I finally ran out of steam today.
This month has been one of the most emotionally draining I’ve ever experienced, falling only behind the month that I lost two family members and welcomed F to our lives. The move to Halifax would have been anxiety-ridden enough, but the series of upsets, next-to-impossible events that have occured and the absence of F has weighed heavily on me. In the past eight weeks, I have made seven round-trip drives between Cape Breton and Halifax. I’ve moved into an apartment, and then into another. I’ve had my life stolen from me, lived in a hotel for a week and managed to get to school every day. I have met about fifty new people, thirty dogs, walked all around the city, been out on dates, drank too much, slept too little, been up at 5:00am and spent hours on the phone with F, the police, my family, friends, lawyers and everyone in between. I even spent a week sitting on the floor watching my television, using my iPhone data plan for internet and drinking out of paper cups because I had nothing else. It was an experience, and instead of sitting down and relaxing for a little while, I pushed on through.
I forget to settle down, sometimes. I stretch myself too thin, sign up for everything and forget to take care of myself. I’ll skip meals, skimp on sleep, try to carry more than I can physically lift and ultimately, I crash and burn. The worst part? I know it’s coming. I know I need to slow down and sometimes, I even need to stop. I need to eat, sleep and relax here and there. I can’t fuel my body on coffee alone, or run on four hours of sleep a night. I have sat in my classroom feeling shaky and foggy. I have spent afternoons curled up on my sofa watching a movie, unable to keep my eyes open and yet I’ll go out for a glass of wine or meet a friend for coffee at 7:00pm. Don’t stop. Keep going. Keep up the pace.
It has become a compulsion, an addiction and I fear the fall out I may face if I do slow down. What if I stop and can’t start again? What if I slow down and fall behind? What if I sit, and can’t stand up again? It’s not even logical and it’s driving me crazy. It’s sucking the life out of me, and I can’t possibly keep it up. I’m empty.
I know I’m not alone in this. We are all guilty of forgetting about our wellbeing. We get busy as parents, take our work home and push through our exhaustion for a bigger or better paycheque. We spread ourselves so thin that we lose our zest, our flavour as individuals. It all goes back to an inability to say “no”, a fear of being inadequate and a sense of needing more for me.
My challenge is simple, and I hope you will join me:
Choose one day a week as your day. Do the bare minimum that day. If it’s work, go to work. If it’s school, go to school. Make simple meals: take something out of the freezer, or make it leftover day. Stay in. Set your bedtime one hour earlier. If possible, turn off your mobile phone – even if only for one hour. Take a bath, read for pleasure or meditate. Do a quick, simple yoga practice if you can. Light candles. Rest, recover, rejuvenate. It does not make you a failure. It doesn’t make you selfish, lazy or weak. It makes you aware of your limits and gives you the opportunity to heal.
Stay strong and be positive!