Because sometimes we need to keep breathing…

Stones,

So I took a brief hiatus to take a breather. I use the term “brief” very loosely because I haven’t written the whole month of September and it’s almost over. Burn out is no joke and writer’s block is a killer condition. Burnout is the killer of dreams.

I’ve been in love with writing for as long as I can remember but burnout and imposter syndrome have stopped my progress like clockwork. I know that burnout doesn’t apply to just creatives. I can only imagine how many doctors and lawyers feel like trying to save the world is hopeless. I encourage you to keep going, creatives, professionals, and all those in between. It’ll all pay off in the end.

While we are on that note.

Fall is rapidly approaching. September 22nd marks my favorite time of year; hoodies, jeans, boots, and soup and bread for every meal. As much as this my favorite time of year, for others it is a nightmare. It can be a very SAD time.

For those who are unaware, Seasonal Affective Disorder or SAD is a very common disorder that affects countless people all over the world. Seasonal Affective Disorder is “a type of depression that’s related to changes in seasons — SAD begins and ends at about the same times every year. If you’re like most people with SAD, your symptoms start in the fall and continue into the winter months, sapping your energy and making you feel moody. Less often, SAD causes depression in the spring or early summer.” (Mayoclinic.org).

Although studies have proven that the belief that suicides spike during the holidays is a common misconception, Seasonal Affective Disorder is a very real condition that plagues many during the holiday season. Some symptoms of SAD are range from anxiety and loss of interest to depression and insomnia. The most effective known treatment is light therapy which involves sitting underneath a light box.

For the benefit of my SAD stones, I have compiled a short list of self care tips that may help ease the pain. They may be overstated, overused and common tips, but they are effective.

The importance of sleep

Coming from a insomniac I know how difficult it is to get an adequate amount of sleep. Maybe anxiety and depression keep you up or maybe you just can’t turn your mind off. The body needs that recharge period because working until you collapse isn’t healthy and we can’t function properly on 2 hours of sleep. I know, I’ve tried. Seriously though, the body needs to reset and the mind needs to prepare for the stress of life in general because in a world that is ever changing stress is a constant.

The importance of eating right

This is typically coupled with good sleep hygiene. I’m sure that you’ve heard all of this before but this is important. When you aren’t eating right it affects your sleep which in turn affects your mood. Caffeine keeps you going but too much has a long term effect. Some studies show that a lack of protein can lead to psychosis in people with underlying mental health issues. Dehydration can lead to tiredness, irritation, and slow mental functions. The point is that eating right can help alleviate some symptoms.

The importance of taking breaks

Life is marathon not a sprint. As cliche as it sounds, its the truth. If we could all accomplish all of our goals in an afternoon then we’d be well off. Sadly that is not the case. I can only assume that we all want to be successful and have our talents recognized. Working on it nonstop and for hours will not get you there any faster and the burnout will kill all of your drive. Dedication is one thing but burning yourself into the ground is another.

The importance of a support system

I’ve recently been told that you cannot succeed without a support system. I’ve been trying for years to prove this theory wrong. I have failed miserably. I’m sure it’s possible to do but that burnout is a sneaky adversary. Even if you do accomplish a magnificent feat, is it worth it if you are all alone? Surround yourself with people who understand you, who are your biggest cheerleaders, who will check you when you need to be, and who will also lift you up.

The importance of quality time

Going along with a support system, sometimes you just need time alone with your own thoughts. It exerts energy to be around people especially for introverts. Basking in the warmth of the love and support from your loved ones is amazing, but solitude can be too. We must learn to enjoy our own company.

Ther importance of remember why you started

When the weight of being good enough weighs on you, it’s very easy to want to throw in the towel. Who wants to constantly feel consumed by the path that they have taken with no relief, no second to breathe, no moment to turn your mind off. This is when you have to stop everything and remember why you started, remember why you began this journey in the first place, remember when the very thought of your dream stoked the fire inside you. This can be so hard when everything seems hopeless. Remember your why.

The importance of sorbriety

For me, there was nothing better than having a small glass of wine and then sitting down to write a blog post. I’m not much of a drinker but I wanted to be like the stereotype. It never helped. I am not here to tell you not to drink or smoke or be recreational. All I’m saying is sometimes a clear head is all you need.

The importance of professionals

Sometimes we are strong enough to handle things all on our own. Often times, we need help. I am a strong advocate for therapy for everyone. There is a stigma around therapy but everyone needs an impartial unbiased person in their lives to just listen. It could save a life.

The importance of ‘moving your butt’

I think Amy Landino should coin the phrase. Any form of exercise is important. It helps release endorphins. Of course there are many other benefits, you become healthier, happier, and feel better over all. Like Elle Woods said, “Happy people don’t kill people.”

The importance of the pause

I use the app Calm for meditation. Like any meditation app they take you through the deep breathing exercising and they talk about a topic that relates to mindfulness. One of the topics that I remember clearly is about the the pause between breaths. The space in between the breathing that most people don’t even think about. But it’s a constant. One moment where nothing that most people take for granted. I say that to say that in between being busy and productive and the hustle and bustle of everyday life, we need to just pause. We need one second of stillness to recuperate and reassess what’s going on.

Bit of a long one, but I feel like it was definitely necessary. If you’ve made it to the end, I will include a link to Amy Landino’s page because she is awesome and I think that this is the second time I’ve mentioned her. As always I will include a link to my book Scarred and Faceless for all those who are interested in a small poetry collection.

Until next we meet,

S. Hollisway

Amy Landino

Scarred and Faceless