I am tired and irritable, so let’s grab hold of a silver lining and use this as an opportunity to talk about strategies for recharging, shall we? Because they are certainly on my mind right now as I try to implement them.
I first noticed I felt socially tired around the end of March, ie when I was in the middle of moving. Not a huge shocker. I thought it would pass once I’d completed the move and had some time to relax. But while it held relatively steady for a while, it also wasn’t dissipating. And then instead it began to build.
I noticed I was feeling more stressed about common occurrences in my life, like scheduling and driving. Soon thereafter, I also noticed I was just generally more irritable. Doing things that are challenging for me in the best of times, like setting boundaries, saying no, and handling lots of last-minute changes became ridiculously hard. My tolerance for receiving repeated unasked-for advice and not being listened to–hot buttons for me in the best of times–fell even lower than usual.
And then I attended the Nebula Awards Weekend. I knew I was in a danger zone, so I was very careful to take plenty of time for myself, and I have to say, everyone I interacted with was lovely. I am so grateful for the respect and kindness with which my colleagues treat me. The weekend was in some ways like taking a nice warm bath of social goodness.
But I entered this week still feeling irritable, with an added side of exhaustion. And since I’m ahead of schedule on Beast Girl, I figured I could take a little extra time to recover from my social burn-out. Here’s what I’m trying:
1. No scheduled social events for several days in a row. (Well, except for one hour-long family thing that was important and already scheduled.) So far this has been BLISS. I’m finally getting a chance to really rest.
2. Avoiding particular stressors. I’m deliberately driving less and have even taken some days during which I don’t have to drive AT ALL. I’m not scheduling things for the future, either. I figure most things can wait a week or two. Basically, whenever I feel stressed about something, I ask myself, “Is this important right now?” If it’s not, I postpone it.
3. Being gentle with myself. I’m refusing to do most planning and decision-making type things. Of course, this doesn’t mean people have stopped asking me to plan and make decisions. Also, I’m still irritable, which means the occasional spasm of irritability reaches the outside world. Castigating myself for not being as perfect as I want to be isn’t going to help the situation though, so I’m trying my best to be kind to myself instead.
4. Making music. I love singing and playing the piano, and I haven’t been doing much of either lately. That has changed this week, as I’m learning two fabulous Moonface songs and getting slowly back into practice. I love the physicality of singing and playing and how it brings me back into my body.
5. Reading. Because there aren’t very many activities more soothing to an over-socialized psyche.
6. Taking hot baths. Except for this.
7. Watching educational videos. Because feeding my brain makes me happy.
8. Spending time with Nala. Because unconditional love makes me happy, and watching Nala blissfully flop around the house reminds me of what it means to be relaxed.
9. Being grateful. I’m so glad I can take this space, and it gives me time to think about all the people and activities in my life that I love.
What do you do to recharge? How do you know when you need a social vacation?