By Krystle Barrington, blogger and self-published author
Krystle Barrington is a self published author, freelance writer, and content creator based in Houston, TX. Working a full-time job while also balancing her writing career, Krystle experienced burnout firsthand. In the HERdacity guest blog below, Krystle shares her story on how trying to push through the exhaustion only made things harder and her tips on making sure you give yourself the rest you need.
As a creative I live for moments when I can sit in my office with soft music playing, letting my thoughts run wild while my fingertips do all the talking. However, imagine being in a battle between your corporate job and your purpose so much so that you begin to crave those creative moments instead of living in them. I’ve certainly been there.
A couple of years ago I found myself in a management position for the very first time. It seemed like the logical next step in my career and so when the opportunity came knocking, I answered. It did not take me long to find myself wondering if I was going to be able to do this job without letting it consume me all while pursuing my goals outside of the office.
I found myself struggling to find the balance between pushing myself in my full-time job while also finding the creative and mental energy I needed to write. I found myself turning on the lights in the office every morning and walking out to an empty parking lot at night. Writing on even somewhat of a consistent basis became a figment of my imagination. Simply put, I was tired. Yet even in my exhaustion there was still the desire to pursue the things that truly set my soul on fire. I knew that if I didn’t make my mental health a priority, that life was literally going to pass me by.
At one point I thought I had to make a decision. Quitting my job wasn’t an option or a desire of mine and neither was giving up my personal goals in the pursuit of moving up the corporate ladder. I definitely felt stuck creatively and over time I didn’t even have the mental clarity to even figure out what was best or how I was going to manage both. The best gift I could give to myself in that season of life was rest. Here are 5 practical things I did to get more rest and cultivate a more balanced life.
1. I set boundaries with my job.
I designated one day of the week that worked best for me to stay an hour late. If critical actions could wait till the next day, I left work on time. It was hard at first but with time it became my new normal.
2. I listened to my body.
When I’m tired, I rest. Even now I don’t try to write when I’m feeling exhausted. Also, if I need a mental day off from work, I take it unapologetically.
3. I set realistic goals.
I decided that writing during the week just wasn’t practical for me so I made the weekends the primary time I do most of my writing.
4. I started having fun again.
I intentionally made time to do things I love to do. I’m a simple girl so going to the movies or spending time with my parents made me one happy gal.
5. I got organized.
I got away from making to-do lists and making notes in my calendar. Getting back to those practices gave me a sense of authority over my life that I’d lost.
I don’t think rest will look the same for all of us but it’s good for all of us. It is good for our soul. It is good for our bodies. It is good for our minds. Without it we will eventually hit a brick wall and with it we can show up for ourselves, our goals, and even the people around us just a little bit better. It took months of sleepless nights, literally feeling like a walking zombie, and falling short outside of my job on things that really mattered to me, for me to make some life changes and I’m so glad I did.
I’ve since gotten a new job and one that doesn’t rob me of all my time, common sense, and peaceful nights. I am conscious of the boundaries that I set for myself in my day job and I’ve learned the value of setting realistic expectations in regards to pursuing my dreams and my purpose. Being intentional about taking care of me, something I’m still learning to do consciously, drastically improved my quality of life. And thankfully I didn’t have to choose between my corporate goals and my creative aspirations to get there.