Check In With Yourself
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Check In With Yourself

inhale ~ exhale

28
Check In With Yourself
Imogen Hendricks

It’s the end of April, beginning of May.

The days seemed to have shortened by a third though they’re supposed to be getting longer. The libraries seem smaller, these days, the silence more oppressive, like you can taste it. Hush, I’m too easily distracted right now. Study spots become more of a home than home itself, only you’re going home soon, and you’re not sure whether home means home or the room up three flights of stairs, turn left, with a view of the soccer fields and the sunset. Pages fill up in notebooks, notebooks run out of pages. The days tick by.

This time of the semester is extremely stressful. Just as you wrap up one assignment, another is given to you, the library fills up, even on weekend mornings, who decided to start using my study spot today of all days? The grass outside looks so luxurious, how dare someone start a Frisbee game while I’m in here, and there are papers to write, flashcards to make, suddenly your “easy reading assignment” stretches on for hours and hours feel like minutes: twenty-four minutes in a day.

Think: When was the last time you checked in with yourself?

How long has it been since you’ve consciously taken a deep breath? Do you remember eating lunch? How about smiling – have you done that recently? Can you recall the last break you took, how long it’s been since you stretched?

How are you feeling?

Don’t say stressed. Say grateful and find something to be grateful for. Take your mind off the work, off the exhaustion, off the pages you have to read. Take a breath. Release the tension in your neck. Put on your favorite song and dance to it – just for a minute. Your homework will wait, I promise.

Our biggest mistake during these stressful times is that we forget to pause. We’re so wrapped up in moving forward and getting things done that we forget that to recharge. But energy is not an endless supply.

Of course, recharging takes practice, I know. Sometimes there’s so much to do that you feel like if you take even one minute to close your eyes, the whole day is ruined. But the idea of “pushing through” is unrealistic. It hurts more than it helps. The days that you manage to get everything done without collapsing are those in which you’ve taken breaks.

Try this: give yourself permission to pause. Give yourself permission to get up and walk away from something that stresses you out – come back to it with a fresh perspective. Take a picture of a flower. Feel the grass under your bare feet. When you breathe, let your ribs expand to accommodate your lungs. Check in with your heartbeat.

Hi. How are you?

It’s good to greet yourself in this way, to find the places in you that need more oxygen, more space. Remember that things are going to be okay.

They will.

Just breathe.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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