room to breathe.

by - 9/12/2017



I would apologize for the lack of posts last week, but the truth is, I'm about 2% sorry. I was on vacation, and as much as I planned to have posts out, I hit the beach and suddenly it seemed like a lot less of a priority. Hence the post today! Suffice it to say I had some things to do that were more important than blogging, like this view:


Just like we've done every year for the past ten years, my family piled into the car one Friday and drove down to the ever-beautiful South Carolina, to the tiny tucked-away beach town that's become my favorite place on earth. It's a solid week of beach, marsh, tiny town, and doing nothing at all, and it's glorious...with one exception. Usually this week comes with the unfortunate addition of the fact that my brain doesn't handle vacations well, and I don't know how to take a freaking break for once in my life. In past years I've given myself impossible goals and too many expectations, like being freed from work and school means I have more time to do alllll the writing things. When I'm not forcing myself into that I end up eating Doritos, watching a whole season of something in a day, and loathing myself the entire time for being lazy and not getting anything ~productive~ done. No matter what, my beach trips end up being marred with that constant ticking feeling that I should be doing something, and it drives me insane. It's a lose-lose death trap.

This year I tried something different.

This year, I've been busy. This year, I've been trying to battle the constant ticking time bomb of failure I've blogged about before, and I've been trying to develop healthier habits instead of wallowing in the bad ones. This year, I told myself, I was giving myself permission to relax

Not to be lazy. To relax. 

Relax is a funny word, also known in my family as "CHILL OUT FOR TWO SECONDS", and like most things, it takes practice. It's the act of not just sitting back and not doing the thing, but also of bringing your mind to that state, too. It's being able to sit down and purposefully rest your body and mind without the constant nagging sensation that you should be doing something. It's the worst.

This past week I sat back. I didn't set any writing goals. Any writing goals. (Probably a good thing. Every writing goal I've ever set for myself on vacation has been wildly optimistic at best.) I tried not to convince myself that I was going to have to read all the books in my stack. I just...chilled.

I read a book. It was nice. 

I took a nap. 

I took another nap. 

I sat on the porch and stared out at the marsh for a while: 
my brother, but still.
On the second day, I pulled my laptop out and wrote some words. I enjoyed it for once. 

On the third day, I went and hid in the tiny beach coffeeshop and wrote 3k without planning to and it was good. I didn't feel like I needed to do more. I felt content with what I'd done. I hadn't set any goals, so I didn't have anything to worry about hitting. 

Now...goals are a fantastic thing. I live for goals, man. Hitting them is satisfying and I think having them is important. But we get caught up in goals and feeling like we've done enough and having that life where we work work work work work but... 

We have to learn how to rest sometimes. We have to learn how to give ourselves permission to not do everything all at once. 

The thing I'm discovering slowly but surely is the idea that rest doesn't mean not being productive, or stopping work completely. It means releasing yourself from the pressure of constant work. Being able to say "I'll get things done when I'm ready, but I don't need to be doing constant things." When I took a breath, realized that it was okay to, yknow, do other things sometimes, I didn't become less productive, I became more productive. I got more done because when I did work, I wasn't forcing myself, I was coming to it when I was ready, and I was motivated to use the time wisely. 

I'm still working on this. I'm still struggling. After this next week vacation will be over, I'll go back to regular life, and I'll fall once again into the trap of cramming every free second with writing, writing, writing. I'll have to relearn all of this. I'll probably come back to this blog post and shake my head. "Wow, past Aimee was stupid." 

But...I can confirm it's not stupid. It's a process, but it's worth practicing. 

Work smarter, not constantly. 

Use your time in wise ways. 

Learn how to give yourself room to breathe. 

You work better when you've got some air. 



- Aimee

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7 Comments

  1. Bless this post. Bless. It.

    Relaxing is not something that comes easily to me, either. At. All. My entire family constantly tells me to relax, but I just feel like I CAN'T, and it's rather terrible. But I really have noticed that sometimes, when I'm not trying to force everything out of myself, I do end up getting more done. Ahaha, thank you for this. xD A very frequently needed reminder for sure.

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  2. *breathes* Thank you for posting this, Aimee. (Every post on this blog has gotten this same response and I'm sorry because that's boring but these posts are so relatable you have no idea.) I needed it. <3

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  3. I think I need to do a bit of relaxing, myself.
    Love the pictures!

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  4. Oh my gosh, this is so true! I burn myself out when I'm constantly trying to write, write, write and achieve all of my goals. Like you said, there's nothing wrong with goals, but YO, a girl's gotta get a nap sometimes! It's so important to rest. It DOES make you more productive. And I love how you started writing naturally once you were recharged! It brings more joy to the process. Thank you for this! <3

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  5. Yess this is so important. Wasting time is easy, but actually relaxing isn't. Again, you have to find a balance between doing stuff you enjoy so you don't waste the down time you have and not doing so much stuff that you drown. Anyway, bless this post!

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  6. Good thoughts. ❤

    Hailey
    www.haileyhudson.wordpress.com

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  7. I think this is such a beautiful reminder because this world is such a go go go get as much done as possible society. It's also interesting because if we don't have anything to "show" for our time, it is considered wasted time. But what about the time we spend with other people? We may not have anything to "show" for it, but our time impacting other peoples lives is so so important, even if the world considers it wasted time because we don't have something "done".
    Thanks for this reminder and I just followed your blog! I hope you will check mine out! :)

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