“I’m ready to fade now
And how I feel like I’m starless
I’m hopeless and grayed out”
-“Starless” by Crossfade
That is how I was feeling a few weeks ago. You may have noticed that it has been a month since my last blog. I was struggling. I had my usual load of gym, work, home-life, social life, and added school to it. Just when my school work escalated, so did my work, and for that matter, my social life. Something had to give, and unfortunately my blog was one of them. But this situation gave me the perfect fodder for this blog.
I pride myself on living a balanced life. My blog has discussed numerous ways to do this, brought to you by yours truly and experts in the field. Yet everyone has a time (or several) where you find yourself on a rollercoaster. I realized that I was unraveling – I couldn’t keep the balance, I was being hurtled downhill and into loop after loop. My work was beyond frustrating as well as busy, so I was burning a LOT of energy to keep my professionalism high and my integrity intact amidst things heaped on me at the last minute. I loved doing homework, but found myself dreading it as just another thing on my to do list. The energy needed to get to the gym in the morning, spend time with my husband, and attend many social events was in short supply.
I was burned out and things started to drop. I mentioned the blog, but I also couldn’t get up to go the gym, so I missed days. I wanted to nap every day after work (my usual homework time). I realized I hit rock bottom when I told my boss I could cry because I couldn’t open a password protected document. What she didn’t know is that I was crying. Bawling in fact (I work from home thankfully). I was clearly losing it. I needed to regain my balance.
So after I stopped crying I started to reflect–why was I feeling this way? I could be tired because a full moon was coming (don’t laugh, the moon affects us all differently and this is how it affects me). I realized I was thinking that everything had to be done TODAY. Most of it didn’t, I was putting unrealistic deadlines on things based on the way I was used to doing things. When my work wasn’t super busy I can reply the same day, but as I got busier, some things did not need an immediate response. I started to calm down a little bit and give myself a break. I was doing the same thing with school. I was working on a paper that was due at the end of November like it was due tomorrow. I was putting this pressure on myself that wasn’t warranted. Do you see a trend? There is a lot of “I” popping up. I was clearly to blame here. One of my favorite sayings is “Don’t affix the blame, fix the problem”. So how was I going to fix me?
- Ask for help #1: I reached out to my life coach and scheduled a call. I dumped out all of what I was feeling. She reminded me of my triggers AND my solutions, and we worked out an action plan for how to find meaning in what I was doing and regain some control over my situation. I actually had bullet points of what I needed to do, specifically for work. I am happy to say that I discussed the issues with my boss and she was agreeable! Don’t have a life coach? A trusted family member or friend can serve the same role. Telling someone about what is going on has huge benefits, and you can also brainstorm on how to address the situation in a calm, reasonable manner.
- Ask for help #2: Luckily for me, my husband is not only understanding, but also had extra vacation days to use. He took some of those days to take care of winterizing our deck and yard, things I would have done in the past. He grocery shopped and cooked, which helped me considerably. Don’t have a partner? Ask your friends and family for help. When you are feeling like yourself again you can return the favor when they are in need.
- Realize it is OK to let some things drop: I didn’t go to the gym a few days. Consequence? None. The next week I was back on track with my routine. Say no to an invite? YES. Sometimes staying home and doing nothing IS doing something. Of course you have to be judicious about this – we all have things we have to do, and for me it was going to work and school. Other things however, were expendable, and I didn’t regret even one thing I let drop.
- Take time off: My husband had time off, so I decided to take some too. I took a couple of Fridays off to spend with him, and we did things like hiking at the local nature preserve and visiting out of state taprooms. The mornings were spent lounging (I may have snuck in a little homework) then we were out and about. It was a scheduled “drop” that was desperately needed.
- Reconnect to Spirit: I should have realized I was disconnected when I was using words like “at a loss”, “adrift”, and “apathy”. When you say aloud you don’t care, that is a red flag. My life coach reminded me of the spirit teachers and spirit animals I have to rely on in situations such as this. Finding meaning so you DO care also reconnects us to spirit. Spending time in nature is a huge connection for me, and I realized as the weather got colder and rainier that I was not spending as much time there. Fix? Dote on my houseplants. I wasn’t doing Reiki–on myself or anyone else. Fix? Schedule some time to do self-Reiki, and start promoting my services to others again. I wasn’t making anything with my herbs and essential oils. Fix? I found a simple lip balm recipe and whipped up a batch. All of those things had unintentionally dropped away, and I was feeling it. I believe it will be one of the first things I look for if I happen to experience a situation like this again.
The holidays are fast approaching, and all that hubbub may send you reeling just like I had experienced. Maybe you don’t even need the holidays to relate to what I was going through. But now you have five tools in your toolbox to help you.
You aren’t alone, that is the most critical thing to remember. Spirit, whatever that means to you, is always by your side and has your best interests at heart. Reach out. Take time out. Reconnect. And carry your tool box so you are ready for whatever comes your way.