My job has moved from 20 hours a week to full-time, starting this week. While I have worked full-time for most of my adult life and most other people I know do the same, I’ve never worked full-time while also trying to work on my own business, take care of a house and yard with this high of a maintenance requirement, and tried to maintain a rigorous level of self-care. It’s proving to be a challenge to keep it all going.
This adjustment is even more challenging for me at the moment because there is so much ambiguity about the job itself. I’m in a new environment in a brand new area with my boss mostly gone, and I’m trying hard to be productive and useful without any clue of what’s happening. This means that there’s very little to do, which gives me way to much time to be bored and to over-think. That’s never a good thing. Being bored exhausts me much faster than being busy does!
The biggest challenge of all, though, is the change to my sleep schedule. I have to be at work earlier and I’m now getting up in time to do an hour of writing before work, which means that I need to get up two and a half hours earlier than I needed to be up before. So I am experiencing what is essentially really bad jet lag this week, and the exhaustion is causing everything else to feel bigger and more challenging than it really is.
Exhaustion stretches everything else out of proportion and makes it really hard to see things clearly. At least, that’s what it does for me.
I am very proud to note that my observer-self has become strong enough now to recognize this, even when I’m this tired. I know that as my body adjusts to the new schedule, all of this won’t feel as awful as it does right now, so I’m suspending judgment on the job, the environment, the situation, and my ability to juggle it all.
I am aware of judgment coming from others who have less need of sleep or self-care to keep them functioning at their best, and while it doesn’t feel good, I am not allowing myself to get roped into worrying about what they think. I know how quickly I can slide into depression without proper self-care, so I am going to continue to honor my body’s needs even when they make no sense to other people. This is a huge step for me, and I’m proud of myself for having grown to the place that I can honor my needs on my own and not get wrapped up in other people’s thoughts about it.
Most of the people I know are also going through really rough times right now, so I’m also learning not to complain about the little things, especially since I know that most of what I’m experiencing is just a part of being in the midst of transition and the accompanying exhaustion. They don’t have the excess emotional space right now to listen, and I’m discovering that it’s actually doing me good not to be able to complain about the petty stuff because it means I’m spending less time focusing on it and rehearsing it. And that’s a really good thing to know for future reference.
So it’s been a really rough week so far. All I want to do is sleep. And I still have a long way yet to go in this week. But I’m still celebrating me—celebrating how much I’ve grown, celebrating all that I’ve learned over the last few years, celebrating my commitment to self-care, and celebrating that I am keeping connected to my observer-self even when exhausted.
It’s easy to think I’ve grown when things are going my way and I’m feeling good about life. It’s the times when things are hard and I’m feeling discouraged that are the real test of my growth. I’m identifying areas that I still want to grow further, but I am passing this test. I have grown and learned and improved my life skills. And I’m really, really proud of me and the work I’ve done to get here.
Now I just need to catch up on my sleep. I know what I’ll be doing this weekend!
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