Burnout

When I was a kid, every time I complained to my parents about being tired, their response was always, “You’re young; you can handle it.”

So I would suck it up and deal with it.

 

I got my first seasonal job at 16. Since I was a homeschooler with no other responsibilities, my boss had me working 48 hours a week for a month or two; until other kids got out of school. It wasn’t hard work; I mostly just sat around and did odd jobs between the few customers that would occasionally appear… But the isolation would drive me crazy.

I wanted to quit that job a month in. But my parents didn’t raise a quitter.

So I sucked it up and dealt with it.

 

I’m coming up on two years at my current job. Like any job, it has its ups and downs; but all things considered, it’s a great match… Except for the burnout.

If I’m being completely honest, I don’t remember most of the past six months. I suppose part of that has to do with the tedious nature of my work; why should I remember anything if I can do my job in my sleep? However, the exhaustion that’s been slowly building up over several months tells me this mental fogginess has more behind it than a monotonous work life.

For months, I shoved the fatigue to the back of my mind with the mantra, “You’re young, you can handle it. Suck it up and deal with it.”

A few weeks ago, everything caught up with me. I didn’t think it was possible to get more tired… Then my immune system betrayed me and gifted me the worst cold I’ve ever had in my life. I tried to suck it up and deal with it. But the sickness won and caused me to cut out of work early two days in a row, for the first time ever. Even after recovering, my energy levels continued to dip, until the only energy I could muster was rage. Then even that wavered, and now I’ve been left with only one option: copious amounts of rest.

 

Rest has always felt like defeat to me. I put my mother through hell when she tried to get me to nap as a child; I put my boyfriend through the same hell last week. Somehow, I seem to think a good way of recovering from one thing is to add two or three other things to my agenda. While focusing on more enjoyable projects or working out can usually help refresh me, sometimes it takes some actual rest.

I wish I could say I’ve been productive this week. The reality is, I’ve been spending almost all of my free time catching up on sleep. I’m young; there’s a lot I can handle. But sooner or later, life catches up to everyone. I guess it’s time for me to learn how to take it easy sometimes, even if I don’t like it.

I’ll just suck it up and deal with it.

 

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