Overwhelmed is an understatement. Physically and emotionally, I am drained. A co-worker came up today and asked, “are you burning out?” It stopped me in my tracks. What does a burn out look like? Sleep is interrupted, anxiety is constant, there are no breaks, meetings are back-to-back, lunch is not a guarantee. If I am not currently burned out, I am most definitely on the fast track to it. Five more weeks of this hectic schedule may be my undoing. The co-worker continued, “I just don’t want to see you turn against the job you love because you are exhausted…you know, spread to thin.” On an ordinary day, in an ordinary term this would have triggered my defensiveness. But on this day, in this term in which I have taken on an extra class, an independent study, an afternoon program, technology integration, and an array of other commitments, he hit a rawness, and tearfully I replied, “I won’t ever hate this job, I am just really sad right now with how over-scheduled I am.”
Saying “No” is not in my DNA. Always wanting to be a “team player” I create my on worst scheduling dilemmas. So what do I do now? I have to continue like this for the next five week. It will be hard but I have got to stay positive, in control, and focused on the goal: facilitating teaching moments in my classes and being fully present with my students. Coffee will help me stay alert and cooking will help me replenish my soul. How do I fill up my empty cup of energy at the end of the day? Tonight I turned back to cooking. It always grounds me. The chopping, washing, prepping, sautéing, and baking puts me into a happy trance and fills my belly with homemade goodness. Perhaps I got a bit burned out because I stopped cooking for myself. Too many nights eating out plus this hectic daily routine led to my tearful breakdown afternoon. Tonight’s chicken, bacon, leek pie put the breaks on my spiraling. Standing over the cutting board, I felt some of the stress melt away. It also helped to have David there as my sous chef.