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Hello! How have you been?
I didn't expect this almost a month-long hiatus, but Novembers are proving to be difficult months for me. I have not felt like myself, the mood of the month was "grumpy" and nothing made sense.
I hate being stuck in that state, which, you've guessed it, doesn't help in alleviating it.
This September, I've tattooed "pace yourself" on my forearm, as a reminder to not rush into things, and seek more balance in my life.
I thought I was pacing myself. I thought I was getting good at it.
The reason why is simple - I've felt innately better with myself and I've fallen into the trap of thinking that you can't get burnout if you're setting your own hours (and here I am working ~20h/week). I certainly can't become burnt out on 20h/week, right?!
But, ironically, I've forgotten just how much work I've done on myself.
Which, in the last 12 months is...
👉 1h psychotherapy 1x/week
👉 2h physiotherapy #1 11x in 4 weeks
👉 1.5h coaching #1 1x/week for 6 weeks
👉 1h coaching #2 every 2 weeks for 6 months
👉 1h physiotherapy #2 10x in 4 weeks
👉 1.5h yoga 2x/week for a month
👉 3h pottery 1x/week for a month
Let's not forget reading books, listening to podcasts, but also doing selfcare in the forms of learning to spend money on myself and go for a manicure, get a haircut twice in a year instead of once, buy myself a flower bouqet. These selfcare things may sound silly, but they still extracted energy from me because they are something I wasn't learnt to be doing.
And whilst some of these activities are finished and some are still ongoing (psychotherapy will be for a long time), as of last week I've also commenced working on my gut health. And the thing that I tend to forget... I'm also a full time Masters student.
If you're a mother, that's extra work time. If you're a carer of any kind, that's extra work time. If you're taking care of the home, that's extra work time.
At the time of doing all of the things above, I didn't feel like it's hard. I was tired from physiotherapy as I felt that's harder for me mentally than psychotherapy. I was failing to do something so often, it was a true test for how gentle I am being to myself. I thought that it wasn't too much. I thought that it was good for me.
Which it was, undoubtedly. But, what I learnt is that you can also burnout by overdoing the wellbeing. In retrospect, I have replaced professional overworking with personal development, but have kept the same behaviours.
Additionally, I have self-imposed burnout in my business too as what this November's existential dread got me stuck into is this:
But replace planning with thinking and you'll get how recent 6 weeks have looked like for me. I was so trapped inside of my own head, thinking of steps in advance, things I need to do in the future - but I was feeling the physiological anxiety now.
Wow, Franka - this must be a new record. Not only have you burnt out work-wise but self-wise as well 😅
So, what is a sustainable pace? How do I pace myself? Is it a linear graph with a very slow growth rate? Is it a sine graph?
What does feeling good for me look like whilst being able to show up for others?
That's the question I'll be answering in the next month or so. Because I don't feel good when I ghost you for a month, unplanned. I feel guilty. I don't rest because the task is always in the backlog of my head anyways, open. Unfinished. Undone.
I need the "dissapearing" as that's when I do my best work. But I also need connection. Knowing that I'm doing this for you. Sharing my thoughts and emotions as I navigate through all of this, so that it might help some of you.
I know I have just came back, but I'm leaving again. This was planned, though 😅
We have two more Real & Raw conversations of 2021 left, this Thursday with the wonderful Rachel Walker where we'll chat all things expectations and relationships (juicy!), and next week with Hanna Andersen around work, feminism and politics.
We have an amazing line-up of Real & Raw guests for 2022, all booked until end of March already. Watch out for the line up's sneak peek on Instagram 😉
On December 20th, Unsetting Expectations is pausing the publishing and we're picking it up again in the new year, from January 11th. I don't think I'll be sharing anything on socials either - I hope to uninstall Instagram and be fully present.
In case I don't show up in writing next week (you never know) — I'm wishing you all a wonderful, nourishing break on your own terms.