It sounds simple, but it’s so easy to forget. In this fast paced world we live in, people seem to forget to slow down. They forget to stop when they need to stop. We’re so used to moving, going, doing, constantly on the run to get something done. We need to remind ourselves it’s okay to stop every once in a while, it’s okay to just sit, to just be there and not be doing anything. Just existing.

If meditation has taught me one thing, it’s awareness. The awareness of myself, of my body, of my emotions, of my needs both physical and mental, it’s taught me to be aware of my existence. It’s allowed me to take the time to listen to and understand myself so much deeper than I had before, which is really a powerful thing.

I’ve always got a million things on my mind, even when there’s nothing that I need to do, I’m always coming up with these lists of projects and ideas and things to do. Some days I’m just on a roll, some days I feel great. Other days, I seem to have no energy and I spend the entire day stressing about the things I need to do but somehow managing to not get a single thing done. It’s okay to be unproductive every so often, it’s okay to be lazy sometimes. It’s okay to take time for ourselves when we need it. I’ve learned not to push myself when I’m not feeling it. We can’t always be feeling it, and I know I need that time for a break.

All I’m saying is that it’s important to stop and listen to ourselves. Listen to our bodies and our emotions. Listen when we are exhausted or sad or depressed or happy or excited or confused. Not get overwhelmed, not run away or ignore it, just listen, understand, feel what we are feeling. It probably isn’t as bad or scary as we think it is.

It’s important to take a break every once in a while, in whatever way we need to. Whether it is meditating, whether it’s just sitting for 5 minutes and not thinking about anything, whether it’s just taking your time to really enjoy your lunch, whether it’s watching your favorite movie just because you feel like it, or maybe getting lost in your art or music for a little while. Whatever it is that you need. We need to take care of ourselves first.

And there’s always going to be bad days, there’s always going to be off days. Lots of them. I know there’s no shortage of stresses is life, no shortage of things that may make us sad or depressed, no shortage of pain. It’s always going to be there, in one way or another. There’s no avoiding that. But I’ve realized it’s okay to feel those things, it’s okay to stop and let ourselves feel that pain, that energy, to understand it. We don’t need to let that pain destroy us, we don’t need to let it take over. It’s okay to be sad, it’s okay to let ourselves cry every once in a while, to just let it out. It’s okay to just stop when you are so physically or mentally exhausted. Whether it’s just for a minute during a stressful situation or taking a week of vacation, we need that. We need that time to rediscover that energy, to regain our sanity. Avoiding that is not going to get you anywhere.

We’re all wired differently. We all have different needs, physically or mentally. Only we can understand what we need for ourselves, so we need to listen to that and we need to take care of ourselves.

Remember to listen to yourself. When you need to stop, stop. When you need to rest, rest. When you’re on a roll, be on a roll. And when you’re happy, be happy.

Know yourself, give yourself the time you need when you need it. Remember the importance of taking care of yourself.

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