It’s 4:20 AM and my watch buzzes. It’s time to wake up. The bed is warm and the room outside the covers feels cool. Next to me, my partner radiates heat, my desire to get out of bed and leave him is low. I know we will get up, enjoy coffee together, and move to the next part of our morning; a spring time run. But today, and perhaps the day before that, I find myself resisting my otherwise enjoyable routine.
I can recognize it. Burnout. I’ve felt it before, I’ve fought it, faced it, conquered it. Now, in this moment, I have to remember how to wade through it.
I think about all the things out in front of me– I chose them. This reminder I use to push me forward. Run a 50k; a good idea at the time of registration, something to keep me running and in shape. A degree, an accomplishment I wanted but now can’t remember why? A family, a never ending joy that comes with never ending responsibilities. Eat well, sleep enough, feed your passions… Go. Go. Go.
What happens when your desire to go dissipates? There are so many responsibilities that come without choice, let alone the ones I chose. Even if you enjoy your responsibilities or feel a large sense of accomplishment when you complete them, there will be days when getting out of bed and enjoying a cup of coffee all so you can go run and head to work, will feel hard. You have to do it so you can afford to take care of your family and your passions. You will have to do homework with constant interruptions. You will find yourself feeling impatient because you just want to complete one task, just one, without having to do five other things.
You will need to whine to your partner, your friends, your boss or your teacher. You will need to “take a minute” to yourself because the alternative is snapping at someone who did nothing. You will need to give yourself pep talks about how, 'you got this' and 'you’ve done this all before.' You will often remind yourself, because you have been through this before, that it will get better. Don’t make drastic changes or decisions, just keep pushing. But take a power nap at lunch– five minutes. The not so sexy truth however, is you will probably need to ugly cry about all the stupid things you have committed yourself to before you really feel any better. Only to realize in the end, they aren't "stupid things."
After the tears wet your sleeve or saturate your pillow, suddenly you can handle it all again. Eventually you will even enjoy it once more.