with Mir Kamin
I'm a freelance writer and mother of two working from home, which theoretically means I can set my own schedule so as to best accommodate my family. In reality, "flexible hours" often equals "working too much." Yes, I'm my own boss; no, that doesn't mean life is easy. It's hard to leave the office when you live there. But I love what I do and feel very lucky. And not just because I get paid to work in my pajamas.
To learn more about Mir, check out her profile on Work It, Mom! or visit her blog at http://www.wouldashoulda.com/
‘Tis the season for my otherwise relatively peaceful slumber to be interrupted in one of three ways:
1) I can’t sleep. I toss and turn, thinking about all of the things I need to be doing.
2) I don’t go to sleep when I should, because I have too much work to do.
3) I fall asleep, and dream that I’m working. I wake up tired and grumpy.
The most wonderful time of the year? Uh, maybe for someone else. For me, pretty much the entire window from Thanksgiving to New Year’s is when I wish I did anything other than freelance. It’s a busy time for me, anyway, but the lack of vacation when my cube-farm friends are kicking back for a week or two is hard. And when my kids are off school and I feel like I’m chained to my desk, that’s hard, too.
I know. Wah wah wah.
I chose this life, and 95% of the time, I love it. Nevertheless, Burnout often feels imminent during the month of December, for me. So how do I get through? It’s all in the little things.
My mother and I have what’s become, at least to me, something of a joke of an ongoing back-and-forth at this time of year. We talk, she hears how stressed out I am, and she suggests that I take some time off and go get a massage. Haaaaaaaaaaaaahahahahha!
She’s just trying to help, and it’s a great suggestion, but I never do it. And probably I never will do it. I’m loathe to spend the money, and the one time of year when I need that massage the most is the very time when I can’t afford the time it would take. So she suggests, I say “Oh that’s a great idea, I’ll get right on that in my copious spare time!”, we both laugh, she tells me I really should, and I say I’ll consider it.
And then I never do it, for the aforementioned reasons.
So what to do? We’re talking about 4-5 week long chunk of time when I have very little free time, when I’m overworked and tired and trying to spend what little non-work time I have with my family. Over the years I’ve learned to do a few small things to help get me through these weeks.
I use good-quality scented body lotion. Does this seem like a ridiculous item? It is, kind of. I never spring for the fancy stuff except around the holidays; the rest of the time I use plain ol’ drugstore lotion and call it good. But during this crunch time, it takes me no extra time to put on the “good” lotion after I shower (said shower usually not happening until lunchtime, and feeling like the best part of my day when it does), and I get little whiffs of it for the rest of the day. I tend to pick calming scents like lavender, but I think whatever you like is a good choice if it makes you happier. It makes me happier.
I eat chocolate during the day. Despite trying to curb my snacking during the workday, this time of year I buy some dark chocolate—individually wrapped, smallish pieces—and have one piece every afternoon. (Often I’ll map out my schedule for the day and figure out what I have to complete before I’m allowed my treat.) (I wrote that sentence and then laughed out loud. Apparently I’m a very obedient dog!) Hey, if it’s a bad day, maybe I have an extra piece. It’s not going to kill me.
Even on the busiest days, I block off at least one solid hour to spend away from my desk. I’m not good at keeping up with, say, an exercise regime when I’m swamped, but as that hour (or more) is usually dinner with the family and other time with the kids, I make sure it happens. They need me and I need the break.
I forgive myself for letting other things go. The house is a mess and the laundry’s piling up. Know what? No one ever died from a little clutter and a few chores left undone. The rest of the family pitches in a little more and a little less gets done, and we all survive. I refuse to feel bad about it.
I play with the dog. My pup is a little bit of furry stress-relief, and when I find myself really keyed up during a hard day, I get down on the floor for a minute or two with Licorice. It takes very little time, she loves it, and I think it’s the quickest way I’ve found to blow off a little steam.
What little thing do you do to keep the stress at bay? Or do you just take my mom’s advice and go get a massage??
Subscribe to blog via RSS