As I’ve mentioned before, I like to be busy. Idle time exacerbates my anxiety, and completing tasks on what some might consider an irrational to-do list gives me an endorphin rush that one might compare to what runners experience during a “runner’s high.” I couldn’t tell you. Running is very much not my thing, as much as I hope it will be some day.
That being said, I’d be lying if I told you that I don’t get overwhelmed sometimes. Time and time again, I find myself - nay, PUT myself - in situations (let’s own our actions here, folks) where I overextend myself past what is probably a healthy way of living my life by some standards. That being said, through therapy and a lot of self discovery, I’ve become more confident in identifying my limits and realizing that what I set as my limits may not be the same as others’. For a long time, I beat myself up for pushing myself into workloads that most would consider unreasonable.
What I never realized in these times of self-doubt is that these super busy times where I’m planning a huge event or project along with my responsibilities for work, home, and the other roles that I have are not “all-the-time” expectations that I hold for myself. I tend to give myself a few planned challenging times like this per year to really get my blood pumping (NOT my blood pressure - I’ve had it checked and we’re good!) and the gears turning in a way that is exciting and rewarding for myself. I’ve learned to create a routine that allows for seasons of madness followed by seasons of relative calm. In fact, learning to relax without guilt has been one of the most common themes in my therapy sessions for the last 20 months that I’ve been working with my therapist!
I guess the point that I want to get across is that there is no one formula for how to spend our time as busy, ambitious people that is the “right way” of doing things. The way that I do things as a full-time professor at one school, part-time professor at another school, business owner, union president, and philanthropist (not to mention my personal life roles) is going to be very different from the way others do things. Does that mean that I don’t encounter anxiety and depression along the way? Absolutely not. But I’m learning to feel my feelings, acknowledge them, explore the root of them, and continue pursuing my goals with respect for the life experiences that have driven me to pursue them.
Now go take a nap. I give you permission. :)