The importance of breaks

As we round into an awkward summer of social distancing and surging outbreaks, I have found myself struggling a bit.

This isn’t my first setback, I had my first emotional surge in March as I was struggling to put any kind of order to the chaos, then again in May when I recognized I had a boundary problem, but these last few weeks have been different, they have been about deep and sustained fatigue. Emotional and physical fatigue.

I’ve known for some time that the challenge that I am facing is not unique. The balancing act of hope and reality is articulated best as the Stockdale paradox.

 “You must never ever ever confuse, on the one hand, the need for absolute, unwavering faith that you can prevail despite those constraints with, on the other hand, the need for the discipline to begin by confronting the brutal facts, whatever they are.”

Confronting brutal facts can be dark sometimes. Knowing that this is not ending soon, makes it clear I am in serious need of better coping and recovery strategies. I need to take into account the enormous emotional load I am under right now. While I know I have real blessings and privilege, I realize that I am also experiencing burnout. Feelings of loss and the sheer weight of cumulative anxiety and uncertainty.

I know I’m not at all alone, my friends are sharing articles about mom rage and mood swings and we are all seriously worried about the setbacks for working moms and the suffering and injustice of systematic racism.

These conversations are important but they are also fraught. I recognize I need to create better frameworks of self care, to be able to sustain my emotional health which has been suffering.

Specifically

That last bullet is one I’m still processing.

I took a long weekend to think, and I realized that trying to plan for a vacation takes me to a dark place. Between the inability to travel, and the uncertainty of the kids summer/back-to-school plans, I feel overwhelmed. I am thinking what I will do is instead of trying to synchronize everyone’s schedules, is look to see if there is a way to take a few more mini-breaks over the summer. Doing nothing is not a viable option, as I can feel the impact on my mood and my physical health.

Finding balance right now is hard. Acknowledging the burnout is important, and building a path back to a more centered place is the next logical step. One that will help me feel more in control and help keep me going, as the work is far from done.

I am wishing you kindness and self care this month of my birthday (#KindJuly). I know that practicing kindness for ourselves is the first and most important step. Thanks for joining me on that journey.

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