Lately, it has been cool to be busy. There’s notebooks, photoframes and phone cases with I am very busy on them in big golden, sparkly or otherwise decorative letters, and it seems every conversation I have with friends goes something like ‘I can’t remember when I slept well last’ or ‘next time I’m available is in like … oh, 3 weeks’. I was very much the same. After getting my BA I went right on for my MA, did a stint as assistent manager at an educational company, juggling between two locations and went to do an Educational Master straight after, with barely a week inbetween. At one point, one of my bossess sat me down and said “Angie. You need to slow down.” I promised him I would, but didn’t ofcourse. I went to uni on Mondays, juggled my internship and job during the week and used the weekend to do my coursework, write my own teaching lessons and maaaaybe could squeeze either one date with my boyfriend or a hangout with a friend in. And it was fine. I was doing fine, at least I thought so. I remember thinking “at least I’m not as busy as my friend in medical school!” Summer came and it was delightful. I started a crowdfunding project. I was re-energized to finish the master and the project!
…except not. I went to exactly one lecture, and then the next morning the alarm went to go to my internship. And I didn’t get up. I couldn’t muster it. Maybe I was sick? So I called in sick. But then, during the week, I didn’t feel like getting out of bed. All I did was sleep. My whole body hurt and I had the most depressing thoughts- all. the. fucking. time. I was exhausted, disillusioned, cynical and constanty crying. I got so existential I could probably write songs for the Smiths or write a play and convincingly pretend that it was done by Beckett. I’m normally a very bubbly person so this was all very alarming. And when my thoughts started going darker and darker, my sister took me to the doctor. The consensus:
Burn out. Burn out! Burn out!? At first I thought: only burn out? I feel way worse! Turns out burn-out is pretty fucking serious. And much more similar to depression than you think it would be. For me, the worst part is not feeling like myself. I couldn’t enjoy the things I used to. I remember playing Skyrim, a game I had put hours and hours into, and just getting up, turning it off, and going to bed. It wasn’t fun anymore. My memory has gone to shit, and I can barely bike a mile anymore without having to gasp for breath. I’m a little bit better now but not there yet. There is good days and bad days. Some days I’m too riddled with anxiety, or too tired, to even get out of bed. But then the other day I’m like ‘yes I’m going to do ALL the things!’ (and then pass out early, obviously.
It’s just not great.
I also have to deal with remarks like:
“Oh I wish I had as much free time as you do now!”
“You should just do some yoga.”
“Oh yeah, I’m tired too!”
“Just go back to work, it will energize you.”
Trust me, you do not want burn out. Please take breaks, make sure you sleep enough, eat healthy, and learn to say no. Learn to say where your limits are. It’s good to be selfish sometimes, you don’t have to live for others. Be who you want to be, not who others expect you to be. Of course, you hear this everyday. But take it seriously. I didn’t! And they are all so true and more important to your overall happiness than you think.
So my New Year’s Resolution?
GET. FUCKING. BETTER.
Never get at this point anymore. Live for me. And be the best who I can be. Not for others, but for myself.
I will leave it at that, because it will get too long for anyone to want to read. But I am glad to be back to blogging. I have always loved it but never had time. And I’ve learned it is important to take time for doing the things you love.
So there’s a cautionary tale for you. Don’t let it go this far. Having time to yourself in this way is not fun at all. Better make some more time NOW. Being pleasantly busy is cool. Being TOO busy is not cool, in fact it is blistering hot and you will burn out like a match.
PS: Get a kitten. They will light up your life.