I had my first extended holiday overseas for two weeks after 3 years of working non-stop, and I just came back. Between this and the last time wanderlust bit, I’ve been majorly productive – there was a major website overhaul and redesign, a wedding, a funeral, a major freelance project, teaching assignments, a big launch and lots of other fun and serious stuff in between.
Suffice to say, I needed to go away. I had to – for my sanity’s sake. My engine has been running on full speed for the past few years that I almost found it impossible to stop. What would happen if I did? Would things stop? Would time stop? Would I stop?
And stop I did.
I stopped to look, listen and explore again. And this time it’s without a purpose other than the sole pleasure of drinking things in. I took great joy and pride in re-learning routes on the Tokyo subway, and I stopped caring that my sputtering of Japanese vocabulary had regressed even further since my last trip in 2010. I stopped caring about what others thought of me as I walked around wearing socks and sandals because I was most comfortable walking around in them (my feet can’t quite stand fully covered shoes – they hurt and blister my feet!)
Mainly I stopped beating myself up for taking a break. I used to think that if I stopped just for a while, the balls that I had juggled in the air all these while would all fall on the ground – bouncing off the floor, mocking me as they rolled to a stop. None of that happened. In fact, I felt a lot better for allowing myself to stop and just breathe.
No phone calls.
No replying of emails unless it was absolutely urgent.
No social media (except for Instagram – I cheated on that one).
While I was away, I felt that the heart, time and energy that I’ve poured into my projects had left a void inside me. Much like the theory of energy transference, I transferred my hopes and dreams into something tangible, and now I was the one in need of a refuel. Like designers and artists who use their energy to create, their fuel is gathered through the experiences – whether it’s through those that they seek out, or those that seek them. An imbalance in the cycle – whether through a lack of input or output, would cause things to break. People. Relationships. Work. Something always breaks.
The trick is to recognize before that break happens, and do something about it. It’s not always easy to know it before it’s too late. So the best course of action is to go away before you need to step away.
Otherwise you might never make it back.
SHARE WITH ME:
Have you ever been burnt out, and what did you do to overcome it? What soothes your weary soul and recharges you?
[P/s: if you’re on Instagram you can see where I’ve been over here!]
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