Burnout, Executive Dysfunction, and Indulgence

I typically post my blogs at a different day and time than when I wrote them so I’m going to start marking the actual day and time. It’s 16:42 on September 19th, and I can’t decide what to do with my Saturday afternoon.

My planner works really well during the week because my schedule is consistent due to work. Sometimes on the weekends it’s not as great if I’m feeling rundown. Today it’s definitely been more like the latter.

I’ve been laying here thinking “I know I’m tired and it’s good to sleep, but I also need to [insert my entire todo list].” It’s difficult to get up and just do something.

I think I’m giving myself a pass this weekend because I’m feeling a bit burned out from 2020 but that doesn’t mean I get to skip my responsibilities and my actual self care. Indulgence is sleeping longer than you need because getting up sounds hard. I don’t want to be indulgent, so I think I’m going to start with something small and get my momentum going.

My hope is that this will get me moving to do other activities. Sometimes the resources we use for mental and physical health and products stop working, or need a jump start. When that happens I try to do an activity I enjoy that gets me moving, or turn on music I like while I work. Occasionally the making a list and just tackling one thing on it and deciding whether to rest afterwards or not is helpful.

Today, I think I’ll make tomorrow’s schedule so I start the day off right, and I’ll pick one cleaning chore, and one mindful activity (so not videogames) to do to relax.

This year is tough on everyone. What do you do to get yourself motivated, or started on a more healthy track or to do list?

New Year, Same Me

I don’t like New Years.

This isn’t because I hate parties, though, if asked to choose between a solitary activity and a party I’d probably choose the former about 85% of the time. No, it’s because I’m not a fan of the idea that you have to wait a year, for a magical day, to change anything about yourself. If that’s your thing, then you do you, but it’s not for me.

1. This opens up the next year for a lot of feelings of failure. You didn’t lose weight? Failed. You didn’t stop drinking? Failed. It’s this barrage of mental “you suck”s and then you have this expectation that the reset button is January 1st. Which for some, is 11 months away.

2. This leaves the idea that growth, learning, and success don’t also require mistakes.

3. It causes people to give up during a process that takes time, second (and third, fourth, 5th and so on…) chances, and a lot of getting back up and trying again with the same faith in yourself that you started with.

So, yep, I absolutely hate New Years. To me, these things should be tossed on their head and it should be done differently. For me, NYE is just another night. NYD is just another day. In fact, we spent today hanging out just like any other. I didn’t clean, I didn’t write resolutions, I didn’t pledge my year to health, or a skill.

I did buy some new instruments because going forward I would like to do more music related things. This thought isn’t stuck in the new year, it was with the new day. A new year’s resolution is like mud on your shoe. It starts fresh and thick and as you walk it rubs off in the grass, then eventually you forget it. But a new day’s thought, one that is less tied to time and more tied to you, is like a pet that walks with you and keeps you company wherever you go.

I want my goals to stay, not fade away as the year goes on. So I take every new day as a new chance. A new chance to drink more water than I did yesterday. A new chance to exercise. A new chance to clean, work on a skill, or change a part of me that needs work. But if I fail, I don’t think “time to quit until next year”, I just think: the next second, minute, hour, or day, are perfectly new and fresh opportunities.

No one is transformed when the clock strikes midnight. No one becomes someone new. The phrase “new year, new me” ignores the person you are. It ignores the good things about you. It ignores the process of improving, and the cycle of failure that naturally comes with it. Every day is a new chance to grow. Take the mistakes and embrace them, but don’t let them stop you from trying. Don’t forget the person you are, and embrace it. You don’t throw you away, you just add on better things. Don’t wait to make positive change, just make a new choice in the next second, not the next year.

There’s a lot of superstition surrounding new years: don’t go into the new year with anything you don’t want or you’ll have it the whole year. Well, breathe easy, because it doesn’t matter. Chronic illness teaches a lot of people that. The day changes constantly for spoonies. One minute can be wonderful and the next can be agonizing. If I quit every second I couldn’t breathe, or I was in pain, or felt nauseous, I’d never do anything.

My successes grew from a lot of moments spent on the floor. A lot of mental and physical illness moments. A lot of failures. I’ve had days that were going great, workouts happened, meals were cooked, the house was cleaned, and then the very next day it was destroyed. Those 2nd days sometimes involve me gasping for air, or wanting to jump out of my body because of some constant nagging pain, or struggling to do anything at all.

Sometimes, those 2nd days came after a doctor’s visit that destroyed my hopes. A visit that felt like my symptoms were so horrible, that I was struggling so hard, but that the doctors weren’t listening. Some visits involved waiting for tests to come back, and finding out still there were no answers.

One year, there were answers. After so many months of struggling, of tears, of shattered hopes, I finally found a doctor who listened, who believed me. I always think back to that any time I try something. I remember all the timed I failed or the situation failed me, and I think about how many times I tried again before finally getting some success. Every time we fall, we shouldn’t wait for a special day to make our lives better. We should get up, and push forward. At least that’s what I think, and I try to lead by example.

From Start to Finish

What’s the best way to manage time? How do you organize your own ambitions and interests? Do/did you just pick one to focus on and leave the rest behind? Do you do a little bit of each every day or week? Do you master one and move onto the next?

I think it’s safe to say I’m an organization fanatic. I love trying new ways of organizing my things and my time. I love filing at work. I love sorting out my things and folding clothes and arranging items. I love trying new time management apps and making lists; you get the picture. Anyway, my whole life, I’ve always made it my goal to improve in every aspect of my life. Lately, due to my graduation coming sooner than expected, and the added fact that I no longer attend classes, I’ve needed to rethink my time management. I’ve got to consider what I want to do for my future career-wise and with my hobbies.

I’ve been feeling like my old method of doing a different hobby/endeavor each day is failing me in terms of my potential. So, here’s my new plan:

Start something. Finish it. Move on.

Whether that thing is beating a videogame, learning a language, getting my body into shape enough to do something specific, writing, knitting, sewing, etc…

The only added rule is I also have to maintain the cleanliness of our apartment, as well as keep up with daily responsibilities and maintain things I’ve learned or achieved already. What’s the point of learning a language if I forget it a month or two later?

This is the way I’m going to try things for a while. Recently I’ve been trying to beat Witcher 3: Wild Hunt for PS4. You can check out my YouTube channel for those broadcasts. Then I’ll do something else, finish it, and move on. I hope this new way proves to be more beneficial. The way I’ve been doing it seems to have downsides.

In K-12 school, the worst part of the way we do it in America, is there’s always a review time which ends up becoming a “we’re learning it all over again” time. We’re thrown so much information, and the focus pinned on testing so much so that students often do rote memorization just enough to remember information for exams and then it’s forgotten in a night. I can’t tell you how many times myself and students I know spent cram sessions trying to “learn” the material to ace the exam. It doesn’t work and our teachers know it, but the system is broken and that’s how we learn here.

My way of jumping between tasks feels a bit like that: I don’t finish learning as often and I have a lot of half started projects which I’ll just have to restart later because I’ve forgotten what I was doing. It’s my little experiment; I hope it works.