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About Burnout

Ah! It’s Beautiful Spring Again!

Spring is always a great time to renew oneself. Something about the new flowers, the fresh greenery, and the mild weather makes us all feel refreshed. Awake. It’s also a time when I tend to want to write more. I sometimes have these big, scary goals for the summer and think to myself, “I can do this!”

But this year, I’m trying a different approach. As I stated in an earlier post, I’m working on balance this year. I read lots of articles about people not getting enough sleep, not eating well, not taking vacations, and neglecting their mental health. Everybody is grinding, working on their hustle, and trying to make ends meet by working a bunch of jobs back to back. While I do think there is a time and a place to burn the midnight oil, I don’t want that to be my everyday life.

I believe that sleep is the most important thing you can do for your health. As someone who has gone through bouts of insomnia, not getting enough sleep causes me all kinds of other problems. I don’t sleep, so I’m tired in the morning (and all day long), so I reach for caffeine to get me through the day. I make poor choices on food (opting for things with a quick energy) and find myself tired but not sleepy at night. So the cycle repeats.

Now that I have a better handle on my health, I find myself getting a good 7-9 hours of sleep a day. I’m rested, more focused, and ready to tackle the day. I also find myself making better choices with my diet and I’m more productive. I honestly don’t think I could’ve done a blog post a day for a month challenge a year ago, when I felt so bad. Now look, we’re eighteen days in and I haven’t skipped a day yet!

Working like a crazy person may seem great and might even be fun for a little while, but I don’t think it is sustainable. After 20 years of working a full-time job and writing fiction, I know how important it is to find a balance. Your body only has so much give as you age. And mentally, it can take a toll to wake up and realize that all you’ve done is work and not built a real life.

Same is true for the other side. If you’ve partied a decade of your life away and not gotten serious about the kind of life you want to build, you may be shocked at how much time you’ve wasted not going after your dreams. Burnout from an immature life can be just as damaging as being on the grind all day, everyday.

Maybe that’s why NanoWrimo hasn’t really appealed to me. I’m more slow and steady, with my writing. Other aspects of my life, like getting out of debt, I could go crazy on for a short period of time, but not writing. A few pages, or paragraphs, a day is my speed. The story gets written and I get my sleep. Maybe this is why I am still writing after all these years. I haven’t suffered burnout from it. I write at a steady pace (although not much) and don’t get sick of it.

Balance, that’s where the magic is for me. With it, I can do the impossible.

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