25 Feb Overestimating your capacity
Sometimes it happens by accident. Actually I would say most of the time it does. Life is busy, then it gets busier and then it gets to be too much. I find sometimes it happens as you are approaching the end of a season. You start with fresh perspectives, energy and motivation and then life starts to happen and adds on to your “load.”
Think of it this way, picture putting on a backpack full of books and then starting to walk. When you begin you are feeling great, energized and strong. As time passes, you start to get tired but for some reason, you decide to add on to your weight. Just one more book isn’t that much , right?? I should be able to handle that (others do)?!….so you put in one more. How many times can you say that before It’s a whole freaking lot of weight and you were tired to start with.
This past weekend three of our kids were in hockey tournaments/jamborees. It’s that time of year when sports is amped up and you can see it written all over the faces of tired parents. On Saturday, my daughters were among a couple hundred other 4-7 year olds who played in the same event. They loved it which is why we were there, but I couldn’t help but notice as the day was drawing to close, there was a couple hundred parents walking around the rink looking a bit zombie-ish. By times you could catch them sharing a look between another parent that read: “hang in there” “fun times” or “Is their a wine tent?”
As fun as events like that are for the kids, at that age, it still comes with a lot of tears and a lot of meltdowns by tired siblings who just want to get the hell out of their or go to the canteen one more time. (I’d be lying if I said I didn’t give in to those rink fries for my tantruming in the lobby 2 year old on a few occasions this winter). Sunday after our kids had played 6 games in 36 hours and then stayed up way too late….. I was hurting more than they were. I felt stressed and cranky and I couldn’t really pinpoint why. I decided I needed to go for a run and just let it out so I searched for a podcast to listen to and came across “Are you experiencing burnout?” By Chalene Johnson (I will link this up at the bottom).
Do you ever have those moments when you are feeling a certain way and then you come across an article, a social media post or just even hear someone else talk about that thing and it just…boom- completely resonates with you? Thats what happened to me. (As an aside, I have come to believe over time those moments don’t happen by coincidence, it’s the universe looking out for you).
So it was a few minutes in to the podcast that she said the words “overextending your capacity.” Oh man, did that hit home. How easy that is to let happen when you don’t even realize it. I pride myself on advocating for a protected calendar and being very selective with your time. That being said, with four kids who don’t sleep well, three in organized sport and a husband who coaches them all, I still struggle with it. We are almost at the end of the hockey season and I have to say, my capacity is about maxed. I think probably the biggest reason for that happening is that I have allowed too many added books in the backpack because I thought I should be able to handle it. What a recipe for stress that one is. Taking something else on because you look at others who seem to be managing the same things so you think you should too. No two people are the same….therefore….adding on to your load based on how others are doing it is not a good way to lead or live your life. Everyones capacity varies as do their circumstances. Lesson learned.
If you are one of those people who are feeling the end of winter burnout- don’t be afraid to take a time out. This is so often the time our health gets pushed back on the priority list but stressful, busy times are when it needs to be the highest. Don’t ignore your needs or your health because of your child’s schedule. Teaching them to look after their wellness as they grow up by modelling it- is an incredible gift.
Take a knee.
Here is that podcast if you want to have a listen: https://www.chalenejohnson.com/podcasts/are-you-expecting-burnout/