sunset off the Georgia Dome
June was a big month for me. I started the month with intentions to feed my burned out soul and lick my proverbial wounds:
- To feed my soul.
- To slow down.
- To take some time to take good care of my spirit.
A patio set I was gifted. Before and After 🙂
The month has passed and several things have happened:
- I’ve traveled.
- I’ve read.
- I did some things I wanted to do vs. what I felt like I should be doing.
- I’ve finally got more than 5 hours of interrupted sleep (yes, i need to stop being so cheap & turn my AC on-more later)
- I took it easy on myself. Skip a work out? it’s ok. Didn’t do something perfectly? the sun will rise again tomorrow.
- I’ve meditated and sat still to not only observe the world around me, but listen to the voice inside of me.
- I made a point to reconnect with people in my life who add to it positively: they challenge me, they love me, they push me to the greatness that I cannot see in myself and they enhance my life while being themselves.
- I indulged myself with gifts that could not be bought at a store.
- I acknowledged my feelings many times and found it to be freeing, cleansing, and not as scary as I’d been conditioned to believe.
- I turned off my cable.
- I turned on my inner voice. It was quiet at first but became louder with each passing day.
- I facilitated a summer camp.
- I continued to push my career while doing all of this.
- I became more honest. I let my truth be known without doing harm or I stopped worrying and having so much anxiety about being truthful.
Enjoying AC, a fluffy bed, a complimentary robe, & too much Bravo in the hotel….
I took an hour to just ‘be’ each day–or as close to an hour as I could carve out. I’m talking no working out, no technology, just silence with some reflection, reading on meditation, or other quiet type activities. I often sat out on the patio in the evenings reading and observing the people out with their dogs in the big green space.
June was a powerful month for me. I took the burn out I was experiencing and piggy backed it with the things I actually wanted to do vs. what I needed to do for survival.
I’m working on the sleep. In the interest of being the cheapest mo-fo possible, I didn’t turn on my AC at all in June–my electric bill was next to nothing, but I would find myself awake at 5 a.m. (which is fine but i hadn’t gone to bed until midnight) with the birds singing outside my open windows. First world problem??? YES! But, perhaps, it did finally force me to turn on my AC after my trip at night so I could sleep better. I began struggling with sleep months ago from stress and continue to work on getting my brain space quiet at bed time.
I lived alone for the month. It was just what I needed. I like to be around small groups of people and have introverted tendencies but the solitude was a needed respite from having a roommate. I planned for this intentionally and have a new person moving in. It gave me the freedom to be in my space, fill the space with positive energy, and reflect quietly. The pro’s and con’s of having a rent reducer. I will be glad to have someone around again, provided they are a positive energy in my life.
I didn’t push myself over the limit mentally. I traveled for work and instead of feeling like I had to be everywhere all the time, I stepped away from the conference for a day to see the sights with a friend from grad school. I quit trying to be everywhere all of the time. No one missed me–at the conference or at work. I was back in my hotel by 9 p.m. every night and usually in the big, fancy bed watching bad tv. I still ran a summer camp, did PD with adults, and presented my research all month, but didn’t kill myself chasing the imaginary pot of gold.
I leaned on friends. For things like watering my plants and picking up my UPS deliveries while I was gone. I made countless phone calls to my ‘real friends’ and discussed my trajectory as of late. I wrangled my true feelings instead of saying “everything is fine” because it wasn’t, I dealt with it and let people see my ‘messiness’ from time to time. Social media and our social conditioning tell us to only let people see the ‘perfect picture’ of our meal, but no one sees the mountain of dishes in the kitchen (if we’re speaking in analogies here).
I went into June pretty beat up. My soul was hurting, my shoulders were weary from carrying too much, and I needed to give myself a break. I’m happy to say that at the end of June, I feel 100 pounds lighter, my soul is happier, and while I wasn’t on vacation for the month, I found ways to give myself the peace it needed without letting anything suffer.
I think that as a new faculty, we all get burned out after a year or two and it forces us to truly ‘take stock’ in what we’re after. Learn from me: take good care of yourselves young faculty.