Wednesday, August 23, 2017
The cup is half empty
Today’s coffee: Indonesian coffee from Tokumitsu
I did everything I could. A day off every week, life-giving hobbies, daily quiet-times, plenty of sleep, four weeks of vacation each year. We had people looking out for us, both colleagues and friends. And yet, it seems that even our careful precautions weren’t enough. Eight months into working in our church in an emergency state, I burned out.
Back in college, only once, I drank enough to have a hangover. Only once. Once was more than enough. On the bright side, I can now say with personal conviction, when talking to young people, that drinking too much is not only inadvisable, but the effects are downright unpleasant.
I bring this up now because the effects of burnout are very much like a hangover-that-doesn’t-go-away. Let’s call it a stress-hangover. Headache, queasy stomach, lethargy, brain in a fog. Back in college, the day I had a hangover, I aced a German test. Now, with stress-hangover at age 36, I’m not good for much of anything that resembles work, except perhaps a snarky blog post. Writing helps me process, after all. Even being able to snark about things is a decided improvement over where I was a week ago.
On the bright side, I can now say with personal conviction that working too much, especially in a stressful environment, is not only inadvisable, but the effects are downright unpleasant. Cheers for coffee, my caring husband, and colleagues who give me space to sleep it off and help us find a more sustainable pattern of work.
Note for the concerned: We are well cared for here. This was no one’s fault. We continue under the strong conviction that we are where God wants us, and we continue to look for the way forward in this situation.