Listen to your body
I always attempt to take extra-tiredness or slight sickness as signs from my body that it needs rest, but it’s still really hard for me to actually cancel or postpone something having to do with my own work, let alone something involving other people! I always feel like I need permission to do so, and I obviously struggle with giving myself that permission. (Embarrassing example: last March I launched myself into a bad case of burnout while TAKING A CLASS about rest. Mara’s class is great, BTW, but you actually have to take the advice to get a lot out of it. 😳)
Also, what’s tricky is that balancing needed rest time with work time is always a moving target, especially for educators like myself with ever-changing workloads who are trying to balance teaching with performing and our other rotating creative pursuits. There’s also the tendency not to realize that we need more rest until after we’re already exhausted or sick. I wish that this were a how-to post with a tidy resolution, but I’m still figuring it out (I think most of us are). I’m at least doing better at recognizing my own work cycles, behavioral patterns, and the signs of the slippery slope toward burnout!
The real question is: WHY?
Why am I working so hard? Part of it is that I’m working on a project that means a lot to me, but part of it is still that baked-in Midwestern-farmer-descendant work-yourself-into-the-ground-because-that’s-what-we-do quality that I try so hard to lose.
Is it worth it to push through when you’re not feeling great? Maybe? Sometimes.
There are a lot of factors to weigh: whether you’ll be able to rest more after the period of “hustle”, how healthy you’re feeling, whether additional stressors are present in your life right now, whether it’s a typically busy season, etc. When it comes down to it, is it worth it to you to give up rest, time with loved ones, hobbies, home-cooked meals, etc. in order to pursue your career goals? Or how much of that is okay to give up? And for how long at a time?
My work has always been really important to me, but I think that I have always swung too far to that side of the rest/work seesaw, at the expense of a lot of things, including my own health. So, even though I do struggle with it, I am committed to resting and recharging as a basic personal value, even if it means that I make a little less money, or that some of my goals take a little longer to achieve. After all, no one ever says “I wish that I had worked more” on their deathbed. I want my workload and lifestyle to feel sustainable (which is obviously going to be different for every person).
This is not the post I thought that I would write this week, but these important questions are always rumbling around in the back of my mind (unless I’m too busy to think about them!), and I wanted to share my honest experience, since they might be in yours, too.
The sheet music store is coming!
As for the sheet music store, this is an idea that’s been brewing for a long time now, so it’s important to me to finish it soon, also because stagnating to-do list items start to rot and fester in my brain, making me feel even more stuck than I would have otherwise (the topic of Tuesday’s Instagram post. So, barring any further sickness, I am planning on finishing it by the end of January for sure, and I will welcome you to check it out next week!
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