Time to Pause, Heal, and Catch My Breath

My contract jobs in my former field finally are done, except for some cleaning up and dealing with paperwork over the next couple of weeks. It was a marathon of work – last week, I clocked over 70 hours, and over 60 the two weeks before that. I pushed myself to the limits of my strength and endurance to accomplish the job, and the entire time, I was wondering why on earth I was killing myself. The pace I set myself at was entirely unsustainable, and I’m glad to move back to a manageable 30-35 hours work week (for shop work and a couple of commissions) this week and 20-25 hours next week, to take some time to spend with my family, and to work on the creative projects that seem more significant to me.

Before I can make a true, rational decision about the next path of my life, I need to give myself some time to heal and distance myself from the projects I’ve just finished. I think maybe a couple of weeks will do it. But I am so worn out – physically, mentally, emotionally. This is the pattern I used to do in the past, take on more and more projects until I feel numb and to the point of collapsing. I use work as a way to disconnect myself from feeling too much sometimes. Which is bad. We had to put our older cat to sleep a few weeks ago, and I haven’t been able to process that. I didn’t have time to do anything that would help me sort out how I’ve felt about that or what’s going on in my family or in the world. The absolute worst moment was last Tuesday, when I only got 2 hours of sleep to finish something, and my son begged me not to leave in the morning. I almost lost it.

In the past, I used to literally collapse for a week or two following one of these bouts of overwork. I would say I deserved to just sit and read or watch movies, and numb myself some more. This time, I feel like I can’t let myself do that. I need to keep moving forward, nurture myself and take the time I have to work on the projects that are important to me. I need to spend time with my family and get outside and remind myself why I work so hard. So that’s what I’ll be doing.

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