I have many, many faults. Oh boy. Lots. One of the larger ones is when someone tells me I can’t do something. It’s like a dare and I have to prove them wrong. Enough introspection on this is really a self-confidence aspect where I need to prove to myself that there’s nothing I can’t do. There’s a 1 sentence summary of 20 years of self-reflection for ya!
So what does this mean in a practical sense? It means I just don’t give up, and will try and try until I wreck myself. I live on the edge of eternal burnout, always pushing myself to do more. It has serious impacts on every part of my life, and without counsel, it can be destructive in my relationships. I might invest myself into a project so fully that my mind just cannot disconnect from the topic, even if I’m with my family. I seem distant and detached. I can be irritable if there’s a big problem I’m on the edge of solving and something “simple” gets in the way. I can be downright hostile if someone gets in my way of implementing a change.
I’ve taken to multiple tools to help regulate this. Games are a massive one, where my problem solving/optimization mindset can target something else. Physical activity / workouts allow me to burn energy in a focused spot, though I do tend to push myself to limits here. Reading and talking about my mindset are also great outlets. Talking to myself in the mirror is how I start and end my days (it doesn’t answer me yet, so I’m good).
When I don’t do this, when I push myself too much, my body enters survival mode. I lose my appetite, I have trouble sleeping, and I’m effectively running on fumes. I can live in this mode for a very long time, but my body will continually degrade. I’ll catch horrible chest colds. I’ll get the stomach flu. And I’ll just plow through it towards my goal.
But everything has a cost, and the moment I let down my guard, the body just shuts down completely. Vacations and holiday breaks have been really bad for this, where the first 2-3 days I’m practically in a coma. What kind of deal is that for the people close to me?
The last time this happened was about 5 years ago. Since then, I’ve taken larger steps to self-regulate, to manage my stress levels. I take more time off to recharge, I divest and share the responsibility. It allows me to not work and trust that even though stuff wont move at my speed or even stall, at least it won’t regress. With the holiday break coming up, this year is a bit different. COVID has hit me something fierce, though a lot of comfort knowing my job is secure. I’m really looking forward to the break, and stepping away from work for a good bit. Sure, there are big files underway, things that have kept me awake late at night, but I’m confident I can disconnect for a period and enjoy what I have.
As the holidays approach for many of us, I do hope you can all enjoy and appreciate that time we do have. I’m conscious that this year is different for a bunch of reasons, and all the more reason to stop, think, and thank for what I do have. Wouldn’t be here without the people around me. Take care!