Yesterday, I wrote about the importance of taking time off. I wrote that post because I realized this past weekend (again) how much I need to give myself time to decompress.
After an extremely busy first quarter, I was totally burned out. Grumpy, tired, impatient, unpleasant to be around, frazzled, overwhelmed—I was all the mental-health dwarves, and then some. My family wasn't enjoying my company, and neither was I. I was flailing around in my work, dealing with all the urgent stuff and not getting any of the important stuff done.
In other words, I needed a break. So I packed up my (wary) family and headed into the mountains of Eastern Kentucky for spring break. I knew the restorative combination of a cabin without WiFi and some intense nature would get me back to baseline.
It wasn't easy, though. The first two days, I was still snappish, impatient, grumpy, frazzled and overwhelmed. The first walk we took, around the 40-acre property we were staying on, I was a ball of tension and complaints. To my family's credit, they didn't just leave me out in the woods. They gave me space, and time, and hugs, and eventually, I chilled the eff out.
By our last afternoon at the cabin, I was calm. I could sit on the dock of our little pond and watch the fish and the salamanders swimming around and breathe without wanting to rage. I could think about the upcoming quarter, with all its challenges and demands, without wanting to cry in frustration and overwhelm. I was able to drive home on Monday, ready to face whatever was coming.
I know it won't last forever, but it'll get me through the quarter in one piece, and that's enough.