Taking A Break

Sometime last week I deleted all my social media apps on my phone. Instagram was the last to go, I thought to myself…where am I going to find workout inspiration? But I finally realized I was wasting way too much time on them. And it’s time to make up kettlebell flows and exercises on my own! I can do this!

No, I haven’t deleted all my accounts (twitter, fb, snapchat) because I still like them to keep with people from time to time. I open up facebook or twitter on my computer, but it’s a lot more annoying than just pulling it up on your phone. The thing is, it’s been sucking the life out of me. I’ve been comparing my life to other people way too much, and I’ve been “multi-tasking” too much. And by this I mean watching a tv show and browsing all the apps on my phone at the very same time. Studies have shown that kids who do this have terrible attention spans. And are bad at actually multi-tasking.

I’m about to go to grad school in a few months and one thing I’m going to have to work on is not watching so much TV and not playing on my phone so much. If I want time to take care of myself physically/mentally, I’m going to have to sacrifice those things. Because I’ll have classes, homework, clinical duties, and I’ll need to make time for self care and workouts especially (I swear I get more sore the less I workout). And I’ll have to make sacrifices in other places — maybe I don’t have time everyday to go to the gym, I might have to workout at home (but it’s much harder because I have less motivation). But I’ll try to be my best self every day.

I’m not the best with getting enough sleep because for some reason I get this massive energy boost later at night, and that will definitely be the toughest obstacle for these next few months. With food — I’m a lot better at understanding what I do/do not need. With exercise and understanding my body, I’m a lot better. I know when to push myself and when to finally back off and ask for help. But the thing I need to work on is that self-discipline. I lack self-discipline in stopping habits that are a waste, if that makes sense. It’s just “easier” to sit on your butt and watch TV all day, but at the end of the day I feel…empty.

Yesterday I finally had to force myself to go downstairs without my phone and just do some foot/ankle work. I played music on my computer (I’m getting into hip-hop by Asian-American artists and it’s been wonderful) but didn’t look twice at it. I built a little balance beam with the handle of a shovel and some wood blocks and practiced walking on it and pretty much massaging my feet on it. And then I just did some other stuff — we have a large mirror in the basement so I was just practicing foot positioning and muscle activations and… I had a grand time. I am sort of ashamed to say it was quite difficult to step away for a second. I think the scariest part is knowing that I will have to finally listen to my own thoughts, but it’ll get easier little by little.

So how has it been? It’s actually been nice. Truthfully, I don’t do much in real life anyway, so there’s not much to share. But I did some stuff I haven’t done in awhile. I sat and watched an entire soccer game on Friday (ok, I maybe left for 10 minutes, but it was a very depressing match). I had a few text conversations with friends (which is rare, mind you), and instead of feeling like I had to rush through responding to them, I actually had a lot of fun talking with them. In the end, I feel like most people on social media are barely considered a friend…you just “know” each other. And I’ve been so invested in what’s going on with them that I haven’t really paid much attention to my real friends.

I don’t have the kind of friendships where we text each other a lot. Sometimes I only talk to them once a month but I truthfully consider them my best friends. We all know that we all prefer to hangout in person. These next few months I’m still close by on the East coast. But by mid-summer, I’ll be over in Utah by myself and it’s not just for 6 months. It’s for 2 years. I don’t know the next time I will see my friends in person, and it is terrifying. It’s still difficult to think about the fact that I don’t live 5 minutes away from my best friends, and I guess that’s how everyone feels post-grad.

I’m excited to make new friends in grad school, but I want to spend these next few months really doing better with all the friends I have now. And I think that’s why taking this break from social media was important. Most of my friends have a tiny social media presence and I think that’s what made our friendships really good when we were close in distance. It was just about being together.

Now of course I have fears. I fear that my friends will find new friends. I’m scared that they won’t need me. I’m scared I’ll need them too much. But it’s good to confront fears and I think that it’ll be a good challenge for me. Especially since I’m pretty sure I forget how to talk to people who aren’t my parents, sisters or clients.

This was a weird post. It didn’t really turn out the way I wanted to. But I had a lot I wanted to say because I haven’t written in a few weeks. And not everything can be perfect. But most of all, what I wanted to say is that when you hit that low point…you’re the only one who can pull yourself up. Only you can take that final step. It’s one thing to realize you need change in your life, but it’s another to actually do it.

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Jen Xu

Athletic trainer, PhD student, coffee lover. I write about fitness, mental health, being Asian-American, and personal growth.