I was starting to think something was seriously wrong. I was tired. So tired, that some days at work I would go home early and straight to bed at 4 pm.
I started trying different solutions – I stopped drinking coffee, started drinking green smoothies every day, and I was planning to get my thyroid levels tested.
But nothing worked.
It was an intense time. I had been working full time, writing a book and developing a business on evenings and weekends.
Finally – I took three days in a row off everything. I had booked a ticket to a dance workshop months before and knew I wouldn’t get any work done.
And in those three days, I got out of my head and into my body. I remember after one beautiful dance wandering out into the hallway where some of my good friends were talking about what brings more meaning into their lives. Typically I would have loved this – good friends, good conversation. I tried to join but eventually ended up wandering away.
I didn’t want to talk. I didn’t want to be verbal. I wanted to stay connected to the other part of my brain. The part that dance and painting arises from. I wanted quietness and movement.
In this moment, I realized, I hadn’t looked out the window in months. I had been too busy trying to get out the door, to the café or the office and onto my computer.
I had managed to fill every moment of my day with words. I read books, listened to podcasts on my commute, I wrote articles and stories and workshop outlines. I talked to friends on the phone I watched tv in the evenings exhausted.
There was no blank space in my life.
Long ago, I dated a man who was obsessed with typography – he loved letters and fonts and putting them onto the page.
And he talked about blank space as being as important as the words. If everything is too crowded together, you can’t see anything. If everything is to crowded you can’t breathe while you’re reading.
And this is as true in life as it is in book making. We need blank space to balance out our periods of intense work. And if you’re feeling overwhelmed, it’s likely because your are deficient in blank space.
But it’s not hard to find. You just have to make an effort. There are many easy ways to find blank space. You could:
- Listen to music instead of podcasts or talk radio on your commute
- Before bed: take a bath. Shut the lights, shut the door.
- Schedule 10 minutes to stare out the window every morning as you drink your tea.
- Buy an adult colouring book and colour while listening to music
- Draw or paint or play music
- Dance as you do the dishes
- Join a soccer league or a zumba class
Because you know how my story ends?
My thyroid levels are fine. Stopping coffee didn’t save me. Green smoothies weren’t my solution.
Blank space is.
And I have to say it feels like a million dollars to have energy coursing back through my body.
So take your energy back. Carve out 5 or 10 or 20 minutes of your day and give yourself some space.
Do you want:
Hope all is well with you.
Take good care,
Career & Burnout Coach