“The reason why people lives get so complicated is because you’re trying to live it for someone else other than yourself. That is the key. make it simple. When you just start doing it for yourself. And that is not a selfish thing, that is an honorable thing.”
I started writing this post 4 weeks ago, and I’m just now posting it today.
Perhaps it’s the crippling anxiety, and the feeling that I’m not performing well at my job. Perhaps it’s the lack of creative energy and motivation. The simplest tasks feel impossible to complete and the items on my to do lists have grown fangs and are threatening to swallow me whole. I dream about work non-stop and literally can’t leave the house without checking my email every 5 minutes for fear I might miss an important message.
This is burnout.
All the way out. And I’ve been feeling this way for several months. I hear that when you get to this point, your body is telling you to REST.
It turns out that I’m not very good at resting. When I try, my mind races about the things I could be doing. When I sit down to unwind and watch a movie I open my laptop because I feel unproductive JUST watching a movie. And so, I end up missing out on the movie AND work.
The guilt sets in, and the vicious cycle of feeling worthless takes another lap around the track. I don’t go anywhere other than work, I don’t cook. Instead I use Doordash to deliver Vietnamese food for the third time this week. I tell friends that I’m busy when in reality I’m busy hiding underneath the blankets because it feels impossible to hold a conversation for longer than 5 minutes.
I know this is just a temporary season in my life, but I feel the need to be transparent about every season, not just the good ones. The truth is I feel stuck and I’m not quite sure how to fight it but I do know that the things I’ve listed below have helped me. I hope these help you if you’re experiencing “the stuck” right now:
Learn how to say no
If you’re feeling overwhelmed at work or in your personal life, chances are you may need to say no a little more than you say yes. This has taken me a lifetime to figure out. I just started saying “no” last year. It’s okay, the world won’t implode.
I watch really, REALLY bad movies.
For me, watching a really bad movie with terrible dialogue and a laughable plot makes the world seem a little less difficult and a little more simplistic. Someone please watch First Kill so we can talk about how unrealistic that ending (and beginning and middle) was!
I do social media for my day job, so I have to do a little more in order to unplug from my phone and other tech devices. One way I do that is by scheduling my posts ahead of time. If I know there’s nothing pressing that weekend with work, I’ll turn off the notifications for email as well.
Write it out
In college, I used to journal daily, but that was 7 years ago. When I brought it up to my therapist, she recommended that I start bullet journaling. I purchased a blank notebook on my 28th birthday this year and haven’t missed a day. It’s mind-blowing to me how relaxing and satisfying it us to have your whole day laid out before you on paper. It truly is grounding. And fun!
If you’re anything like me this can be one of the hardest things to do. But it’s so important not to isolate yourself from the people that love and care about you the most. When I’m feeling burned out, I find that the best solution is calling a trusted family member or friend. Sometimes it helps to have someone to listen to you, even if it’s only for 10 minutes. It helps, and it makes you feel seen.
Don’t force it
When’s the last time you let yourself just “be”? As a creative person, I tend to feel empty when I’m not in the process of creating something. So I attempt to force myself. I sit at the computer screen and stare. I scroll through the images and blogs I created months ago, longing for the spark that I had, wondering when it will find its way back to me. This longing brings even more frustration. Instead of continuing to do this, I’m trying to learn how to be patient with myself. I’m trying to give myself permission to just “be”. To sit in silence while God orchestrates what I cannot see (and to be okay with that).
To let my mind wander where it wants, and go where it needs to go.
To breathe in, and out.
To remember that it will pass.
Oh honey, this will resonate with so many. I’m raising my hand too. At least you came to the table with some solutions. If you ever feel like kicking back and getting a coffee, and having a few laughs, I’m in.
This. For every single person that feels uneasy to share their burn out experiences, please do. Because someday someone may be feeling exactly the same thing, but won’t notice. Won’t know how to act. Will fall into voraginous anxiety and depression. And finding people that went through exactly the same thing, and how did they cope with this situation, is exactly why Internet communities were built for in the first place. We’re not alone. Other people went through the same things and, in the end, the answer is that we’re human. No matter if we’re from a different continent, different age, different colour, or even if we are struggling with different situations. We share the same feelings, we’re human. And that is ok.
In short, thank you for your words, Patience.
And thank for making me laugh about that Bruce Willis and Hayden Christensen movie (I did watch that one too…)