Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Holidays on the way, and I am ready, ready, ready

The first three months of 2015 have been considerably kinder to me, in all respects, than the last three months of 2014.

My health has had its wobbles; I've had a few bad nights and a few bad days, but overall, I've been much, much more stable than when I was flailing about drowning last year. Knowing that there is both a physical illness and an anxiety disorder at play in my bad moments has actually helped me dig up much faster, as I'm more accepting of things and less inclined to panic about them.

This is all good, and my family has definitely benefited from my calmer, happier demeanour. The work that I'm doing with my lovely therapist is helping me beyond measure, and although I am only seeing her once a month now, I think I will continue to do so for the rest of this year at least, as I am so much better at coping with life with the tools she's helping me develop.

Being part-time (0.6) at work has helped too, although not as much as I guess I was hoping - because I work my 0.6 across 4 days instead of 3, I really have only noticed a difference on my day off, not on the other, so-called "shorter" days, when family work has seamlessly claimed the newly-available extra hour or two (and, more than a few times, I've ended up just working those hours anyway at home to meet work deadlines). This has also been an extremely busy and critical 2 months at work, with all my projects fairly high-stakes and many potential roadblocks to be navigated, so it hasn't been a stress-free environment in any sense.

The whole day off each week has been great indeed, but rarely - in fact, only twice so far, and one of those involved caring for a sick child! - has it been anything less than frenetically busy in its own right. A different kind of busy, and a much nicer one - kids' school activities, catching up with friends and family, volunteering, baking, writing - but still, there has been remarkably little lotus-eating or navel-contemplation going on.

The fact is, therefore, that even though I am much better in every way, I am becoming very, very tired. This has been a big term, both at work and in life. Since our return from Phillip Island just before Australia Day, there has been no respite from the multiple demands that life with three active children and two working parents places on us. My commitment to writing a novel this year has been wonderful, but not without cost either in terms of my energy level and ability to get through the days.

I've accepted that my hormonal disorder, paired with my Coeliac disease and my anxiety, means that my capacity for life-load isn't what it once was; I need more rest and downtime (although not necessarily sleep) than I used to, and that's OK by me, but not always easy to achieve.

What I am much more alert to, now, is that it's not an option for me to keep pushing when I start to feel the fatigue demon nipping at my heels. If I need to stop, it really is in everyone's interests (mine, my family's, my workplace's, the overburdened Australian medical system's) that I do, and recover some ground.

Which is why it is so timely that I have just four remaining days of work (tomorrow, then next Mon - Weds) before having 11 days off. This coincides with school holidays and Easter, of course, so is unlikely to involve a lot of lazy days with books and chocolate - I will have the kids with me! It will, however, be really nice to reset the clock a little bit.

We aren't going away anywhere to stay, but we have two family day-trips planned - one to Daylesford, and one down to Frankston to look at the sand sculptures. We're going to catch up with different sets of friends on a couple of the days, and Easter Sunday, as always, will be bunny then church day. The kids have various friend playdates and parties going on, and the older two are doing writing workshops. It's entirely possible that a trip to the movies might happen.

So there won't be a lot of quiet bumming around, but there will be some, and there will certainly be less balls in the air than during term - no work, no school, no netball, no guitar lessons, no craft club, no volunteering, far fewer deadlines and timeframes to keep to. 11 days isn't really very long, but I'm hopeful it will be long enough to give me a surge to last at least until the conclusion of the next huge phase of frenetic busyness, which culminates in early June with a massive governance cycle conclusion at work, my second-born's 10th birthday party (Harry Potter themed and bigger than Ben Hur), and with the Emerging Writers Festival Conference.

I'm toying at the moment with the idea of taking an extended break in the winter - as leave without pay, probably - as I think I'll need it. I'll see how I go, but I'm perfectly prepared to ask for a month off if that's what I feel I need, to cover the school holidays, of course, but also to give me some time when the kids are at school to rest and decompress. I will just play it all by ear. One day at a time, sweet Jesus - just give me the strength, to do every day, what I have to do...

1 comment:

  1. It sounds like you have a better gauge now on your own needs. Hope you get a good catch up time I your days offs