Overwhelmed, Under-chilled – Oops, I Did It Again!

Ugh. Here we are again.

I feel like I’m constantly ricocheting through the same cycle of emotions. Just a few weeks back, I was looking forward to a weekend trip to stay at my friend’s Hereford. Those weekends are always a breather—a mix of relaxation, laughter, good food, and drinks.

But when I got home on the Sunday, that familiar feeling of overwhelm engulfed me. No one was home, and the house wasn’t upside down, but my brain was in its default mode of “right, what do I need to do next?”

I was determined to chill out and not let my feelings take over. I pushed the growing urge to clean, write and check my emails deep down into the depths of my brain. Fortunately, the husband walked in the door at that point, and we chilled in front of the TV.

The tiredness from the 3-hour drive eventually took over, and I went to bed, pleased that I had managed to leave all of my “to-do” items alone. Sadly, my brain wasn’t on the same page. I was awake at 4 am on Monday with, quite frankly, pointless, unimportant items dancing around my head, so I decided that the best course of action was to get up and on with the day.

At 5:30 am, I was out walking. It may as well be 1 am. It was so dark and desolate out, but I did it and felt better for it. But of course, overwhelm was indoors waiting for me like a dark cloud of gloom and no sooner was I sat down than my brain going on at me.

I cried twice that day. I knew it all probably seemed worse because I was tired, but that didn’t make me feel better. It only made my brain chatter more. I wanted off this relentless roundabout of internal noise.

I forced myself to sort out my car insurance, seething again that I had to physically speak to someone to cancel my policy and couldn’t do it online. Cancelling should be as effortless as buying, and they rely on people not wanting to make the call to make money, and it shouldn’t be bloody allowed.

On Tuesday, I was awake early again, although I got up at 5:30 and made some tea. My walk would be later today to my counselling session.

I considered what I wanted to discuss as I walked to my session. What I really wanted right now was to stand still and stop. I had a few busy weekends coming up and my brain was just a jumble of plans, outfits and how I was going to fit everything I needed to do in between.

The ever-present lump in my throat felt more prominent than ever as I discussed all of this with my therapist. She told me something that was then screamingly obvious. I was once again on the verge of burning out. I was in over my head with everything I needed to do and wasn’t taking any breaks.

The mornings, evenings and weekends that I hadn’t earmarked for work, I had been spending writing, planning and sorting other things out. There was no breathing space, not a nanosecond and I was quite understandably exhausted.

She told me I needed to take some time off, no writing, no thinking about work, just everyday living. I needed to set some proper work boundaries to separate my work life from my home life.

My initial reaction was panic. I had busy weekends coming up, so there was no downtime there and I needed to work in the week or else I wouldn’t get paid, but then I realised that I could move some things around and have Friday and Monday off.

The thought of having some time off to do nothing excited me. Was this something I could really do? I knew that it also meant getting back in the sanctuary to do my work instead of sitting downstairs in front of the TV, in and out of the same chair all day and night, was not a good way to work.

With three more workdays left, I made a pact to finish by 5 pm, switched my phone to ‘do not disturb,’ and in the kitchen, once dinner was ready to stop the mindless scrolling that had become my nightly ritual.

I watched TV, read my book and did some crosswords – and I bloody enjoyed doing them.

When Friday came, my day off, I got up with a whole day in front of me with zero plans, and I had no idea what to do with myself.

I resisted the urge to write, research, plot, and plan and even managed to reduce my scrolling. I did what I used to do on weekends before venturing into self-employment—chilled out, disconnected from work. Well, maybe not entirely like the old days, but definitely more than I had in the past year.

It was glaringly evident—I had fixated so much on self-improvement and growing my business that I’d forgotten to pause and recharge. I’d forgotten how to.

I realised that getting better and growing isn’t just about hitting goals—it’s also about taking a breather and letting yourself recharge. That’s where the real magic happens.

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