It’s been a rough week. There was an important deadline at school, and then I had to present some results (results? what results? ha!) to my research advisor and some other folks. I didn’t hit quite the same level of total freak-out that I have with deadlines in the past, but let’s be honest – that’s not a very high bar. Instead, I just felt like I had a constant live wire of tension running through my body. All I wanted was to snip the wire and relax, but I couldn’t.
Since school had to take priority, the house is a mess. A real, there-is-so-much-cat-hair-on-this-rug-that-it’s-driving-me-nuts mess, not a “my house isn’t quite up to Martha Stewart levels” mess. Worse, I feel as though I haven’t been able to give my son the attention he deserves. His father has invented some adorable baby games this week, and I haven’t had the energy.
When a perpetual undercurrent of anxiety finally disappears, it leaves behind not elation but exhaustion. So this morning, with all the deadlines past, all I really wanted to do was sleep. When Little Boy went down for his nap, I gave myself permission to do the same. I could’ve used the time to do some of those things I’d had to put off (like vacuuming), but I chose not to, knowing that I needed to go into “recovery mode” before I crashed.
If you’re not me, this might seem like a no-brainer, a completely obvious decision. Why should you have to rationalize taking a break? It’s tricky for me, however, because I can get stuck in recovery mode. It’s all too easy for the lure of sleep or mindless web browsing to take over, and it becomes both a symptom and cause of depression. I wind up lacking the energy to do anything, while deeply unhappy that I’m accomplishing nothing.
It’s a fine edge to balance – recharging time is necessary, but how much is too much? I’ve noticed that having hobbies helps; if I actually do something I enjoy, rather than just lazing around, I am happier.
Of course, sometimes you just need a nap. Or at the very least an extended period of pseudo-meditation, which is what happens when I lay down but don’t fall all the way to sleep. This morning’s decision was the right one: afterward, I felt refreshed and more prepared to tackle the rest of the day.
Now if you’ll excuse me, it’s time for what will hopefully be a good night’s rest.