I’m willing to bet that you’re reading this in the middle of a million other tasks you feel you need to do in order to feel “normal.” Or maybe you’re reading this in an attempt to get yourself out of a rut or improve your state of mind while feeling depressed. Either way, I’m here to help! A lot of times, we (meaning you, me, and everyone we know) feel like if we aren’t doing something, we’re failing.
On the contrary. If we aren’t doing something, that might be for a reason, and we need to be in tune with why that is.
Sometimes it’s enough to just be surviving in the world, “just getting by.” Everyone hits a point where they just can’t keep doing whatever routine tasks they’ve been doing. But we still forget to really take care of ourselves and understand that stopping or slowing down can be good for us.
Below are eight affirmations for you to remember to not be so hard on yourself when all you feel you can do is survive.
1.You do not have to finish all your tasks in a day.
Whether you’re depressed or you have been busy with work or school, sometimes your tasks start to pile up. You might feel helpless thinking about getting everything done, especially as you start to think of those tasks as urgent, no matter how urgent they may actually be. Then, in an effort to get on track, you may get into the mindset of thinking, “Everything will get done today — no stopping, only doing!”
While it seems like a good mindset to have, this mentality can in some ways actually be more destructive. When we set these goals for ourselves to get every single task or chore done, we are almost always setting ourselves up for failure and disappointment. It can be extremely difficult to get everything done in one day, and when it doesn’t happen, it feels like we failed. We then might slump back into feeling helpless and letting things pile up.
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It’s important to remember that it is better to take on tasks individually and complete them without feeling the need to rush onto the next thing. This way, you’re moving at a pace that is more beneficial to your mental health. Accordingly, you can foster a routine where tasks get done more consistently versus trying to finish everything but ending up feeling helpless.
2. Slow down and take it easy!
No matter what anyone says, we are typically a lot busier than people were twenty or thirty years ago. It may not seem like it on the surface, but we occupy much of our time doing something — using our phones, reading articles (like right now!), texting friends, watching TV, going to school or work, exercising, playing video games — as opposed to doing nothing, that is, relaxing. It’s easier now than it ever has been to constantly be distracted by something or be involved in some activity at all waking hours.
It has become the norm to think that “go-go-go” is the only way to live, when sometimes you just need to stop, or at the very least slow down.
Sometimes we need to realize when we’re pushing ourselves too hard to be doing literally anything. It’s important to come to terms with the fact that taking time for yourself to just relax is good for you. You just need to remember to breathe deeply from time to time.
In the same vein, when you feel like you just can’t do all those things you’re accustomed to doing, whether it’s because you’re tired or feeling depressed, then that is okay too. You do not have to constantly be doing something in order to be “okay.”
3. Sleep is important (and naps are too!).
While you are in “go-go-go” mode, you often forget to do the things that actually matter for your survival. One of the first important activities that goes is sleep. You probably find yourself constantly tired, feeling like you have not had enough sleep, or like you need to always be awake to do all the things you didn’t get to do during your waking hours.
Sleep is good for you. Letting your body and brain rest during sleep is one of the reasons why we have survived as a species, because we are sharper, more efficient, and happier when we have slept.
Of course, sometimes our schedules make it hard to sleep at night, or you might have a condition that prevents you from sleeping. While you are making time to just relax, you also benefit from finding time to take naps, especially if your schedule or condition makes you sleepy during the day.
4. Don’t starve yourself (of food or love).
Sleep is not the only thing we give up when we are too focused on getting our daily tasks done. Food is another item we forego, whether it’s eating less than normal or not eating at all, even for days at a time. This can also be caused by having low self-esteem and feeling like you don’t deserve to have food.
You have to know that being able to survive and get to the next day means treating your body with care, and that means nourishing it properly.
We also tend to starve our bodies of love, which is another important part of surviving. If there is nothing else you can do, you should at the very least make sure you are surrounding yourself with love and treating your body with the care it deserves, even if it seems impossible. You and your body will be much happier for it.
5. It’s okay to feel good and like what you like.
Whether we are trying to get everything done at once or we’re feeling depressed, we often forget that we deserve to do things that make us feel good. For many of you, I would bet that you have not done something that makes you truly feel good in the last 24 hours, or 48 hours, or a week, or even longer.
Sometimes this is because we feel like we just don’t have the time, or it’s because we feel like we don’t deserve to feel good because we have a negative view of ourselves. It might even have to do with a feeling of shame, that what you like or what makes you feel good isn’t “normal,” because someone has made you feel bad about liking what you like.
You definitely deserve to feel good, and you definitely deserve to do things that make you feel good, especially if those things help you survive to the next day. You deserve to take the time to do whatever it is that you love doing (so long as you aren’t harming anyone or anything else, of course!).
But even more importantly, you should never feel ashamed of the things you like, whether it’s music, a video game, listening to a podcast, watching a TV show, or even just sleeping.
6. It’s okay to avoid stressful social situations.
You have probably been in the situation more than once where you ended up at a party, function, or event that you truly did not want to attend. Maybe you just didn’t like the people who were going to be there, or your friends guilted you into getting out the of the house. You spent the whole time thinking about all the other things you’d rather be doing.
It is much easier said than done, but you do not have to subject yourself to uncomfortable social situations if you don’t want to. You should not have to explain yourself, either — just a simple, “Sorry, I can’t go this time” should be enough for understanding friends.
Your first responsibility is yourself, and you need to make sure you are okay.
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You do not need to feel bad for not wanting to put yourself in a situation that makes you feel bad in any way. We must learn to be happy by ourselves more often.
7. Don’t be afraid to accept help from people who care.
There are many times where we think we need to handle our problems by ourselves. We feel like no one else will care about our issues, or we feel like we can’t trust other people to really help us. You probably have experienced this with even your closest friends, where you sometimes feel like you bother your friends too much or that they just don’t understand.
You try to survive the days by not interacting with others. While this can sometimes be a good way to avoid additional drama, some days that distance can be a hindrance.
Sometimes, surviving means letting people in to help make it through the hard times. If you have people that you consider close, whether it’s friends, family, a romantic partner, or even a coworker, you should try to reach out, have them understand your needs, and be willing to accept the help they’re able to give.
Surviving does not have to happen in solitude.
8. You don’t have to be perfect!
What all of this boils down to is one simple concept: you don’t have to be perfect. Surviving is enough, and you should not feel bad if that is all you can manage sometimes.
You don’t have to do every single little thing you’ve decided is important to do. You do not have to cater to the needs or norms of the people in your life if it might be harmful to you or your mental health. You do not need to be ashamed of loving what you love or doing things that make you feel good. You do not need to give up sleep or naps because you feel like they’re just a waste of time.
You need to understand that as long as you aren’t hurting yourself, as long as you can manage to survive the day, then you are doing just fine, and that by itself is perfect.
[Feature Image: A black and white photograph of a person with dark skin and short cropped hair holding their face in their hands in anguish. They are shirtless. A blurred room is behind them. Source: Pluetoe for Pexels]