So let’s talk about this whole concept of “work-life balance.” Apparently it’s important. I’ve only heard rumors, but it sounds pretty great. Over the past few months I’ve learned that it’s something I need. Initially, I thought having an afternoon or morning off would be good enough and I was mostly just excited to be getting enough hours at work to pay the rent. Being a generally optimistic person, I didn’t realize my mental and physical health was slowly deteriorating.
It’s been a few months since I’ve written, and as of a few weeks ago, it had been a few months since I’d been on a good run. I really don’t require a whole lot to keep me going, but in recent years these two activities have become things that I really truly enjoy. We need these activities in our lives and I found myself spending less time expressing myself in a creative outlet and more time ruminating in worried thoughts. I found myself setting my alarm a little later to get a few more hours of sleep instead of hitting the pavement, and spending the rest of the day guilty and frustrated for it.
It’s not even that I am working insane hours a week, because I understand some people work 60-hour workweeks, so I am by no means complaining about my 40-45 hours or so. My struggle has come from not having an unplanned day off. Today has been my first day off since July that I haven’t had a single obligation.
I have been incredibly blessed to have friends and family coming into town to visit, I’ve attended concerts, I’ve attended weddings, bachelorette parties, surprise parties, and had Halloween fun, none of which I regret. I feel incredibly lucky to have jobs that allow me to take time off for these things, but today has been my first true day off since the summer. No work and no obligations. I didn’t set an alarm, I went for a run through the woods that I didn’t feel obligated to cut short or hustle through, took my time in the shower, did laundry, sent my book out to a few more agents, and am taking the time to sit and write.
It’s been so nice to breath today.
There’s still a lot I have to learn about balance, and I’m sure it will be an ongoing process as my life and career evolves and I’m going to have to be okay with the fact my balance may not look exactly the way others balance their lives. As I’ve begun to feel a little burnt-out over the past couple of weeks, I’ve learned that an afternoon or a morning isn’t enough time off for me- I need at least a full day where the only commitments I have are to my self.
I’m not sharing this to complain, or as an excuse for why the blogs been a little empty over the past couple weeks, it’s more to reflect upon the types of changes I hope to make in my life and that I hope to be held accountable to now that they’ve been written down. You don’t get a special medal for working more hours or more days than others and losing control in the process. Not only is it okay, it’s important to admit that you need some time for yourself when you realize you do instead of digging yourself into a hole. If you keep digging you’ll eventually bury yourself.