I embraced my burn out and changed it up. I have coined the month of June: Feeding My Soul (with some cheese). My burnout was several layers deep and needed to be addressed from several fronts. With projects. And some reading for pleasure. Ok, I’ve been book binging and have gone through five books in just over three weeks. And no, I’m not sorry. And yes, it’s been a fantastic indulgence. I sit and read on the patio in the evenings until the sun goes to bed. No tv noise in the background, no technology making noises at me, just me and the books.
How am I feeding my soul? I’m giving my brain the freedom to think about something other than work. Yes, I’m still working (duh) but I’m practicing and hopefully making the habit out of taking more time out of my day to do things I WANT to do. Yes, sometimes, there’s things we NEED to do, but a random trip to Target felt like a decadence when I needed some things last week. Leaving work at 4 p.m. to come home and repaint a patio set felt sneaky in some way for a few days. And then I realized something: no one was watching. My work is done. My work life is in order. And painting that patio set is really fun. I used to strip and refinish furniture when I had a house and space to do those kinds of projects. I was thirsty for more.
My roommate moved out recently and house cleaning had been neglected knowing he would be in/out 1,000 times moving things. I went crazy: windows, washed the mini-blinds (which is surprisingly easy in the tub), dusted, cobwebs, baseboards, mopping, dusting, purging of items for good will, vacuuming everything, sweeping porch/patio, cleaning out the storage unit, and every little thing in between was surprisingly comforting for my soul. No, I don’t want to clean YOUR HOUSE. 🙂
I turned off my tv service. I was spending the money because my roommate watched a lot of tv and we split the cost but with him gone: no need for it. Once I found out there was no penalty or fee from the company, I said, “turn it off today!” I have a nice wireless blu-ray player and Netflix so I can watch a show or movie if I want too for a fraction of the cost. I have an HDMI connector for my Mac so anything I can’t get on my blu-ray, I can find on my Mac and plug it in.
My vegetable CSA has started, an automatic reminder to be more mindful of what I’m eating. While I still can’t fall in love with the turnip, I’ve found that being more mindful has helped me slow down to prepare food, eat less (another post), and enjoy it while sitting on my fresh patio set in the evenings. I am reminded of that part of “Eat, Pray, Love” when Liz sits down in her apartment in Italy with the simply prepared meal to practice the act of “doing nothing.”
The work is always there. There will be summer programming to implement and I’m headed out on travel before too long for work, but for these precious few weeks I’ve had to work on what I’d like to call a ‘reduced schedule,’ I’m taking the time to soak it up and enjoy it. The rat race will undoubtedly appear as soon as I hit “publish” on this post, but by allowing myself to take a little time, change up my schedule, and feed my faculty soul I know I’ll be ahead of the game when I need to be.
How do you integrate down time? How do you carve out the time for yourself and the ones around you who matter?