Reflections: Recognizing My Needs

Last week, being in almost a month of a near pre-pandemic workflow, I recognized that I needed to practice some self-care and take a “mental health day.” Many said how proud they were for me recognizing the need to do so, and as such I treated it as taking care of myself.

I have scheduled and kind of squeaked at mental health days over the past two and a half years. The first one I had scheduled, I discovered a big issue in my first apartment and as such it required me to vacate it and five months later terminate my lease and get back on my feet, which I did in a short amount of time luckily. I count my blessings every day. As we are entering what will likely be the end of the third year of the COVID-19 pandemic and things continually to return to pre-pandemic manners while being cognizant of the pandemic that still is, it is more than ever prevalent that I needed a mental health day. 

Saying that you need to take a day for yourself isn’t easy to do sometimes, especially when my first attempt to do something of this magnitude was the catalyst for major issues that was very long-term in nature and ultimately resulted in a breaking point. Those providing services to me recognize that it is a GOOD thing to take a mental health day and it is a GOOD thing that I am recognizing that I needed it. As someone recently told me, Self-Care is important. 

Taking time for me can also be difficult because most of my life, I have always sought the validation of my mother, who can often be my co-regulator and while she knows what is best for me, it can be difficult for me to hear when she is unsure or uncertain of whether I think I am doing the right thing. I am starting to understand that there has to be a healthy balance of things to make everything work together in the world. I know that not thinking sensibly will result in unhealthy behaviors.

I spent the day sleeping in, getting nearly 9 hours of sleep, which I can agree was desperately needed. I also continued down the path of taking care of things that needed to be taken care of along with fueling my need to meet my special interests and blog needs, as they were both healthy for me. There was no rush for completing things during the day, and while there as a loose agenda, it felt good to accomplish so many things that can help me take pride in a better environment.

My mother was more supportive than I thought, When she recognized that I was following through with my plan to take a mental health day. She later sent social media posts such as poems and an idea of making a list of all the things I was thankful for. I took a notepad from a local politician that was not wide, but about the length of a standard sheet of paper and started thinking of the things to be thankful for. It started with the standard things like my home, job, and day program, then I thought of the things that people look for me as and share with them and the elements of the elements and those that make living independently a reality and just everything in life. Pretty soon, I had the whole sheet full and was still thinking. 

This exercise really put me in a better place. It made me realize that I need to look at this list and see the things that I have in my life that I many times take for granted and don’t realize how tough it could be without them, I realize that I too need to treasure the gift of the day and the ability to breathe easier knowing that I am taking care of my needs as it should be a regular need and it is OK to do so as I see necessary. That it is OK to take care of myself and my needs as much as I need to, despite what others think or have an idea of, you can’t pour from an empty cup without taking care of you first, and the taking a day for me provided me with the insight and fresh clarity that my mind needed to do the things that I do.

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