Lately I’ve been feeling, for lack of a better term, burned out. It doesn’t feel that negative, but I can’t think of a more positive way to say it. I find myself coming home and instead of thinking “Whee! I’ve got the evening to myself!” I think “Only five hours until I have to go to bed” and then I think how quickly that will go. It’s not a panicky feeling, but I do feel “compressed,” or “pressed,” if that makes sense. And while I have motivation, I don’t always have energy. It’s strange.
(I’ll note here that I’m getting a new doctor–I’ve got new insurance and have been wanting to make a doctor change for a while–so I’ll have my thyroid, etc., checked.)
A part of me wonders if this is because I’ve had a lot of stress the last couple years. In 2013, I spend the entire year (including summer) in grad school. In 2014 and the first quarter of 2015, I was in a pretty volatile work environment. Thankfully, I’m out of that and in a much healthier work environment. One I hope to stay at indefinitely! 🙂
While I have a lot less stress these days, I still have that “pressing” feeling of having less time than I’d like. I think it could be due to the transition. After being pretty stressed for a while, it’s difficult to relax. Kind of like how when you first go on vacation, it takes a day or two to shift gears into chill-out mode .
Anyhow, earlier this week I went to a networking breakfast held by my alma mater. It was about habits and being your own coach. It was really great and provided a lot of food for thought. We were asked to discuss a series of questions about time, what you value, and current habits (below). I’m still mulling over those questions and my answers; I think they can help me navigate out of my current “pressed” mindset and into a much better one.
At what time of day to I feel most energized? When do I drag?
I feel most energized in the morning. I drag late afternoon, usually between 4 and 6 pm. This was really helpful for me, because I may see if I can adjust my work schedule slightly to better fit this. Even 30 minutes would make a huge difference, I think.
What can I do for an hour without noticing the passage of time?
This was hard for me to answer, which was very telling. Knitting, reading, and walking are all truthful answers, but what shocked me is how they didn’t come immediately. This is something I need to work on, because to me it says, “I don’t know what I can do to relax.” While I do have hobbies, the fact that they didn’t come to mind immediately tells me I need to make them more of a priority.
I’m most satisfied by saving time, money, or effort?
I loved this question, because it forced me to really think. I chose time, because while I’m generally very frugal, I’m not going to go to a store farther away or wait two days to get toilet paper, even if it is on sale. I’d rather walk or drive to the store closest to me and buy the stuff at a reasonable price. Yes, I look for sales but I’m not going to plan my life around it. That’s too much time and effort to save, in my opinion, not a whole lot of money. (Again, I’m generally frugal, so I wouldn’t be going to the priciest spot, either.)
If I had $500 to spend on fun, how would I spend it?
Truthfully, I almost panicked thinking about this question. My initial reaction was “I’d put it in the bank! Or toward a student loan! You don’t just spend money like that on fun!” But if it was earmarked for fun, which it was…obviously I have a hard time treating myself. This is something I’m working on. In fact, I recently created a vacation fund and I’m thinking of creating a mini “fun fund.” I think it would be a good exercise for me to save up $40-50 and just blow it on…oh boy, I get anxious just thinking about spending money on something I won’t necessarily use a ton, like clothes. But see? Probably a good idea to create that fund. I know I’ll never be the type of person to drop $500 without thinking, but I do need to chill out and realize I can treat myself once in a while.
…but what would I spend it on? Maybe ice skating lessons, or ballroom dancing lessons, or a trip. Hmm…
If I could magically, effortlessly change one habit in my life, what would it be?
Finally, an easy question. I would make myself an early riser, exerciser, and productive morning routine holder. I’d get up at 5, no later than 5:30, exercise, make coffee, meditate…and then do the other morning stuff I always do: feed the cats, feed the birds, clean the litter boxes, get ready for work. Obviously time is a big thing for me–I like feeling like I have full days and can get things done.
This is probably the thing I should start working on first. I liked how the speaker noted “Perfection is the enemy of progress.” While I likely won’t be an earlier riser overnight, pardon the pun, even 5-10 minutes earlier every so often would make a difference.
Funny, I thought this networking event would bring more work contacts. I had no idea it could help me with other things in my life!