When was the last time you checked in with yourself?

A month or so ago I realized I was kind of on auto-pilot. Ever gotten like that? For me, it’s like I get so swept up in life’s routine, monotonous as it can be sometimes, and every day begins to seem a little like groundhog’s day. The only problem in this instance was that I was also feeling suuuuper low energy and exhausted constantly.

(The 90% humidity in Philly is only partially to blame here).

Every day I would come home from work, hop on my bed, scroll through social media and my eyes would be full on shutting before I knew it. Sometimes before 7 p.m.

The weird thing was that there was nothing out of the ordinary that would make me that exhausted. Work was busy, but I’m pretty much sedentary there. I didn’t even have the energy to workout, something I’m usually pretty good at forcing myself to do (I pretend to like to do it but simply I do not).

After about two or three weeks of that routine, I started to feel extremely sluggish, bloated and all around gross mentally and physically. I didn’t know what was going on or how I could snap out of it.

I knew what I had to do (work out, eat a damn vegetable, not go to bed when a 7 year old does) but I just couldn’t do it. It felt like I was being pulled into quicksand. Lazy quicksand. It was work, home, scroll Instagram, watch something on Hulu, pass out. Repeat.

I didn’t even realize I was practically suffocating myself. 

I kept going on like this day in and day out until one Saturday night. I went to a family party that afternoon and was extremely edgy all day. I snapped at anyone who spoke to me. I’ll admit, I do get a little edgy when I’m anxious, but nothing was really happening to set me off so I wasn’t sure what was going on with me. Usually when I get moody like that, I’ll remove myself from the situation.

Later that night I cancelled my plans to go out with a friend, and found myself crying hysterically in my bed. This is mildly concerning for someone who rarely cries.

Simply put, I exploded.

I didn’t know what the f was wrong with me. I didn’t know what triggered me. I called my mom upset. I told her I didn’t know why I was so sad. She was concerned.

“Everything is fine. Nothing happened.” I repeated to her over and over and over.

Except that’s where I was totally wrong.

After this major cry fest (that I’m embarrassed to tell whoever reads this that I had but WHATEVER IT’S FINE), I realized that everything wasn’t fine. In fact, things kinda sucked. This summer had a few really rough months for myself and for my family.

All of these things, combined with my own personal struggles, insecurities and the pressures that I carry with me on a daily basis, were bubbling up inside of me with nowhere to go.

My body’s defense against the scary, upsetting and very real things that were happening around me was to sleep, to isolate and to avoid.

I realized I was actively avoiding thinking.

I was avoiding getting upset at all costs.

In the car, when I would normally listen to music, I would listen to podcasts constantly so I could distract myself from whatever was on my mind… including the hurt of the past few months.

All of this is to say…

 I didn’t know any of this until I checked in with myself.

After the volcano of my emotions erupted, and I swore up and down that nothing was wrong, I took a step back and asked myself what was really going on. It was then that I came to terms with the fact that even though I was “acting” okay, I clearly wasn’t.

Advice time:

When life gets crazy, or even when it feels like it’s the same sh*t different day, make sure you take some time to check in with yourself. Even if it’s just once a week to ask yourself “hey, how we doin?” you’d be surprised what you find out about yourself and how you’re handling life, whatever it might throw at you.

The key, though, is to do it before it’s too late. You’ve gotta check in on –and face–your feelings — even the bad ones.

It’s not fun to be stressed. It’s not fun to be mad. And It’s definitely not fun to be sad. But those are all very real emotions we need to experience in our lives. Without those, the highs aren’t as high. It’s not fully living if we’re not living to our fullest, even if it hurts sometimes.

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