The Anatomy of a Burnout – Finding Balance

Screen Shot 2015-06-27 at 10.20.49 AM I want to start off and apologize to readers for being MIA for the past month. I cannot tell you how many times I have tried to write this post – each and every time I have shut my laptop, walked away from the computer, frustrated that I could not put what I have been feeling into words. This post still may seem like one incomprehensible paragraph after another, but it is my attempt to get it out there, a heaviness I have been feeling and the need to get it off my chest at last. I have been lately struggling with a feeling of discontentment for a little while now. I have tried to put it aside, push forward, ignore it, because it has been something I can handle. I have hit a point though and I am experiencing what they call a burnout. To be honest, handling it isn’t going so well. Now don’t get my wrong, by no means am I depressed, unappreciative of the things I have in life, nor do I feel like my life is falling a part (though one weekend I was pretty convinced it was). I still laugh at jokes, I still make jokes, I still enjoy and smile at the small and beautiful things that life has to offer. Something feels off though. I remember back to last year during my year in Saskatchewan. Since my arrival home and while living back in Ontario, I have lost that girl I flourished to be out west. I think back to these happiest of times and how happy I was with myself in how independent and well rounded I had become. I was so proud of myself. I was proud of my accomplishments, my independence, and with that, my love for life and this world had hit its all time peak. Right now though, I feel like I am at my all time low. I don’t have that radiant joy and that enriching energy I once had right now. I was nervous to write this post, because I am not one to put my feelings and emotions out there, especially for the whole inter-webs to view and read. In a way though, I think blogging about tough concepts can be a positive. With writing out my issues, following up with words of wisdom, and with a probable action plan, is there no better therapeutic-way to heal a burnout and an active thinker’s never-stopping mind? I’m not sure, but it’s worth a shot! Perhaps publicly announcing that something is off-set in your life is the push one needs to take action and make a plan to fix it and bounce back.

The Culprits to my Burnout

Work has been draining me, making me cry, and stressing me out to extremes I never knew existed. I have been so thankful to my boyfriend for all his support and being my rock, my co-workers for being constant reminders that I am a good teacher, and to my family who has been putting up with my depressing mood for parts of the year.  Who’s making me break? The parents. Without going into too much detail and remaining professional of course, I have been dealing with essentially smack talk that has been circulating between parents about me. It has been going on in bits and pieces throughout the year, but it wasn’t until April/May that it all started coming out full blown and it started to feel like harassment in the workplace. The next culprit, living at home. I am 25 and living at home still is not ideal for me. I love my family, but there comes a time where one is ready to just live on their own. I miss Saskatchewan for this reason. I miss having my privacy, living by my own rhythm, and I honestly miss being able to decorate and make a space my own. I was hoping to live at home for two years to save some money, but with one year already down, I think I can check out early and make a step in finding my own place to rent. Another pretty big culprit, so much to do, so little time. I want to make teaching resources, I want to sit down a do hard-core blogging, I want to read, I want to paint, I want to play ukulele, I want to just lay and do nothing, etc. etc. etc. There is always so many things that I want to do, yet there never seems enough time to do it all! A reoccurring dilemma for all people on the face of this planet I’m sure! My final culprit, not enough travelling. I have wrote about past trips on this blog and I have planned to document even more of trips I have taken over the years, but that’s part of the problem…I haven’t had a recent trip to blog about. I became a teacher, not only because I love what I do, but the holidays you get and the time off you have in the summer creates a wonderful opportunity to travel and explore the world. Last year in Saskatchewan, I did exactly this – I travelled to Florida for spring break, the Rocky Mountains for Easter, and then I ended my summer with a beautiful trip to Hawaii. This year I took a lovely ski trip with my boyfriend in January…and so far that has been it. Part of the reason I have not been travelling this year is because I fell in love and found someone who I want to travel the world with. With Andrew still being in school, travelling is not so easy for him at the moment. I choose not to travel, but it still kills me when I flip through travel guides, rip out pages of National Geographic’s, and stare at my pictures of places I once visited.

The Game Plan

Changing Jobs: I officially gave my notice and told my employer that I will not be returning next school year. What am I planning on doing instead – I haven’t a clue. I am not panicking though! I am confident that I will find another job. I have decided that I am going to take the summer for myself though to do some resource developing for Teachers Pay Teachers and to get into making some art for Andrew & I’s new Etsy shop. I am going to search for jobs still over the summer, but I am going to be choosy. Will I look for another teaching gig? Will I look for a completely different job all together? I am unsure. I have an idea of what I want to do, but we shall see what I am able to muster up. For now, I am just focusing on recharging the batteries from this school year, then I will start to polish the good old resume! Moving Out I am currently looking for a place in Cambridge, preferably Downtown Galt. I have always loved my hometown, but I fell head-over-heals for our downtown back when I was a little girl. The beautiful Grand River, stone architecture left, right and centre, little coffee shops and a farmer’s market. I want these things all in walking distance. Finding a place in this area with my budget may be difficult, and apartment hunting may be another added stress to my pile, but if it means I get a place that hits all things on my checklist, it’s worth it. The Travel Life I am so blessed to have holidays off, week-long winter and spring breaks, along with my two months of summer off – the best set up for a traveller who still works a full-time job! Part of what I want to make sure is being met from the travel end of my spectrum is to ensure I get two things: one big trip a year and small-mini trips throughout the remainder of it. Whether big or small, I want adventures and wanderlust all year long. I work hard from January to December, therefore with all the money I save I want to splurge and travel somewhere far and abroad. During those work months however,  I want to treat myself and do small trips a little closer to home, but nowhere near short of the adventure. A little easier said than done I think with this goal, but something I really want to concentrate on achieving. map sketched Making Office Hours:  I LOVE blogging. I love coming up with new post ideas, designing my layout, and just writing about things that I am most passionate about. I also love sharing ideas with others. Not only am I able to do this through my own blog, but also by reading up on the blogs I love and first inspired me to start up my own. In the future, I would like to set up days where I can dedicate my time to this blog. Perhaps the solution to making time for this is to set up a sort of office hours concept. Again, similar to the approach I am considering for blogging time, I think I may also have to set aside office hours alone for just developing teaching resources for my Teachers Pay Teachers store (visit it here). I have had so much fun making things for my own classroom and I love being able to share those ideas. I have already had some success thus far with my TPT store, which reassures me that the resources I am making are something that work not only in my classroom, but in others as well! Screen Shot 2015-04-01 at 10.03.37 AM Being with the Boy: What better way to heal from a burnout? Spending as much time with this individual as possible.  I am so fortunate to have someone who has so many of the same interests as I do! Travel, photography, playing ukulele, being crafty, working out, he loves it all, and a lot of the time we end up doing most of these things together. Aside from all of our shared interests, it is important to me to just spend time unwinding together and just simply talking – something we already do a lot of and thoroughly enjoy doing – ahhh I struck gold with this guy! DSC_0149

Family Matters: Between work and life, it is hard to spend as much time with my family as I once did. During my university days and my years of being a singleton, I spent days upon days with my family. Things have changed and morphed over the past few years, and I have loved every change, but one thing I want to remain constant is staying close with my family and making time for them. IMG_4914

Visiting Friends, New and Old: With living in Saskatchewan for a year, I made a lot of good friends, which sadly, I left behind when I moved back to Ontario. I have also made friends from my new work place as well and I love not only spending the work day with them, but also continuing to have a good time if we meet somewhere for dinner after hours. It was so important for me when moving back to Ontario to make new friends, since I have lost touch with so many of my old friends from high school and university. It was also just as important for me though to remain in contact with my friends made in Saskatchewan. Though distance can be tough, whether spread out in different cities with my Ontario friends or by several provinces few and far between with my Saskatchewan friends, I want to make sure that I make time for both sets.

Making Time for Me: I want to get back to being artsy. Painting, ukulele, photography – three joys and passions that I used to have time for (except ukulele until recently) ALL the time. It is important that I make time for these things once again. Once again, I know this is easier said than done, and most of the time these are the very things that get pushed to the back burner. I know I will have more time once I am on summer break to pursue these things, so I am content in waiting until then. IMG_0075 Last but not least, staying healthy and feeling good. This is a huge one for me. Working out and staying fit is important to me for not just keeping weight off and looking good, but more so for staying healthy and maintaing a healthy life style. I have full intentions of living until I’m almost 100 years old…wishful thinking yes I am well aware, but the only way I am going to get anywhere close to that age is if I stay a healthy girl (and hopefully somehow I landed some awesome family genetics!). Eating right, thankfully, is something I do not struggle with and is yet another thing that makes me feel good. I love coming up with new and healthy meals and snacks that I can feel good about putting into my body. The more nutrients and vitamins the better!

. . . . . .

A tough one to blog about, but I am so happy I did – this is my way of pushing myself to make changes in my life. Thanks for reading, I know this wasn’t a feel-good kind of post, but it is so nice to know that I can blog, whether my posts be about travelling, teaching, or just about thoughts and feelings on life. Thanks again!

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