…or is it burnt out?
Anyway, my husband and I have been feeling the end of summer blues, and not in the “we will miss summer so much, why is ending already” way but in a more parental, “how have people survived summer for so many years and why are my kids fighting so much and when will school start? It is hard being a parent!!!!” way.
Which brings me to today’s topic that is not totally related to OCD but is still relevant for mental health: what do you do when you are burned out in order to, well, stop being burned out?
Being driven vs. obsessive
I guess maybe it’s my obsessive compulsive disorder or perfectionism that partially keeps me so driven. I feel the need to keep going and to do my best. I set arbitrary but then binding standards and goals for myself. They begin as good motivations but usually end as harsh taskmasters. They have looked like: exercising for at least 50 minutes every day, seven (or gradually six) days a week. Reading my scriptures for a set time or chapter amount per day. Teaching the kids or following some daily schedule with them as perfectly as possible. And even here, getting out one blog post each weekday (except on holidays).
Maybe some people (like me) enjoy a treadmill versus trail running type of life. The routine, consistency, and inability to stop, slow down, or pause keeps momentum and life going. Without it, maybe we’d be afraid that we’d just sit down and stop going completely.
But is it necessary to do that sometimes? To sit down and stop going completely? For me, relaxation is hard. Really hard. I am thinking about all the things I need to do or should do or could do. Only at night, usually, do I allow myself an hour or so to watch a movie or TV show and zone out. Otherwise, I feel guilty not doing what I know I should or could be doing.
This, of course, results in burn out. “They” say that not taking time to relax isn’t healthy, but it sure gets a lot done. I have a clean house (most of the time). I fold my laundry (usually) promptly. We do the dishes before they start piling up. I try to keep up with my self-inflicted goals. I buy necessary food and home supplies before we run out so as to prevent any emergency needs. But this type of lifestyle also proves to be a rich proving ground for mental health issues and stress. Of course, not being prepared or organized brings its own problems. Maybe there is some happy in between land (that I shy away from for some reason) where people are accomplished and ready for eventualities without being stressed or suffering from mental illness. Maybe I wouldn’t like it there.
But is it my fate to go go go and end up burned out, have a good cry and sleep, and then start going once more, over and over again? If you wanted the answer to how to solve burn out, I’m sorry, I don’t have it. If you do, please share it in the comments so we can all benefit!