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Earlier this month, I hit a wall. I remember walking into the living room of my apartment with tears streaming down my face as my roommates looked at me with a mix of horror and pity. I had finally broken.

My mind and I have been in a constant battle for years, this was nothing new. My main method of coping was that of running away. Whether that be through mindlessly scrolling through social media, filling my days with no room to breathe or sleeping the days away, I never wanted to approach my emotions head-on. As much as it benefitted me to not think about all the big things going on in my life, the breakups, the loneliness, the insecurities, I was completely stagnant. I wasn’t healing my wounds because I couldn’t even bring myself to look at them.

So, on a random day in early October, I elected to make a change. A permanent change. I couldn’t keep up with the exhaustion of dragging my emotional baggage with me everywhere I went. I was tired of running away from myself, I wanted to get to know her better. So I present to you, the individual who clicked on this article (because you are probably running away from your pain too), what I am doing to get acquainted with my psyche.

Less Phone time

I know, I know, we’ve probably all heard this a million times before, and I used to roll my eyes every time someone would tell me this, but it truly does help. Social media and technology are wonderful things, and it’s absolutely incredible that we can connect with anyone, anywhere, at any moment. But this doesn’t mean we have to. For me personally, I deactivated all of my accounts and deleted the apps from my phone, but it doesn’t need to be that extreme. Particularly in the morning and at night, it’s important to check in with yourself and take stock of your emotional standing of the day instead of letting your phone wake you up or lull you to sleep.

Journaling

Journaling is seriously one of the best things you can do for yourself. I didn’t realize how many pent-up emotions I had that were struggling to break through to the surface until I got out a pen and paper. A lot of times I don’t even know how I’m truly feeling until I write it down. There’s freedom with writing things down for nobody else but you to see. I choose to do this in the morning after I’ve gotten ready but it really doesn’t matter when you do it, all that matters is that you’re checking in with yourself.

consuming media (in a healthy way)

One of the best things about big emotions is that they aren’t singular to you. Chances are, if you’re feeling something, there’s a song, movie, TV show or book written by or about someone who is feeling the same way you are. So read it, watch it, or listen to it. It’s a beautiful thing to see exactly what you’re feeling put into words in a way you hadn’t thought of before. Laugh, cry or reflect as much as you need to.

set boundaries

I have been faithfully in therapy for almost two years now and the biggest thing I’ve learned so far is setting boundaries, sometimes with others, mainly with myself. Every time you overextend yourself or pick up that new project that you know you can’t handle, you’re disrespecting your boundaries with yourself. Honestly, if you take away anything from this, it’s knowing your limits. Know what you can and can’t handle, know what actions will make you joyous and which will do the otherwise and act accordingly. Respect and love yourself enough that you can enforce these boundaries with yourself and others.

just cry

Just cry when you feel like it. Put on a sad album (my go-to’s are Taylor Swift’s “Folklore” and Phoebe Bridgers’s “Punisher”) and cry the whole way through and if you don’t think you’re done listen to the entire album again and cry some more. It’s okay to cry until your pillow is damp or until you don’t have any tears left in you. Sometimes we just have to cry until we feel okay.

Zahra is a sophomore at Virginia Commonwealth University majoring in Journalism and Strategic Advertising with minors in French and Musical Theatre. She is a diehard Taylor Swift fan and likes to rewatch Legally Blonde every 3-5 business days. In her spare time, she likes to hang out with her two cats, Bonnie and Clyde, and spend an inordinate amount of time on Tiktok.
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