Kate Fineske from NAMC recently wrote an interesting post about burnout that captured many of the feelings I’ve been having lately about writing.
In her post, Kate talks about how when all our focus is invested in one area of our life, we can start to experience burnout.
For a while now I’ve been putting my energy into two primary baskets: motherhood/homemaking and writing. Though I chose both of these paths for a reason, and both are essential to who I am as a person, devoting my energy nearly exclusively to these areas has lead me to recently feel some burnout.
Instead of looking forward to my Thursday nights of writing, I’ve been feeling like I want to do anything else. Instead of feeling pride and accomplishment in my mothering/housekeeping abilities, I’ve been feeling bored with the endless piles of dishes, diaper/potty duty, repeat cycles of laundry, floors that dirty themselves as soon as they are clean, and even, yes, answering some of the same rounds of questions from my beloved daughter, who has entered into the obsessively questioning phase of toddlerhood. When the joy in my job starts to diminish, I know it is time to switch something up a bit.
So this week, I’ve tried to create some pockets of change in our routines. I’ve spent some leisurely days outside with my gal, away from the demands of home. Getting out in nature always refreshes my perspective and we love adventuring together. V and I had a pajama day where we watched Little Mermaid, read Little Mermaid, colored Little Mermaid (sense a theme?) and generally did a whole lot of nothing besides cuddling and enjoying our time together. And on this past Thursday night, though I took a few minutes (literally a few) to craft this piece, I spent the primary portion of my free evening creating a tablecloth for our kitchen table and undoing the hem in my daughter’s Renaissance dress in preparation for the upcoming season of Renaissance faires we plan to attend. I’ve resumed working on the hand embroidered wall hanging I started back in high school (way too long ago to have a still incomplete project…) and picked up again during my pregnancy over 2.5 years ago, that I am determined I will actually finish. I feel the need to get some gardening dirt under my hands, and some sunshine on my SPF protected skin.
I’m taking on a new role as a consultant to my own life, and if a routine or role is not bringing me pleasure, and if it isn’t necessary for our survival and functioning, it is going to find a new position of importance in my life. There is only so much time, both in a day and in a life, and while the discipline of doing things we aren’t fond of can be important to personal growth, and pushing over a writing block or slump is part of a normal process, there is also a time to axe the things that aren’t contributing joy or sustaining the body, mind, or spirit.
This month will be a busy one for me. I have two non-blog related writing assignments to complete by the start of May. My family is coming for a visit followed soon thereafter by a visit from my husband’s family. We will be connecting with some out of town friends who are coming in for a day visit. In the flurry of activity, I am trying to remember to eliminate the sense of obligation that often can accompany a busy lifestyle. By letting go of some of the “shoulds” and phasing in some more of the things that bring us joy into our routine, I hope to shake this feeling of burnout. In that vein, my posting may drop off a bit for the remainder of the month. Hopefully, by my one year blogoversary in May, I’ll be feeling a sense of renewed energy and interest in writing again.
Have you ever experienced burnout? What are some of the ways you renew your spirit?