You Time >

One of my intentions this year is to create more of a balance in my life. This balance has clear boundaries with each component of my life not taking full precedence over another.  With a full time job (that I absolutely love), work travel (which I’m incredibly grateful for), my passion project, my family and my friends, I’ve realized how much more difficult it is to make time for yourself and allow new experiences to flow into your life.

Most people use social engagements and/or activities as a form of unwinding. I’m the opposite - unwinding for me is being alone, in my own element. I mean don’t get me wrong, going out with your friends and being in social situations is fun - sometimes, but everyone has a cap, and once I hit mine I’m notorious for pulling an Irish exit. ✌️Ever heard of JOMO? (Joy of Missing Out) It’s a real thing.

My job is one that excites me, challenges me, and motivates me. I have met some of the most amazing people who have essentially become my second family. When you travel with your team so often and spend so much time with them outside of the typical 9AM - 5PM, you really get to connect on a deeper level. Some of my best memories with my team are the ones where we stayed up till 3AM working on J.Lo video edits for the VMAs or working on a set build till midnight, or deliriously eating Sugarfish after wrapping two shoots in one day, or having a spontaneous team bonding trip to Vegas just because, or going on my first Eat Pray Love Journey to Morocco with a colleague who is now one of my best friends. I will be forever grateful for these memories with these very special people. I’ve learned though, that it’s a delicate balance of work, play, and solitude.

I used to think that filling up my schedule after work every day and being a “yes woman” would make me feel fulfilled. There’s this unsaid, unnerving pressure on women to meet these standards of propriety in the workplace and beyond -- be social, always go out, attend work-events to show face, and keep smiling even though you aren’t entirely present or willing. There’s an expectation on women to fit a social mold to be like-able and fun. This standard applies to every hour of the workday, and every day of the week. Such tendencies are fairly destructive to your mental health which is why I’ve learned how important it is to set boundaries and take that time for yourself.

In the beginning, I felt great making plans all the time and getting out of the house, but it got old real quick. It actually overwhelmed me - being around people all day and then doing something after work with more people. I would come home drained and not have the energy to do what I had actually planned for myself. I started noticing that although I was keeping my promises to others, I was actually doing myself a huge disservice by not following through on my own intentions.

So next time you’re trying to cancel plans with someone because you need some TLC, just send them this Tweet:

accurate footage

of me once I receive that “hey can we raincheck?” text.

Below is one of my favorite verses from a poetry book that brings me home to myself every time I read it:

all this while

words kept rolling out

of my flesh

to find

a home that fits.

in you

pg. 160 | Udaari by Vinati

2018 was a year filled with an incredible amount of soul searching, solo travel, and new experiences - some amazing, some weird, some uncomfortable, but all of which culminated to my own personal growth. To all my introverts out there, I connect with you on a spiritual level. This past year, I learned to not be afraid to say no - never feeling sorry about it. Passing up on plans to make time for yourself is okay and very powerful. I wish I had always known the power of you time and how necessary it is for your mental health, for re-centering your mind, and for just taking care of yourself.

So what does “you time” entail? Anything you, your body, your mind, or your soul need that day. Maybe it’s a hard core workout, a good book, a bubble bath with essential oils, maybe it’s Facetiming someone you love or miss, or throwing on your headphones and going on a walk, or maybe it’s just turning off your phone and meditating in silence. Whatever it is that you need, your body will tell you - listen to it, honor it.

At the end of the day, no one’s got you like you. In life’s moments of uncertainty, confusion, and exhaustion there is nothing more I crave than being with myself - take the time to disconnect everyday (even if it’s for just a little while) from the world and spend it with yourself.

I’d love to connect with you all offline as well!

If you’d like a list of poetry books that have helped recenter my mind, send me a message @shants_reddy.