I should start my post by saying this is not an entry giving advice on avoiding getting burned out. It is a post seeking advice!
This last week I believe I have come down with a serious case of burn out. I hadn’t expected to come down with this ailment this spring. In my mind, I associate burn out with getting tired of doing something – or having to do something you don’t want to do anymore. That’s simply not how my burn out is functioning – and probably why I was surprised to get it. I am not having to do something I don’t want to do. And, I’m not really even tried of doing what I have been doing. I’m just tired in general.
I actually LOVE what I do. Although, like everyone else, my life is pulled in many directions, I tend to think of myself as having two major categories of demands. One is family. The other is work. This is not unique to me obviously. I thoroughly enjoy both aspects of my life. I love my four children (and my husband) and while I find it frazzling sometimes, I enjoy being a mom. And I love genealogy and writing and all that goes with it. Overall, I feel happy and content in my life. So why am I so burned out lately?
I think it has to do with intensity. It has been a very intense spring. In fact, as I thought about it I decided that this past year has been the most intense year of my life possibly second only to my second year of graduate school when I had a toddler and was miserably sick from being pregnant with our second child. It has not been a bad intensity (unlike that year in graduate school). It has been a good year filled with wonderful things – FILLED being the key word here.
Both categories of my life – family and work – have been extra busy for the past couple of months. My kids have intense schedules in the spring because this is when sports get going full swing. We also have all kinds of end-of-the-year events now – dance recitals, piano recitals, band concerts, programs at school etc. Add to that that three of my children have birthdays and I find that just keeping up with my family is a scramble. Then, spring is also perhaps the most intense time of year in the genealogy world. I have been doing a lot of speaking and book events lately too.
The result of all of this is that lately I have a burning desire to plan trips all the time. This is generally what happens to me when life gets stressful. I have been able to justify it because we actually do have some trips coming up this summer that I need to get the plans made for. We are driving to Texas for my sister’s wedding at the end of June and then taking our time coming back, spending time in Memphis, Smoky Mountain National Park, and Shenandoah National Park. In the past week, I’ve gotten all the details worked out about hotels etc. I have also reserved our hotels for Brazil in August and planned our basic itinerary and started looking into plans for a short trip to Acadia National Park we’ll make in August also. While this all has to be done sooner or later (and in the case of Texas, sooner), I am also aware in the back of my head that I am doing this now because I can’t bring myself to do some of the other things I need to do. Soon, I am going to run out of trips to plan and besides, my to-do list is growing.
I would love to hear thoughts from others. Does this happen to you? How do you avoid it? How do you cope with it once it happens?