Take A Superhero Sabbatical
Over the past month, I paused from some commitments I was able to (including curating content for fullofsage) on some self-help ish.
I needed to do this badly, having just made a major move to the Republic of Texas, switched careers and ended a long year of mucho mental and physical pressure. I needed room to breathe, evaluate, start to clean house and rebuild.
I realized the advice I've given others to take a significant break from at least one demanding life activity is advice I've never actually taken myself.
Was I good at dedicating some concentrated time over a weekend for introspection? Yes. Good at saying to someone, anyone “I'll be out for a month” and not feeling perpetually bad about it (which kind of defeats the purpose of the whole thing)? Hell no.
Probably because it's a pretty challenging thing to communicate & accomplish, especially for us full-time and part-time people pleasers.
Tired of feeling spent and realizing that I was pretty much failing at everything, I committed to take a sabbatical from being a rather unreliable superhero.
I set out in a simple direction.
"I will be observant of myself and listen to what I have to say."
That was my quiet mantra and all I wanted to do well, even if I didn't do well at anything else. I promised I would try to focus hard on that intention whenever I felt tempted to worry ad nauseam about everyone else's feelings, every possible consequence or anything else I couldn't get my hands around.
I chose what I could pause on.
My day job wasn't an option nor was my weekend job as a Reservist, but my passion project was and so was my trying to keep up with calls and texts or worse NOT keeping up with them and making a whole new profession out of worrying about how I couldn't keep up with them.
I set a return date.
The decision to break came on about December 15th. At first, I decided I'd return on January 1st. That felt good and conservative. But after further consideration, I realized that it would be more balanced for me to break until mid-January. The beginning of the year would be packed, and if I resumed my dropped commitments then, it could negatively affect me more. The adjusted date also made more sense with fullofsage's posting schedule, so it was a good, clean break.
I spoke with Keriki about breaking until January 16th from fullofsage so I could be optimally engaged and reliable after I dealt with the things I needed to and she understood. In the event that you come across someone who's not so understanding, get your CEO up and decide whether you can and will compromise.
I cut my losses.
I realized I couldn't commit to returning everyone's calls, texts and emails. I may not be the best friend or most reliable to others. My meal prep may go undone. Somebody might get mad. And all that happened. I decided early that I'd have to learn to take a big fat "L" on these things to reach my mini sabbatical goal.
I got me an Alfred.
Still, cutting my losses was really hard. I'm a rather internally anxious person as it is, especially about things I don't do well. And I'm reeeeally not the best at correspondence. I needed help. My boyfriend was super helpful in reminding me to mind my stress. He'd give me some quick encouragement or make me watch some mindless television to chill out. He'd also encourage me to quickly take care of the things I could to help reduce overall stress. Whether it's a sibling, S.O., parent, friend, coworker or other trusted agent, get you somebody who can do both.
I tried to remember that I'm the only one whose job this is.
I knew well that if I didn't take care of myself in this basic, no one else would. And it's no shade. But people can only see you through their own lens, and most often no one has as clear an appreciation for what you're dealing with as you do.
After all, I'm very glad and proud of myself for having taken that pause. I have plenty more to work on, but this was the right way to start the year, taking bold action to regard myself and my wellness. I hope my experience helps you hang up your cape a little while. Godspeed.