Take Time for Yourself

Take Time for Yourself


These past 5 months I have spent living in Sweden, I have learned so much. When I say this I do not mean in school or academic wise (which if we are gonna be real I have learned absolutely nothing), but rather in terms of life lessons.

My amazing host mom, Bea, has taught me how to cook, hang dry my clothes, work a compost, and my personal favorite – clean a toilet. Not only has living in Sweden taught me how to do tasks, but also it has taught me a few key lessons that I will carry with me for the rest of my life. The most important one being how important it is to take time for yourself.

Last night Bea, Mats, and I were sitting around the kitchen table relaxing and digesting our delicious pizzas when we started talking about my life back home. I told them about my crazy schedule which often involved getting up at 5am to workout, a full day of school, followed by a few hours of nannying, soccer practice, and somehow trying to squeeze in the never ending mounds of homework. Each day it was the same craziness over and over again. Always moving, always busy, it got to the point where I felt like I was not even living anymore, I was just cruising through my days in autopilot.

My weekends were not any better, I often worked Fridays 2pm-1am, Saturdays the same or even worse if I had a double shift (9am-9pm), and Sundays from 9-5. The few hours of free time I did have on the weekends I spent doing homework or sleeping because I was just so exhausted.

Do not get me wrong, I was not depressed or even unhappy really. I was just living the life I knew to be “normal”. I liked being busy, always having something to do. Americans in general are like this I think. We are constantly running from one thing to another. Always busy, always working on something, trying to get ahead, all racing toward a finish line that does not exist.

That line really hits home for me. What is the rush? Why do we feel the need to constantly be busy, constantly moving, it is not healthy or good for us. The sad part is that we do not realize it. Like I said before I was fine living my super busy life. It was all I had ever known, even as a kid I was always bouncing from one sport practice to the next, always doing something. When I came to Sweden this all changed. I suddenly had A LOT of free time on my hands and to be honest, in the beginning I had no idea what to do with it.

My first week I almost had a panic attack because I just did not know what to do with myself which I think is pretty sad looking back on it. I had been so busy for so long that I had forgotten how to relax and take time for myself.

I began taking long walks, just letting my mind wander thinking about anything and everything. I spent an entire rainy day curled up on the couch with a cup of tea and a great book simply because I could. I found new hobbies/passions such as cooking, blogging, and researching all I can about health. I began to try new classes at the gym, working out not to lose weight, but because I wanted to, because our bodies deserve it, because it made me happy, because it made me love myself.

When I began taking time for myself, even just an hour a day, I noticed how much it changed me for the better. Thankfully, I have never had to battle some things that many teenagers my age today face such as eating disorders, depression, and drug addictions. I have always been a pretty happy girl, but now I have taken it to a new level. I realized that by taking a small piece of the day and dedicating it to yourself you can become so much more in tune with your body and mind. You become a more relaxed, happier, and healthier person.

Everyone deserves a break. Everyone NEEDS a break. Not just once in a while, or once a week, I am saying we all need a daily break. Whether it just be 10 minutes at night reading a book you like, or going for a short walk to clear your head. Life is too short to be constantly racing toward this never ending finish line. I hate to break it to you, but the only time you will ever cross it is when you are dead. There will always be a tomorrow filled with more work, more tasks, more appointments, more, more, more. So rather than keep racing, I urge you to stop, step back from reality, and spend a little more time on yourself, you deserve it.


Swedish Word of the Day – “stanna” – stop

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