With the recent Fall Equinox and first day of fall bringing us the new season, I feel it is time to celebrate the fact that I have a new day job (yes folks, I have a day job like so many of you!), and have been taking back control of some of my time. I did this in order to be able to focus more on “replenishing my well” and recharging my batteries, after a year of commuting four to five hours daily to work. During which time I didn’t publish many newsletters except when I was on vacation during the spring! So it is already the fall and I’m only on the fourth issue this year.
I help people use mindfulness and creativity to reconnect with their inner essence, manage stress, find their "flow", and be better able to be fully present when they are with their loved ones. This can help everyone but my offerings are especially geared towards busy career women who want to replenish their wells and avoid burn out. SO…in a bizarre twist, I found myself at risk of burnout myself when I began commuting 4 to 5 hours daily to work a day job in another city. I did this for one year until August this summer when I started a new day job in the city that I live in (thank you universe!). Needless to say I spent the past year exhausted, and sometimes even feeling like a fraud.
I was too tired physically emotionally and mentally to meditate for as long as I wanted to or to do creative work for hours a day, put out newsletters, write weekly blogposts, be the facilitator that I wanted to in our facebook group Creativity and Mindfulness Circle, do facebook lives, create new content for course offerings, update old course offerings, all the other things that need to be done not to mention administrative and household tasks and most importantly build relationships or show up for my friends. In shorter units of time I meditated, wrote in my journal, tried to sketch in my sketchbook and wrote occasional poetry but I recognized that I was just limping along. I had to find my inner peace by telling myself: “just for now, accept that nothing will change”.
Yet that didn’t help with the physical exhaustion, and I did have to make a much needed change which I was able to do, and so I changed my work. Now that I have a day job in the city that I live in, a job which I started just over a month ago, I have a ten minute commute to work and I have gotten back four to five hours of my day which I’d previously spent commuting. I’m sleeping more which I desperately needed to do, having more fun and more much needed time for creativity and mindfulness in my own life to replenish my own well. And getting to work on things I’d previously let slide like bringing back the newsletters (which I know you didn’t notice were missing, I don’t kid myself!). For me at this stage of my life I realized that I can’t do a four to five hour daily commute anymore, yet I somehow coped and learnt a few things along the way.
Here are 5 Ways I Coped During My Year of Daily Commuting (Exhaustion!).
1. I didn’t beat myself up when I got home and ate dinner then went straight to bed without meditating (or exercising).
2. I tried to keep my morning routine with meditations, affirmations, visualization, journaling, and gratitude list. Sometimes I did it on the commuter train in the morning. I missed it entirely some days but I really noticed that I felt a lot better on the days when I could do it.
3. I replied to comments on facebook posts while I was on the commuter train (when I wasn’t sleeping!)
4. I wasn’t hard on myself for not having more energy to devote to creative projects and didn’t start any big new ones. Instead I followed the “do what you can” motto and did single sketches in my sketchbook or wrote one poem or guided meditation at a time.
5. I reminded myself and accepted that for now nothing was going to change, and felt more at peace, however when the job opportunity in my city of residence came up, I was ready and able to take action quickly.
And now here are 5 Things I Learnt During My Year of Daily Commuting (Exhaustion!)
1. I learned to be more gentle with myself
2. I learned that I need a lot more sleep than I used to!
3. I learned even more compassion for others in the same or similar situations, such as sleep deprived busy career women (and men).
4. I learned again just how much of a life line and saver a good morning routine can be.
5. And finally, I learned that transparency and openness are the best approach in explaining to your facebook group why you haven’t been participating and posting as much, and to your email list on why the newsletters stopped.
I’m very grateful for all of you who continue to enjoy reading what I write, and who kept participating in our facebook group even when there were a few occasions when I didn’t get to post on my theme days for a week or two at a time! My year of commuting and exhaustion reminded me of what so many of you go through daily and I hope will help me better serve your needs in my blogposts, the facebook group, and my offerings.