A Much Needed Bye WeekPosted: October 3, 2010
Good Morning, and happy Football Sunday!
My boys are on bye week (translation: no game today), so I won’t have a team-inspired meal to share this afternoon. Thankfully, Indy is playing at 4 and The Coach is having a get-together at his house, so there will be some football-age to make my day whole 🙂
Instead of prepping for a themed lunch, I enjoyed a very lazy morning in the most embarrassing oversized sweatshirt on earth, sipping coffee and reading the newspaper like the fourteen year old Faith used to do on Sunday mornings when I spent the night at my grandparents’ house.
I got home last night completely exhausted. Actually, I don’t know if exhausted even captures the feeling.
The past several weeks of my life have been nonstop go here, do this, finish that. I’m juggling work, classes, a social life, a new relationship, writing a blog and reading others, training for a 5k, and more… yet I know many others are juggling so much more than I am!
As if I wasn’t sufficiently spent, I agreed to head out yesterday on a Jacksonville road trip. Normally, I’d be peeing my pants in excitement at the prospect of fourteen hours of hitting the road in a convertible, on my way to a football game and a sprawling shopping center. Instead, I was ambivalent. I was tired, I got cranky, and as much as I tried to stay cheerful and bubbly, I just wasn’t. I wanted to cuddle or sleep, and when I couldn’t do either, I got even more irritated.
Midnight rolled around and I essentially stumbled into my bed. I was dead to the world for ten hours. When morning came around, I was so relieved to know that I didn’t have anywhere to be until 4 p.m. I could finally slow down and let life catch up, if only for a brief moment. It seems like I needed a bye week as much as my Buccaneers did.
My schedule generally involves waking up at the buttcrack of dawn, rushing to work, chasing children, rushing home on lunchbreak, cooking and blogging, rushing back to work, rushing to work out, rushing home to take care of chores, rushing through my classwork, rushing out to see friends, rushing home to shower, and collapsing. Do we see a common theme here?
Sadly, burnout is much more frequent than most of us would like to admit. We bear our stress with pride as we juggle hectic lives, trying to be a superhero. More and more demands appear in our lives and we choose not to say no, yet as we take on more responsibilities we don’t adjust for the increased stress. In fact, the time we have carved out for ourselves takes a drastic reduction at the very time it becomes more important than ever.
Eventually, we become resentful, both of the things that we need to do and the things that we love to do. Bitterness pops up in our minds, and unsurprisingly, physical manifestations follow. Opportunities seem like nothing more than another obligation and another form of stress. To save our sanity, we begin to function on autopilot and miss out on all the joy in life as we struggle just to mark another day off on the calendar.
It’s hard to admit that we need a time out – we’re programmed to associate overachieving with success and interpret stress as an inability to cope. We feel like by saying “no”, we’re letting someone down, missing out, or being a wimp. However, when we put ourselves last, we essentially are making it okay for others to put us last as well.
It amazes me how resilient human beings are. After feeling like death warmed over, a few hours of doing nothing put me back in the optimistic, relaxed, and happy mood that I pride myself in maintaining. Stopping to breathe (and getting a fabulous pedicurist to pumice the crap out of my poor feet) put a smile back on my face and a spring back in my step.
It doesn’t take a vacation in Fiji to fight burnout.
What it does take is a promise to let yourself process the stress of life before it gets to the point where you collapse into a spa chair and physically shove yourself against the massaging pads because you have so many knots that the tension is literally unbearable.
It takes identifying the things that can get you back to a state of peace and making them a priority.
It takes seeking support. A coffee date with close friends who can commiserate offer a few words of encouragement will work wonders.
It takes slowing down, smelling (and, when applicable, consuming!) the coffee, and savoring every moment. It takes making a conscious effort to pursue balance in every aspect of your life.
It takes appreciating yourself. Far too often we complain that the circus-worthy acrobatics we do to juggle all of our endeavors are unnoticed and unrewarded. While our bosses, significant others, and friends may not always see or appreciate the backstage efforts, we still know the work that we do and must acknowledge that it’s no small matter to do the things that we do.
The one thing it doesn’t take is more than you’re able to give. Setting boundaries and saying no when your limits are being pushes is far more commendable than saying yes and sacrificing your happiness. As much as it pains me to admit it, I am not responsible for holding up the world. It’s in God’s hands, not mine. Things will not fall apart if I pass up a dinner invitation or don’t cover a coworker’s overtime shift.
And with that, go and relax. Turn off the phone, the computer, the ipod, and the tv and ease yourself into Monday. A beautiful week is in store 🙂