Hello sweet friend. How are you? Is your brain also a bit of a pancake?
I have been giving myself a lot of pep talks this month, from needed tough love moments to verbal hugs and Kris Jenner-like cheer sessions. I’ll be honest, I’m not sure who this blog post is more for, you or me, but if you’re also in need of a reminder that you’re doing just fine, today’s writing is for you.
It’s been a long, long year, and I think my brain, like many of our brains, is burnt out. It was just like December hit, and the stress of the months had piled up, and suddenly have been demanding full attention in the form of naps and an inability to focus.
Because even if we’re not conscious of it, we’re constantly being affected by the state of the world and all the micro-decisions that come with keeping ourselves and our loved ones safe. While also working from home. And trying to be safely social. And keeping ourselves fed and the bills paid and adult life cared for. And caring for others — including parents teaching and taking care of their kids while working full-time! And confronting racial injustice. And trying to keep small businesses we love afloat. And caring for our brains and our bodies. And continuing to create art and be present.
ITS A LOT! And you’ve been doing all this without even realizing it sometimes! That’s superhero status right there! And you showered today? I’m mailing you a medal because showing up for yourself and others, while juggling everything else, is extraordinary.
To all the parents running my meetings while watching their kids, I see you and am in awe. You deserve so much better than our benefits and systems have given you. To all the people who feel lonely during this time or unmotivated or detached, I feel you and I’ll bet if you start asking, you’ll see just how many people are feeling the same. But you’re anything but alone my sweet friend. To all the artists who have made their music and words and shows accessible during this time that they lost careers, thank you, you’ve kept me and my cats afloat. To all the people who chose to sacrifice trips or classes or routines or comfort to keep someone safe, we all thank you. And to anyone also feeling a little lost, a little grief-stricken and overwhelmed, you’re not alone. Feel it out without judgment, and know that someday, it will get better.
As writer L’Oreal Thompson Payton wrote this week: “Don’t let anyone bully you into ‘finishing the year strong.’ It’s enough to simply finish.”
During this time of year, hustle culture tends to demand extra attention. “Finish the year with a bang!” “Push through the pain until the end!” “Give this last month your all and RIDE!” But this year especially, hustle culture does not get to win. It will not fool us into thinking that on top of all we’ve done to show up everyday, that we should be doing more. Or that we need to be more motivated or resilient or this or that. This year it’s more important than ever to meet ourselves and our lives where they are and acknowledge the daily, tiny, important accomplishments we achieve to stay afloat or move ourselves forward.
Today, my goals were sitting down to write for a minute, going on a walk, doing hand wash, and being kind to myself if any of these things fell through. Some days my biggest accomplishments (and it feels huge!) are reseting myself halfway through the day when things just aren’t working, or taking a shower when I’d rather just crawl into bed. It’s making a healthy dinner instead of having popcorn and wine for a full meal. It’s reaching out when the loneliness feels isolating, and combating that voice that says I shouldn’t reach out because I’m not at my best.
Because that’s been another challenging aspect of this time, that despite us all going through similar situations and emotions, we have a tendency to feel alone in it. But reach out you should, even if it’s in the littlest way, because you’re not alone — especially in this feeling of loneliness.
While today or this week or this month might have felt like you barely got by or wasn’t what you hoped it would be, I promise you, you’re doing great. More than great! And if you don’t see it, the rest of us do and are here to give you a little nudge of love.
Whatever you need to do next or take more of, do it. Rest more, care for yourself more, read more, cook more, write more — spend time doing things that make your brain relax as best it can and give yourself time. Turn off the screens, look at a tree, do nothing, say no to things. Do whatever you need and know you’re enough just as you are. Because you already achieved the greatest goal of 2020, you showed up and kept going despite every obstacle. So give yourself permission to show up today as you are, without judgement, and be proud of your resilience.
You’re doing great sweetie and trust me, you got this.