She is Self-loved! Are you?

It’s 3 pm in Busan.

It started raining in the afternoon. Not like a heavy shower. But more like a sprinkler shot. Breezy, dripping kind of rain. Which is always my scene. I hate big showers. If I get caught in the middle of a shower.. then trust me that’s my apocalypse.

Photo by Ahalya Arulnayagam on Unsplash

I always wanted to take a break. Now that I am running behind deadlines, I thought it is best if I could take the evening off. I always feel guilty to take a day off with all others working in the lab. But I guess, I am burning too much this week so I decided to put back my personal guilt and move on. With the weather being soothing, I thought the universe is giving me a sign.

I exactly don’t have a place in mind to go to. But I just thought I’ll figure it out on the way downtown. So I got on the bus, reached Nampo (Busan town) did some shopping which I am gonna regret later, and wandered along some streets. When I got tired and hit a cafe in Nampo dong, a classic, vintage cafe; one of my me-only spots in Busan.

Cafe Casaora. The name does not give you a sense (at all). But the cafe is a specialized hand drip coffee place; which is quite uncommon in Busan. Hand drip coffee is one of my good experiences in South Korea, I’d say which convinced me to switch from Latte to Americano-Black.

Strawberry Waffle and French Vanilla Latte (Photo by the Author)
Photo by the Author

The cafe itself is a retro-cool spot if you want to indulge yourself in some alone times; much-needed break for me. I reached the cafe; ordered a French Vanilla Latte and a Strawberry Waffle; their signature menu and sat down in a quiet spot and started writing (or rather typing).

February went so fast. I had no time to sit and stream my life events for a moment. Grad school is becoming more exhausting these days and deadlines haunt me in the sleep. I was depressed most of the time, had a very worse panic attack, and went through an emotional breakdown personally.

When you choose academia for life, it doesn't come with research, prestige, and pride. but there will be side effects of anxiety, stress, and depression. I completely lost sleep for over a month. I can count the night where I slept for 5 hours. This never gets over. Once you reach your goals, you’ll see a piece of yourself shattered inside. That’s the time you realize “You need a break”.

I understood this research dilemma last year and since then I try my best to cope up with frequent breaks. But sometimes, you can’t help it.

When I was discussing with my colleagues who are outside academia, I noticed I am the one who is suffocated with work pressure in this much of gravity. But, it is understandable, that it is one of the prestigious fields, globally and we compete for the same recognition, positions, and grants. So it is mandatory we exhibit ourselves as one step ahead of the other. In doing so, we BRUN OUT.

Take-a-break
This is for people working not only in academia but also in a hard-working lifestyle…

IT IS OKAY TO TAKE A BREAK

You can listen to some music, watch a video, read a book, listen to a podcast, take a wall, exercise, do some crafts, or at least a mini-meditation to calm yourself down.

I personally recommend the website Take a Five (http://www.takeafive.com/) a self-destructing website within the time you select. You can watch videos or browse social media for 5 or 10 minutes and then the tab closes after the selected time. Also just check out the Drive and Listen (https://driveandlisten.herokuapp.com/), just a car simulation app together with radio music. Hope you’ll love it :)

Also, I started to some funny DIY stuff (silly me)

Photo By the Author

Post what you do for break time during work in the comments.

Loving yourself
Mental health in a working environment is so much important just like the way your skills are. Don’t forget that you signed up for what you are doing right now. Grad school, engineering, academia, the medical profession, and so on. You are not supposed to kill yourself for the sake of (just) a life goal.

Photo by Ahalya Arulnayagam on Unsplash

Be kind to others. At the same time, be kind to yourself. Self-passion, self-love, and self-care are much needed and you should learn to put yourself first no matter what comes next. You should know your worth and be able to embrace it every time.

You remember the song ‘I Love Me’ by Meghan Trainor… I especially soak myself into the lyrics of that song…

Go and raise your glass, give yourself a toast
I love all y’all, but I love me the most

I don’t mean to brag, I don’t mean to boast
I love all y’all, but I love me

There is a proverb in Tamil which literally translates into “Only if there’s a wall, can there be a drawing”. I wish you guys will take more care of your walls as you paint them.

Hope you all enjoyed this piece of writing. Thank you for the read. Follow me for more stories on Blank Voice. Connect with me on Twitter @ahalya_arul

Have a good day, folks. Don’t forget to smile :)

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Twin of ILLUMINATION to scale out

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