I Forced Myself To Take A Break From Writing And I Finally Learned How To Relax
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Health and Wellness

I Forced Myself To Take A Break From Writing And I Finally Learned How To Relax

And it was one of the best things I did for my mental health

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I Forced Myself To Take A Break From Writing And I Finally Learned How To Relax
Isabelle Panza

When I was younger, math was a subject I utterly failed in. I vividly remember my teacher's bold red handwriting on all my tests saying, "Come see me." In science, the only topic that would gain my attention was animals. Anything beyond animals, such as molecules and weather patterns, usually granted me a barley passing test grade. I always felt like I wasn't smart. Mathematicians and top science fair competitors (in the third grade) would bask in the attention and dozens of compliments from teachers, while I watched in jealousy. That continued up until my fifth grade when I got my first real writing assignment, "Write a two-page story about your favorite summer memory." And just like that, I feel in love with writing. For once in my life, I was getting good grades and even compliments from teachers. I joined writing clubs and found a group of people who, like me, sucked in math and excelled in writing. The passion infiltrated every part of my life. So unsurprisingly, when I got to college, I declared my major in journalism and minor in creative writing. I joined a fantastic team on Odyssey and continued to write my own stories in a folder on my computer called, "eh, maybe it'll work." But in early July, and amid the pandemic, I wrote to my editor at Odyseey, saying I needed a break. Something I thought I would never do, but I am so glad I did.

Why I Needed a Break 

Since March, I have been working as a cashier in an upscale supermarket. I worked long hours and dealt with a lot of customers who were flat out panicked and rude. Storytime: One time a lady made me pick up my tip money (two dollars) from the floor after I brought all 20 of her grocery bags out to her car and loaded them. She literally put the money on the floor and told me to pick it up. On top of dealing with some of those unsavory customers, I was stressed beyond belief. I am one of those people, and maybe it's because I'm a native New Yorker, who feels that they are failing at life if they aren't on the go. It started the domino effect in my head. I wasn't able to see my friends and extended family and the only two places I went to were my home and work. I tried to pour all of my pent up energy into writing, thinking it was going to help me sort out my thoughts. But then I had my eureka moment. I had to learn to be okay with relaxing.

What I learned: people value mental health 

My break from writing lasted a month and a half, and my experience was eye-opening. When I first went on my break, I had to text my Odyssey team to let them know that I was taking a brief hiatus and they were TOTALLY ACCEPTING. I realized that people are now taking mental health seriously, and know that part of caring for your mental health is taking breaks. Yes, even if that break is from something you love.

What I learned: a break from something can reignite passion 

Before my break, I was so saturated with the idea that I needed to write 24/7 in order to become an adequate writer. Before college, writing was my outlet for expression and acted as a therapeutic tool. But when I started to become obsessed with it, it became a job. And yes, that is ironic since I do want to have writing as part of my job one day. But when I say "job," I meant it was no longer something I looked forward to. But a month into my break I was itching to start writing again. I had a tiny moleskin book where I wrote ideas for Odyssey's articles and writings for myself. When I finally got to clank away at the keyboard again, it felt like it had years ago... amazing.

What I learned: taking a break from something you love, makes you find new things to love

So my title is pretty self-explanatory. But when I took a break from writing, I had so much time on my hands to burn that I started to put all my energy into other things. I found so many new things that I enjoy. I fell in love with yoga and now I have to do it every morning or else I'm in a terrible mood. I learned to love the Peloton, even when the instructors kick my butt. And most importantly, I learned how to love relaxing. I realize that mental health should always be my top priority, and we have to support other people in their mental health journeys, just like my Odyssey team did for me.

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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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