Sometimes, after so many years of working at lululemon, I can trick myself into thinking I’m an extrovert.
I have come a long way in the years since I started there. Prior to my lululemon life, I would regularly need hours each day of total silence, so I could read, write, and recharge my batteries. Teaching in Japan often left me totally exhausted and I would recompense by shutting myself in. We once had a two week holiday in the spring where I only went outside to walk to the supermarket twice; I spent the rest of it listening to music, writing, and playing Final Fantasy VII. At the end of those two weeks, I recognized that I had gotten a little weird and needed people more often in my life!
I wouldn’t have believed you back then if you would have told me that in 2018, I would be working a busy retail job surrounded by people, and that I would like it. It took a lot of time and practice to grow my social muscle during the last six years. C used to get concerned about how tired I would be on days off, how it would take hours for me really wake up, and how drained I complained of being if we had social obligations.
What changed? Well, being in a leadership role where I work + being a mother has simply taken away any real chance of long hours alone to recharge, so I take it where I can get it.
That being said, if I don’t carve out even a little time for myself here and there, a day will finally come when I feel snappy, my neck hurts, and every little thing that goes wrong can make me want to cry.
Yeah. That happened today.
V is in a tricky stage lately where all she does in whine nonstop. It can be really challenging, both for C and me. She did that from the first minute she woke up today. I am also extra tired, have dropped and broken two things, spilled kombucha I was bottling all over the counter, tripped on my own shoes, got locked out of my bank account…
…and on and on and on, until finally I was like, Wait! What the fuck is happening?! Why do I feel like this?!
I ran through checklist:
- Have I had enough water? Yes
- Did I get enough sleep? Yes
- Am I hungry? No
- Have I been overdoing it lately and overcommitting myself? YES YES YES DING DING DING
Ah, got it.
Somehow, before I had even figured this out, my sweet husband offered to take V to see our relatives who are in town (whom, disclaimer: I have seen a LOT of lately) so that I could have a break, to which I could have cried and kissed his feet, honestly.
Annoyingly, I still spent the break doing some of the above things — getting locked out of my bank account, spilling kombucha, randomly deciding in the midst of all of this and doing two loads of laundry that this was the PERFECT time to write my uncle a letter since I haven’t responded to any of his lovely letters in MONTHS —
— until I literally, ten minutes ago, had to actually check myself and say, Jesus Jennifer, stop everything and sit the fuck down. If you’re stressed, write about some of that and get it out of your body. And for the love of god, try breathing and taking it slow for a second.
Ahhhh, that’s better.
So now, I am answering the phone for no one. I am sitting with some of the kombucha that remarkably did not spill, and Alexa is shuffling Frank Sinatra Christmas songs for me. It’s cloudy outside (will it rain on this poor state that has been on fire for over a week? Please do please do!), the air has a chill, and everything I need to do is done.
I also need to remember that I can get like this a lot this time of year, where visitors are frequent and everyone needs a little more attention and care (especially my two year-old daughter). I may need to ask for more breaks. I definitely need to take my thirty-minute lunch break away from work so I can read and not answer questions for people every five minutes.
Because even if I’ve tricked myself into thinking I am an extrovert, the truth is that I am not. I am an introvert through and through. And this time of year, more than ever, I have to build in firewalls to protect myself from getting maxed out.
Most of all, I need to put the phone down and just breathe. Because truly, everything can wait. Everything.
Do you find yourself getting burned out this time of year?