Radical decisions call for radical self-care

How I survived rerouting my career during a global pandemic, managing a mental health crisis, and learning to be more authentically myself than ever.*

*Disclaimer* You won’t get the whole story in this one post. I’m not that much of a sucker. You have to subscribe and continue to visit the website for that.

Self-care is a lot of work. It’s easy to fall into the self-care media trap, where everything is bath bombs, #SelfLove, and pretty yoga poses. More often than not, I’ve found the real healing begins when you’re crying into your yoga bolster at midnight—not when you’ve nailed that gorgeous pose for Instagram.

And that’s where this transformative journey begins, folks. Me, crying into a yoga bolster my partner (bless his soul) bought me because he knew I needed it. He did not anticipate it becoming the “I’m going to lay on the floor and sob” pillow, but it did the job either way.

You know how sometimes you feel change coming in your life? The wind blows a little differently, old (or new) friends begin to pop up in serendipitous places, or, depending on the kind of change, you just begin to feel it in your soul.

In June, I put my two-week notice in at the restaurant I had worked at for the past few years while I was building a business I loved and cared about. The restaurant life was definitely not for me. I hoped, after making that decision, that my life would finally be looking up. I thought that the source of all the stress I had felt for so long would be removed from my life and that would allow me to move forward. I thought that because I had been focusing all my efforts on the book publishing house—pouring all of my entrepreneurial and creative energy into it for two years—that the universe was pushing more of my energy there.

I was wrong.

After a myriad of managerial disputes and other serious issues, I made the most difficult decision of my life. I resigned from the company I had rebranded and built from a niche, regional outfit into a global brand with six imprints, spanning children’s picture books to adult fiction and nonfiction.

For the first time in my life, I had no path—or so I thought. From the time I was a child, to picking a college major, to navigating internships and my first freelance opportunities, I had always seen my path. I saw other options of course, and I dissected them in ways that made my college advisor bang his hand on his desk and yell “Stop planning so damn much!” (And if you knew him, you’d know that was a scary statement because the man is THE planner.)

But at that moment, there was no path I could see. It was as if all the stepping-stones had been enveloped in a deep fog. I could no longer see the options in front of me, let alone where that first step may lead.

I felt broken, exhausted, and defeated.

This isn’t the story of how I snapped out of it and started kicking ass. No, this is the story of how through two-months of tedious self-care—real selfcare—I survived the surprise summer of hell and have figured out how to do what makes me happy. Every. Single. Day.

This story won’t be told in one blog post. It won’t be a single YouTube video or photo on Instagram. This is just the beginning of it, so I hope you’ll stick around.

The end is further away than I thought.

And the best advice I’ve received thus far is, “Breathe. And get the fuck to work.” More on that later.

-H.R. Gordon

[Photo Credit: @AnnieSpratt on UnSplash.]

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