Sunday, December 4, 2011

Up in Flames

Courtesy of 123MyCodes
I fell asleep at my computer Thursday night.  I woke up to find that it had slid off my lap onto the couch next to me and the cat had crawled in to take its place (probably having helped its exit along).  Andy Reid was doing a post-game press conference after the Eagles' loss to the Seahawks.  He arguably had a worse day than I did, but he gets paid a lot more, so I reserved my pity, and watched him bleary-eyed for a minute, mustering enough comprehension to realize that this is what a broken man looks like.  Then I shut the computer down and flopped over sideways on the couch, unable to muster the will to climb the two sets of stairs to the bed.  My husband found me there when he got up to go to work and shoo'ed me upstairs.

This is not the first time I've literally fallen asleep at my work.  But, this week is the first week I have looked out the second story window and tried to gauge whether or not flinging myself from it would put me out of my misery.  I've stomped around in a funk all week.  Ironic, if you consider I just had four days off, but those were whirlwind days where I was up early and to bed late, actually more physically active than usual.  So, I realize I came back to work on Monday more tired than I had left it the previous Friday, so - now four days behind to boot - everything just seems particularly aggravating.  I feel imprisoned by these four walls, I am royally peeved at the husband because he has been less than my definition of helpful, my definition of helpful has been altered to where no matter what he did he would not meet it, I've yelled at the dogs, glowered at the cats and just in general been a Royal Bitch.  But, it really wasn't until this morning that I realized:  I just have a bad case of burn out.  So, I took a step back to really consider why I feel the way I do.

This is a relatively new job, I tell myself - I have only been doing it since February - hardly within a normal burn out window, so buck it up and  quit being a baby.  Truthfully, it's not really the job.  Work is just the easy thing to blame.  In my particular case, this is the end of a very long, wild year.  There have been a lot of major changes, and whether good or bad, they have turned my world on end.  For someone like myself, who would practically go apocalyptic when I couldn't get the same parking space everyday, all of this upheaval has just taken its toll.  I'm tired at the moment.  Of everything.  At the same time I realize this, I feel guilty about it because I know I am just lucky to have a job, a roof over my head that is not in danger of foreclosure, food on the table and Blue Moon in the fridge for today's game.  I would imagine I am not alone on this see-saw.  But, in truth, it is just the pace of everything over the last few months that have worn me out.

So, I sit here sort of mentally ping-ponging between feeling sorry for myself and feeling guilty about feeling sorry for myself, and decided that about the only thing to do about it is come up with an agenda to deal with it.  I did a little research to start.  I'm a lazy researcher, but it is clearly not a situation unique to me because it took very little effort to find some online sites that were interesting: (but be careful of this one, it's so long it will burn you out just to read it, but it is interesting if you can make it through)

There were a lot of others.  What I noticed about all of them is that they all deal with work burnout.  Some mention caregiver burnout.  What if you just have Life Burnout?  What if the whirlwind has been blowing around you so hard for so long you're looking out windows for fall zones or making multiple trips to the state store for libations to artificially cope.  I took what I read and came up with this blueprint:

1) Take a bubble bath.  I love baths.  I never get to take them anymore because they are the ultimate time suck.  So, I have determined that once a week, I get a bath.  Probably on a weekend, but I have to allow myself that indulgence and consider that I am killing two birds with one bubbly stone:  relaxing and cleaning myself.  Whatever your version of Bubble Bath Therapy is, consider allowing yourself a little time at least once a week to indulge it.  Cheaper than a therapist...

2) "Retail therapy" is nice until the bills come in, and, trust me on this, more stuff does not equate to more happiness.  Paying off the credit cards, now that is another story.  So, pass on that pair of Bearpaw moccasins that look so comfy just because they are on sale and use that $39.99 toward your Visa bill.  If you do that every time some tempting offer hits your Inbox, over time it will add up.  No debt:  that has to be what real freedom feels like.  I don't know yet, but I'm working on it.  I'll get back to you on that.

3) Watch at least the third period of the hockey game without working through it, folding laundry, wrapping presents or addressing holiday cards (or fill in your favorite show here).  Television may be mindless, but sometimes that's okay.  I have fallen head over heels in love with Penguins hockey for a number of reasons that I'll detail some other time (crashing people into the boards on purpose at 40 miles an hour is definitely among them), but with an 82 game season it is incongruous with my work schedule.  So, I have it on almost like background noise, and I've missed some incredible hockey that has gone on right before my eyes as a result.   Just adds to the resentment.  So, I've determined to set the computer down for the third period (unless it's a blow out) of each game.  This is my version of just letting the mind rest for 20 minutes worth of game time.  Find out what your favorite off switch is and do the same.

4) Ask for help if you need it.  This is open ended - it can mean quite a lot of things.  For me, my martyr complex along with my spouse's limited scope of independent housekeeping skills without specific instruction have added up to a great deal of stress on my part.  He is willing to do just about anything I ask, but I have to ask.  He has specifically said on a number of occasions, "make me a list".  I have refused to do so, thinking to myself, "So, what are you - 12?  It should be obvious."  Well, I have finally reasoned that the problem is mine and by being so stubborn, the only loser is me.

5) Okay, maybe one trip to the state store so you have a nice glass of wine to have with that bubble bath.  But, moderation is the key here or else there becomes a whole other list of issues...

1 comment:

  1. I feel I must remind you of how awesome you are :) Hang in there and enjoy that bubble bath! Love ya!