Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Slow Down

For the past month or more at work, I noticed myself having less and less endurance to see tasks through to completion; I'd do them of course, but I had to really concentrate to do them.  I was more easily frustrated, and little things bothered me more: non-work sounds, interruptions, paper jams, and so forth.  It carried over at home too.  

About half-way through that period of time, I finally figured out what was the matter.  I was tired.  Not just the "I didn't sleep well last night" kind of tired but the "approaching burn-out" kind of tired because of a multitude of things: sleep deficit, added stresses, feelings of loss and uncertainty, and adjusting to changes in the workplace and at home, just to name a few.  To borrow a term from Star Wars, my "motivator" wasn't functioning properly.

So I began a countdown to vacation.  I'm not sure exactly why, but it helped me get through those last couple of weeks, spurred me on to achieve closure. On those tasks I just couldn't complete because I was relying on someone else's timetable, I did what I could and then left behind a status list on the various files still "in progress."  So when I left the office for my vacation, it was with a mind uncluttered by all those loose ends I should have tied up.  That way, I could not only leave the workplace physically, I could leave it mentally.  

Everyone needs a break now and then, a rest from the mundane and the hundred frittering things - and the urgent things - that intrude on what's really important.  It's a reminder that while it might feel like we're in a rat race, we are not rats and it's not a race.  Someone commented on the futility of that things-oriented mentality a few years ago in a bumper sticker which said, "The one who has the most toys when he dies, wins."  

More than any other year that I can remember, vacation this year has been a time to put the hamster-wheel in my mind in "Park" and go do something else, look after me, do things I like to do, and enjoy my family.... to slow down.  I've had time to rest, rejuvenate, and reflect.  To give myself permission to recuperate.  

And after a few days of sleeping in until after 9 a.m., finally my body woke up this morning and said, "Okay - now I'm rested.  So what are we going to do today?"  I got up and went for a walk - by myself - for the first time in years. When I got back, I did a couple of chores, showered, and woke up hubby.  Then I did something else I like - I cooked breakfast, and ate it with hubby, lingering long over coffee and conversation.  Some of these things I don't get to do when I'm working.  Now that I feel more rested, my "motivator" works again and I have a whole list of things I want to get done before I go back to work.  But I know that if they don't get done today, that's okay - I'll do what I can do and then I can allow myself to rest without feeling guilty. 

It's allowed.

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