was always hard on myself and always striving to get the best grades and working on the next thing that was due! I find myself not taking breaks now when it comes to blogging either. This is such a good reminder that sometimes we just need to shut everything down and take a few minutes for ourselves or to be with family members.

    • Absolutely, lady! I know as an adult, things definitely aren’t going to ease up or slow down, so we have to find those little moments of quiet or peace everyday.

  • THIS. This is was as a kid and all the way up to college, too. I’m learning now (or trying to, at least) to just breathe and take a break every now and then.

    • It’s so comforting to know that I’m not the only one that was/is like this. It’s definitely a process to try to change some of those habits, but we have to try!

  • hugs lovely. i am not as hard on myself as i used to be. i think it got better with age, for me anyway. i definitely had some not so nice habits as well, but not so much anymore. well in my opinion anyway haha. it’s easy to get swept up, but life is short and all that jazz. gotta do you.

    • From everything that you’ve shared, it definitely seems like you’ve come a long way – I’m trying to take some pages out of your book and do the same! Definitely gotta do you always.

  • Biana Perez

    I was the same way as a kid and was always practicing tennis or doing homework, but then I totally gave myself a break in college ha! I think now I get overwhelmed when I look at my to-do list but as I tell my husband, will anything seriously be harmed if I don’t get it done, if the answer is no then I breathe and just enjoy my night LOL!

    • That is seriously such a good way to look at it – nobody will be harmed if I don’t finish the to do list!

  • Christina Sotherden

    Great Post, friend! I definitely relate a lot to this – Derek is so much more carefree than me and is always just saying “relax, take a break, let it all go…” and I must say recently just letting my to do lists go and not worrying as much about getting things done when I want them to be and just focusing more on relaxing and living has been nice!

    • Thanks, lady! Ryan is the same way – we definitely both have a tendency to get caught up in stuff, but he’s pretty good about telling me when to calm down and step away from something.

  • I am the worst at not remember to eat lunch until 4 PM because I get so focused on getting something done. I keep telling myself that I want to take time during lunch now that the weather is getting nicer to get up and walk around a bit outside but I feel like I need to put it in my Outlook calendar or something because somehow the day just flies! Thanks for the much-needed reminder! (PS still obsessed with those sunnies on you – so cute!!)

  • Emily Dunham

    This is the truth! I definitely need to work on letting go and giving myself a break at times. A lot easier said than done, though! I think something that helps me the most is I have moved from a huge to do list to only a few items that I know I can accomplish and won’t feel overwhelmed doing. If I do a little bit each day, it makes me still feel like I am accomplishing something, but not so much that I don’t have time to relax.

  • It is really hard to do that – I’ve had one of those weeks where I’ve let myself feel overwhelmed – so I can certainly appreciate this post! I’ve found that an extra cup of coffee (sounds silly, but I enjoy my coffee time) and Pure Barre really help.

    Zelle
    Southern Style

  • pinktogreen

    I can totally relate and agree that a lot of women are their own worst critic. I have found yoga to be such a great way to combat this. But when I don’t have time or can’t fit that in, just doing a simple gratitude journal before going to bed works wonders!

    • That is a great idea! Yoga does do wonders, and writing things down can help take things off your chest. Good suggestions!

  • I’m very hard on myself, so I can really relate to this. I’ve always been the “overachieving” type, and I can’t help but feel like a complete failure if I don’t finish a project in the time I wanted to, haven’t reached a certain goal, etc.

    A couple of things that have really helped me are regularly practicing yoga (this has been so beneficial for my issues with depression and anxiety as well) and giving myself permission not to be perfect. That probably sounds a little silly, but I was absolutely obsessed with being “perfect” throughout most of my life (which, as you can imagine, didn’t help when it came to my depression and anxiety). As I’ve gotten a little older, I’ve realized it’s okay to feel good about small accomplishments and realize that while it may not be my idea of “perfect,” it’s better than completely giving up or feeling like a failure.

    It’s definitely a work in progress, but I’m learning to recognize when I’m starting to get to a place mentally that I don’t like … And then I take a step back.

  • mdb0112

    I am really struggling with this. I feel so behind all the time and I feel like I don’t make the choice to look after my mental health first because I need to get everything done. I sat outside today for 2 hours and it really did a great thing for me and I hate that I forget that feeling when I get overwhelmed. xo, Champagne&Suburbs