I’ve written before about needing to slow down, take a pause, just b r e a t h e. Practicing self-care when I’m the most rushed and hectic.

I’ve come to discover that just simply talking about the idea once hasn’t exactly fixed all my issues of being busy. Fancy that. I’m a bit in over my head with this fall season. Finishing school while working and interning, plus being involved in several groups on campus, plus homework, writing, and being active in my relationship, friendships, and family has turned into one giant circus that I’m trying to conduct in my brain. In fact, just writing that last sentence stressed me out.

Outside pressures tell me to do more: make yourself stand out from your peers, be involved in all that you can, get educated without accruing debt, live each moment to its fullest, pursue your heart’s desires, put yourself out there.

Can I just be honest for a minute? Sometimes my heart’s desires need to be put on pause so that I can actually enjoy the moment I am in.

You can fight and work for all the things you love – and you should – but there might be some moments where you come away a bit bruised and battered. Sometimes working hard at your passions and dreams means taking a time out, a step back, a nap.

I’m my number one enemy sometimes because I can put the whole word’s weight on my shoulders. I shouldn’t be slowing down, I should be working harder, I think to myself. If she can do it, I should be able to do it. I need to be more, I must succeed at everything. Not only is this impossible and unrealistic, it’s damaging. Because if I follow my own advice, I quite possibly could end up down the road having all that I’ve dreamed for. Perhaps I’ll be a full-time writer, a part-time photographer, who paints and makes delicious coffee and pies, who reads great literature on the weekends after my weekly shop at Whole Foods. Maybe I’ll have a secure job and healthy savings. But it’s very possible that I’ll achieve those things and be too worn out, too exhausted, too beaten down by stress and a hectic lifestyle to even enjoy what I have worked so hard at getting.

In case you need to hear this today, too, I’ll say it again: Sometimes working towards your passions and dreams means taking a break, going on a vacation, soaking in the tub, eating delicious food away from your desk, letting your eyes adjust to the sunlight away from your screen.

No matter how badly I want to graduate, do well in my internships, be the best girlfriend, or survive on 6 hours of sleep every night, if I am miserable, bent crooked out of anxiety and stress, it won’t be worth it. Remember to enjoy the here and the now while you work toward the future.

These are my top three self-care tips:

✛ Stop – Turn off the computer, put down the assignment, walk away from the conflict.
If you’re like me, there is always another thing to do. The tasks and to-dos are never ending. Choose right now to be the moment you hit pause. Go outside, find a bench, and bask in the beauty of nature. Close your eyes and take a blissful nap, letting your mind rest as you sleep. Let your head and heart be open, uncluttered, free from the jobs and the work and the chores, even for just fifteen minutes. Breathe.

✛ Indulge – A bar of chocolate, sinking low into the bath, reading for pleasure, watching a sunset. Do something that is luxurious for you. Whatever makes you feel like you. Practice doing the things that don’t feel like work or a task, that make you happier and healthier. For me this is journaling, sipping on chamomile tea, taking a bath or long, hot shower, and curling up with a blanket and my cats.

✛ Connect – The things that overwhelm me seem much smaller after I’ve discussed them with Tyler or a close friend. I suddenly don’t feel half as alone or that I’m the only person in the history of the world who has ever been this overwhelmed. Communicating with people who support us reminds us that we are not alone. Perhaps you’re over-thinking the problem or need a fresh set of eyes to help figure out how you can move past an issue.

I hope these little tips can help you focus on how you are doing right this moment and remind you to be easy on yourself. You are just one person and there is only so much you can do today.

“Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could. Some blunders and absurdities no doubt crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day. You shall begin it serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense.” Emerson

Let me know in the comments below what you do to take care of yourself when you feel overwhelmed and stressed. I’d love to exchange tips!