Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Burned Out Momma

It seems today was a sort of awakening for me and I'm hoping that I don't hit the snooze button. 

I hit a virtual wall last winter and I have not been able to get over it. I'm constantly tired, no matter how many hours of sleep I get, my hair is falling out, I can't stop gaining weight, I don't want to visit people, talk to people, or go places. Basically, I'm just not me. I've been feeling this way for months; almost a year, in fact. At first I was worried that I was depressed. I talked to my family doctor who immediately offered to write a prescription to help get me through it (I think it was Zoloft or Paxil), but I wasn't ready to explore that route so I kept trudging on, making all the same motions, following the same routines all the while knowing that something is just not right with me. 

Today, I found a little hope.  Today I think I figured out what is going on with me.  I don't remember what I was googling, but I stumbled upon an article titled "5 Ways to Bring Yourself Back from Burnout" on Oprah's website (http://www.oprah.com/spirit/What-to-Do-When-Youre-Burned-Out-Consequences-of-Stress). The first two paragraphs from the article left me ecstatic at the thought that I may have found the cause of my issue as well as potential fixes. 

"You wake up almost as tired as when you fell asleep, four hours ago. After hitting the snooze button twice, you stumble to the kitchen and chug a quart of coffee. It doesn't help. Your face in the mirror looks like the child you might have had with Voldemort. You can barely squeeze into your last-resort "fat pants." Getting your kids off to school feels like climbing Everest; driving to the job you once loved, an uphill slog to the salt mines. You dread interacting with your coworkers. It's not that you aren't a caring, compassionate person; it's just that you hate everyone."

"If this sounds familiar, you may think you're depressed. But you might be dealing with a subtly different problem: burnout. Scientists differentiate the two, and it's a crucial distinction. If you confuse burnout with depression and address it only with antidepressants or therapy, you'll overlook the behavioral changes you must make to restore your depleted physical and hormonal reserves. Left unchecked, burnout can be lethal. So if you're anywhere between lightly toasted and totally charred, it's time to chill."

That's me!! Well, all except the hating everyone. I don't hate everyone, I just don't want to talk to anyone. Big difference. So now what. How do I get to the point where I want to take corrective action? I've been putting off exercise, mostly because there is no time. I don't eat terribly bad (no fast food), but I know I could make a conscious effort to eat better. I also know I need to get more than four- five hours of interrupted sleep each night. Lastly, I need to learn how to say no. At work, school, sports. 

I think it would be a little different if I were a stay-at-home mom. I am not saying SAHM's don't do anything!! I know how hard they work and what their days are filled with.  However, I try to do more than I should for someone who has an intense full-time job that involves travel. I need to be one of the moms who helps in little ways (i.e. Can I write you a check for that?). I am going to back off of some of my volunteer duties just a little. I need to make the same change at work. Most everyone knows that I won't say no when they come to me for help. They also know that I am a good listener and often have people in my cubicle telling me lots of things I may or may not want to know. Even when I keep typing with my back to them they continue to stand there and talk to me. I have even taken the extra step of leaving my book bag on the "visitor" chair in my cubicle to keep people from sitting down and no, that doesn't work So how do I change this? How do I stop being a people pleaser without becoming a bitch? How do I stop caring whether or not people think I'm a bitch? How do I stop caring if so-and-so doesn't like that I'm friends with so-and -so? How do I stop feeling like I have to do 101 things and go 100 miles per hour while doing them all?

 I guess I have a lot to figure out.  Wherever I start it's not going to be easy, so I'll start with the least difficult. Early to bed it is - which apparently means 10:30 for me.