Sometimes, You Just Need To Remember To Breathe


Sometimes, you need to sleep in. Or take a break. Or turn off your phone. Or get up and walk around. Or just make the world stop for a second so that you can unwind, you can decompress, you can let go, you can shake the weight of the world off your shoulders.

Because that’s a heavy load, isn’t it? All of your obligations, all of your chores, everything everybody expects you to do. Everything you expect yourself to do. Whether or not you need to do it, sometimes you want to do it, and so you take on the added responsibility and sometimes, it adds up.

Because we live in a society where if you don’t meet every single expectation and recommendation thrust upon us, you’re somehow less of a person. If you don’t do something meaningful and worthwhile at work, if you don’t work out, if you don’t eat your vegetables, if you don’t drink water, if you don’t spend every minute of every day moving forward to a better, stronger, newer, improved version of you. And sometimes, it’s good to do these things. We can always improve. But every once in a while, it still becomes a lot. Every once in a while, sometimes you just need to remember to pause.

And that’s okay.

Because if you don’t pause, you’ll break. You’ll snap in two, and it’ll be hard to put yourself back together. You’ll grow tired, worn down, resentful, restless if you don’t. You can put everyone else first for so long, and work your life around them and their schedule and their needs so often, that you forget how to think of what you need and what you want as anything more than an afterthought. And then you try to multitask and do everything anyway. And it’s tiring, and it’s exhausting and draining and will run you down, and suddenly, even just being yourself is a full-time job, on top of the job you already have.

These things can wait, usually. It’s something we often forget, because we’re too busy drowning each other out by demanding that our needs get met immediately. But how do you differentiate between your wants and your needs? What makes a want so important that it manifests into a need? Don’t you need to breathe? Don’t you need clarity? Of all the arbitrary things we do or don’t deserve — of all those most basic things to which we are really and truly entitled — shouldn’t we deserve to take the time every now and again, and just breathe?

I used to beat myself up for not being perfect at every turn. For skipping a workout, for not drinking enough water, for not anticipating every need my bosses had three days before they asked it, for X, Y, Z, or whatever other minor thing happened in my life. But that’s okay, because life isn’t a machine. Nor should it be. Minor things happen. Life isn’t perfect — it should be spontaneous and different and unpredictable and fun, but it’s far from perfect. And if you don’t take the time to decompress, and if you don’t really listen to yourself and what you need, not just what you need to do, you won’t be living anymore. You’ll just be some part in some machine.

And machine parts can get replaced.

But if you pause and breathe and try to remember that you’re worth taking your own time over, that you deserve your own patience and kindness, you’re doing something right. You’re making your life worth living.

So go ahead and sleep in, or breathe, or pause, or let yourself be imperfect. The world will keep spinning madly on, and it’s better that you don’t burn out before it stops.