Friday, May 13, 2011

Snuffing Burnout

http://bentobjects.blogspot.com/

It all came to a head last week.  I was officially so busy with life that I just about crashed.  It's not the first time I've let things get so out of hand, so I knew what the problem was:  too much and not enough.  Too much responsibility and expectation crammed into too little time and energy.  I collided once again with the reality that there's only so much of me to go around.  It's humbling to admit.  Very humbling.   And maddening.  The superwoman cape goes back into the closet.

The answer is to step back, put all the To Do's on the shelf for a minute, and regroup.  Evaluate: what is important enough to stay, and what things (regardless of how wonderful) need to go?  Tell the taskmaster inside my brain to go get a coffee, and then lock the door behind her.

Regrouping also means putting some things back IN to the day that have wandered off and gotten lost: time to rest, time to eat well, and time to spend with the family.  (Wow, this is embarrassing. ) And I was really in a quandry about how this was going to ever work.  But I had to do it.  Preferably, before I ended up in the hospital.

My weekend out in Maryland was a great time to draw the line and come home with new priorities and expectations.  I have lots of great support from friends who are skilled in these areas of their lives, and I'm hanging on to the wonderful mentorship they offer.   And, so far, so good.  I'm on my fourth day of the Return to the Alton Brown Food Plan, and I'm feeling ever so much better.  I've scheduled an hour a day to spend in true leisure activities (reading a BOOK, working on a knitting-for-fun project), pushing away from the computer more, and trying to get a reasonable amount of sleep at night.  These are all pretty radical steps for me.  Especially the eating part, which requires spending lots more of the day in thought and preparation than I usually am willing to spend.  But I know it's going to be worth it.

How about you?  Are you on the Treadmill of Doom?  Let me encourage you to step off and take a little break.  If you want, we could encourage each other to stay on track.  I actually think I'm getting more done and being more effective than I was before.  Seriously.

I want to acknowledge the crazy art of Terry Border in the photo above.  Please check out his hysterical blog and art here.  He's brilliant and twisted.  (Pun intended.)

6 comments:

  1. Excellent plan, Cindy. I know eating right, getting regular exercise, drinking more water, and getting more rest, always make me feel better and I have lots more energy. I think I might join you! xoxo

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  2. It's so easy for all of us to have too much to do, not enough time, and a lot anxiety worrying about how we'll get it all done. Some thoughts from my recent book reading that I'm enjoying, because they help me be more mindful of the present. Which helps with this whole anxiety of too much to do (and feeling bad about what I have/haven't done in the past) thing. #1 - Forgiveness is the letting go of the hope for a better past. #2 - The future is just a thought. An idea. The solution? Live in the present. This moment is what we have and what we can know. So enjoy this moment. And this one. And this one. :)
    Okay, more thoughts. In the end, just three things matter: How well we have lived, How well we have loved, and how well we have learned to let go.
    Or how about this - which doesn't really pertain to what we're talking about, but I love it anyway:
    "This life is a test-it is only a test.
    It it had been an actual life, you would have received further instructions on where to go and what to do. Remember, this life is only a test." (Jack Kornfield)
    I'm glad that you're taking the steps to lessen the anxiety of "too much-ness" in your life right now. You need some time to take care of you. Only when you take care of you can you then don that superwoman cape and take care of others. :)
    I'm off to check out Alton Brown's diet. I know you were talking about it last week and I'm interested.

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  3. Wow, this really hit home! Over the last couple of weeks, I have taken the first step - admitting there is a problem. Taking an hour each day for leisure is such a foreign idea to me! It is nice to know that I am not the only one feeling this way. I will be joining you on stepping back from the computer, taking time to eat better, and telling the task master to go jump off a cliff :)

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  4. Green tea as part of the diet? Amen!! :)

    Seriously, if you'd like easy recipes for veggies, I have tons! I am of the conviction that cooking should be just as a pleasurable part of dinner as eating it and this includes kitchen-toiling time.

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  5. I'd love some, Ellie - especially stuff that is ripe right now. I'm pretty good at sauteing cut veggies in light oil with salt and other spices. I do have some young onions in the garden that are great to pick fresh...

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  6. Yes, simple sauteing can make a great dish out of any vegetable! I also like to steam them and then sprinkle with olive oil and lemon juice, + some minced garlic & salt. Makes miracles out of carrots, green beans, asparagus, spinach and my favorite, beet.

    Green onions I use for my favorite salad (tomatoes and cucumbers), added to any soup, omelette or stir-fry as you also do. Also, in rice (just saute lots of onions, then add one cup of rice and 1 1/2 cups of water, some salt - it's ready in 20 min). I like it when the veggies are as much as the rice, proportionately.

    Also, there is a recipe for luchena banitza - a Bulgarian filo dough dish that's similar to spanakopita. Make a creamy soft mix of eggs, ricotta, salt if the ricotta is not salted. Add the chopped onions and some spinach if you need more green :) Then take two sheets of fillo dough and spread them in a greased baking dish, sprinkle with olive oil, a thin layer of the mix, then fillo dough again and keep layering until you are done. Then bake at 375F until it's golden brown. My favorite spring dish!

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