Off Script: Force my hand to do nothing

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It’s a fact that I may work a tad, too much. I related to Tiana in Princess and the Frog when she came in from one job, fell asleep for a quick second, and then woke up to go to her next job. In back-to-back meetings, practices, interviews, and projects — I may only get a few seconds to breath before going on to the next.

I feel a little called out when I’m scrolling through a social media feed and a meme comes up encouraging the world to stop glorifying overworking as a sign of success. Some that have hit a nerve have included “Stop glorifying overworking,” “Burnout is not a badge of honor,” and “Sis, Breathe… There is no award for overworked female of the year.”

They say “if the shoe fits,” and oh, does it indeed fit.

I often tell others to fill their cup, because I am often taking time to meditate and fill my cup. But then, I pour it all out again. It got to the point that I probably overlooked some signs of illness that were sneaking up on me.

It turns out the flare ups I had been experiencing wasn’t just gas and inflamed stomach lining. No amount of Pepto Bismol or Tums helped. I ended up being hospitalized for a week because a leftover gallstone was stuck in my bile duct, which in turn caused my liver to stop fully functioning.

My health and wellness forced my hand. And, while I hated every minute of it I can see why I had to (am still) experiencing having to “take it easy” and “slow it down.”

I was admitted to the hospital on Labor Day (a Monday), which made the call to Taylor that he would have to put the newspaper together the next day absolutely excruciating and agonizing. My inner Capricorn, Executive ESTJ personality about had a panic attack at the thought of not being able to execute my job.

That evening, my page designer texted me telling me to go to sleep, and the melatonin the RN had given me kicked in, and I realized it was absolutely ridiculous that I was trying to finish some last minute work on my phone.

I missed four or five meetings that week between work and volunteer opportunities. My brain was in agony from not being able to “feel productive,” but my body was ever so thankful that I was just doing nothing.

I’ve been home for about two weeks now and I’m still having to remind myself that I need to rest, let others help out, and not to overdo it. And when I think I can, my body tells me I should not. When my brain won’t shut off because it’s going over lists of tasks to do, I’ve learned to start reading or to put on some true crime documentaries in order to calm it down.

The point of this all is to encourage anyone else in the community, who may be overdoing it to take a day off. Find tools and ways to help you truly take time to do nothing I have continued to struggle with the notion that if I wasn’t doing something I wasn’t being productive, helpful, or a contributing community member.

But, you don’t have to do all the things to help support your community or your family. You don’t have to constantly be working. Taking time to rest and reflect is just as important to your wellness and success. Which in turns, helps both you and the efforts and people you’re trying to support, thrive.

I’ll probably still do “many” things once I’m able to – but, I won’t do all the things. And, I’ll eventually be OK with that.

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