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The last few weeks took quite a toll on my mental well-being. I ended the “Before I Die” wall with a huge high on life which ironically led to a strange dip in my life. My life became stagnant. I wasn’t going through depression or loss, but my life was different and I had to take a few steps back for some internal reflection.

To understand this post, you have to understand one thing about me. I have the desire to always be active. It’s something I can’t always control. I usually have a project going on, a practice to go to, a meeting to attend, or something to study for. I feel uncomfortable when I have free time and I end up thinking I’m forgetting to do something. I usually end up burnt out.

After finishing the “Before I Die” wall, I didn’t have any projects going on—my schoolwork was the only thing I was worried about. This meant I had a lot of free time. This meant I wasn’t doing anything with my life and I really should’ve picked up a bunch of projects so I could do something meaningful with my time and not feel like a useless piece of crap.

This meant feeling uncomfortable.

However, this time around, I stopped myself from panicking. I forced myself to be comfortable in that awfully uncomfortable situation. I took the downtime to reflect on what I’ve accomplished and, for once, give myself some credit. I allowed myself to relax and focus only on my academics. I prevented myself from taking on projects for the sake of being busy. Although I had a lot of energy, it felt great recuperating from my burnout.

The energy was needed because, in two weeks, I wrote three lab reports, had two job interviews, practiced and performed for the Soulstice Talent Competition, taught my weekly breaking class, had two lab reports to submit, and wrote a research proposal. I became exhausted again.

Everything seemed to fall into place. I drop from a high on life to a huge dip. I recuperated then got burnt out. I took a few steps forward just to take more steps back. Now, because I don’t have any finals, I’m recuperating again. I’m refreshed. I have projects to take care of. Things are relatively back to normal and I’m moving forward again.

Just remember that sometimes, taking a break is the most productive thing to do. You shouldn’t always keep pushing when you’re exhausted. Your work quality will be subpar and you’ll grow to hate what you’re doing. If you’re burnt out, take a break—even a short one will help. Reflect on what you’ve been doing, what you can do differently, what you want to do, and what you will do. When you get back to work, keep those things in mind and continue to push on.

Your mental well-being is important. You’ll need to take care of it to become remarkable.