It has been an extremely busy fall for me, which I appreciate. I have been able to give time to family and friends, submit more articles to freelance jobs, balance a full course load and take on an amazing new web project that will be launching next month (stay tuned). But I have also noticed something in all the chaos: I feel like I am teetering on the brink of a complete shut down. I fear I have pushed myself to the point where I manage to store just enough energy to make it through the next chore, project or gathering but feel absolutely depleted shortly thereafter. I have been living this cycle for what feels like months. I’m tired all the time, have zero motivation to complete anything other than what I obligated myself to do and just can’t seem to snap out of it. I’m not quite sick but I’m not quite well.
I have always prioritized my self-care. I eat well, my husband and I run three days a week, I try to get at least eight hours of sleep a night and meditate and journal regularly but still can’t seem to shake whatever it is that is sucking the life out of me. At first I thought it was too much of a work load but when I reflected back on my week I had plenty of down time in between, it’s not like I was literally working 24 hours a day. So what is it that keeps me in limbo land? Then one night in conversation with my husband I figured it out. It’s my lifestyle.
I have worked very hard over the last few years to create a life that allows me the flexibility to indulge my creative side and one that doesn’t require a 9-5 work schedule. I am not a morning person, I never have been. I stay up until the wee hours working and sleep late into the morning, it’s great. Being a writer is the perfect job for me. Literally. I can work whenever and where ever I want. And that, my friends, is my problem. I answer emails at 3am, edit articles on the weekends and brainstorm ideas when I’m trying to fall asleep. My brain is always on. The lifestyle I dreamed of is exactly what is draining all my energy. You know why? Because I never made it a priority to set up boundaries.
It is hard to not work through dinner because I have a deadline, or to stop reading research articles even through I can barely keep my eyes open, or not manage my social media on Saturday afternoon. I created a “24-hour” day for myself because I don’t “leave the office”. I live in the damn office. But I know I can’t keep this up. I also know I haven’t yet found the discipline to stop when I need to stop and to schedule “work” time and “home” time. This is new territory for me and I am learning a valuable lesson in what not to do. Wish me luck.