When Being Strong Gets Heavy

Sarah McMahon
4 min readJan 27, 2022

[Listen to an audio version of this blog here.]

I’m so tired, I thought to myself. Tired of fighting my demons, tired of pushing my mental and physical limits, tired of absorbing the emotions of others, tired of taking care of all the annoying adult shit that needs to be taken care of. I felt spread thin, like a bear ready for a long hibernation that just hasn’t found a spot to rest.

Taking care of ourselves can be hard. Sometimes, life just feels like a constant struggle, which is exactly how it should be. But we all have our breaking points, and I’m just tired. I’ve been struggling against something for a long time. I fought my eating disorder for a decade, then struggled with the ramifications of a broken body, tattered self-worth, and an unhealthy and unsafe relationship. Then I had to struggle to survive, to find a way to make enough money not only to live but to pay for things like flat tires and root canals and flights and insurance. I struggled to understand the world of corporate America: a world that on most levels seems diametrically opposed to who I am. I’ve struggled to figure out where I want to live, who I want to be, who I want to be around. I’ve struggled to build a stronger body and a stronger mind. And for all the consistency I’ve found in this blog, I’ve more often than not, struggled to write.

Rationally, I know that struggling is exactly the point of doing anything. If life were easy, it wouldn’t be nearly as satisfying. But there is a point at which struggle becomes less satisfying and more oppressive. And when life gets hard, there isn’t a whole lot we can do other than accept the hardship and work through it. What we can do in hard times is prioritize self care, so here’s how I’m taking care of me this week, and how you might take care of you too.

  1. Go to bed. Seriously, just sleep. Your brain will work better and your body will feel better. Nobody will notice if you log off an hour early. The thing you think needs to be done now can wait. Put your phone away, take a warm shower, drink some tea, and go tf to sleep.
  2. Say no. No to the dinner you don’t want to go to. No to the favor you can’t follow through on. No to staying up too late for the sake of socializing. No to spending money you don’t have for an experience you don’t want. No to the energy…