Overdoing it? Burnout, and Offline Sundays

Over the last few weeks I've become uncomfortably aware that I might, possibly, be overdoing it a bit. There were subtle signs, such as a deep desire to hide under the duvet every time I even thought about my to-do list; and less subtle ones, like bursting into tears on the phone for no apparent reason.

Then there were the helpful hints from the serendipitous universe. A work training day where I realised that I'm not actually the thriving-on-being-super-busy person I was (or believed I was) when I was 20. A friend sending links about Burned-out Activists and Avoiding Activist Burnout to the mailing list of the awesome A Collective for Better Collectives.

(At this point, I want to say "of course, most of my own stress/borderline burnout isn't actually activism related". Because, in my head, real activists put more time than I do into their activism. And it's true that the two big things on my mind right now aren't activism-related. But recently I counted up the number of broadly 'activist' projects that I'm involved with, and came up with eight. Hm.)

So, I accepted the subtle signs from my own mind and the helpful prodding from the universe, and I considered what I should do about it. Kristenking gives a helpful list of Things to Bear In Mind, several of which I'd already come to of my own accord. Here's my list:

  1. Take a long hard look at my commitments. Drop some of them.
  2. Remind myself that I have some big stuff coming up in the next few weeks (finishing my book, and supporting a friend in giving birth, being the big-ticket items), and look at 1. again.
  3. Go climbing. It's good for the brain.
  4. The internet, whilst shiny in many regards, is not always helpful. Try taking an offline day (prompted in part by this post from Sarah Wilson).

I'm still working on them. I've been climbing a couple of times (it really is good for my brain), and I've bowed out of a couple of things (it probably needs to be more). Last Sunday was my first attempt at an offline day in a year or so, and it was complicated by the fact that I spent the day largely in bed with a cold, snoozing and reading. But it was a book, not the internet. And it felt like a release of some sort. I'll report back in a couple of weeks on how the next few weekends go.

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