This is for the strong ones. Are you one of them? Some days it feels like you’re exhausted from showing up, exhausted for always being the leader, exhausted because you feel you can’t make mistakes, exhausted just to wake up. I’m going to share how I deal with the hard days even when it feels you should be “strong”.
For so long, I’ve felt I had to be the strong one. I grew up as the oldest in a first-generation Mexican American family. As means of survival, I helped my single mom raise my sisters, cook, clean, tutor, care-take, entertain, encourage, listen, cheer, protect, change diapers, you name it I did it. The pressure was heavy. Sure, I got older, my mom remarried, we had a second real parent, but the self-pressure to be “perfect” was part of my being.
I share this, because I’ve heard similar stories from my news friends, immigrant families or not. In large part, this self-pressure of being “perfect” followed me into my journalism career. This self-pressure to not let my team down, not let my community down, not let myself down, always give 150% at all costs and keep going past the point of exhaustion. In many ways, this is also what journalism culture teaches.
It’s taken me years of healing, unlearing, therapy and self-compassion to learn it’s ok to be selfish, and take care of yourself first. I’m not suggesting dropping all your journalism skills and bailing on an important story, I’m simply asking you to be curious if showing up at 150% everyday is nourishing your brain.
Things are always easier said than done, so today I want to share with you a little mind-hack I started practicing:
I do my best every day, but every day my best looks different
- Think about the days that are really hard (breaking news, emotionally depleted, hard to show up, thought about calling in)
- Ask yourself, what would bring you joy on that hard day and what would your “best” look like
- It’s ok if your best on a hard day is simply showing up
- Maybe your best is getting through the day and remembering to eat
- Maybe your best day is to get your story written, without it being the next award winner
- Write down what your best day would look like for this hard day
- Proceed with your day, knowing not every day has to be an award-winning day, some days our best looks like just showing up
On the days that are difficult, restorative yoga practices and yoga practices focusing on the 4th energy space, heart opening and back strengthening are extra nourishing. Check out my online video library if you need some movement practice.
Remember newsies, it’s ok to not be ok. It’s time we normalize mental health in newsrooms.