The Autumn Overwhelm: Impending Burnout Ahead

Sunday, October 25, 2015

There comes a point every fall where everything just begins to be TOO MUCH. Though it is by far my favorite season, it just also happens to be A.) the busy season for photography B.) a time when I dust off my sewing and crafting skills to make Halloween costumes-- something I LOVE, but is definitely a high-commitment hobby-- and C.) a time when all the autumn fun stuff I love and try to fit in begins to crash into the work obligations, the Halloween obligations, and D.) barrels on into November when it's instantly time to think about Noah's birthday and Thanksgiving and Christmas gifts and and and and...... And there is is. EVERY YEAR. Regardless of if I vow to take on less sessions. Regardless of how simple I decide to go for Halloween costumes. Regardless of if I decide to skip apple picking or autumn decor or homemade gifts for Noah's birthday. Somehow, no matter what I try to simplify (without compromising the things I LOVE), it still ends up wiping me out and pushing me towards burnout. 

I hate that. 

I really hate it. Because I LOVE everything I'm doing. I just don't have enough hours to do it all. And I'm hard on myself when I can't manage it AND stay zen. And instead of learning to laugh and hang on for the ride, knowing it was gonna be this way, it smacks me in the face EVERY YEAR, and sours my soul with disappointment. I just haven't learned yet. No matter how many years it goes exactly this way, I HAVE NOT LEARNED. 

And you know how when you're running late for something, and feeling SUPER stressed, that is ALWAYS the time you also stub your toe and drop things and accidentally bump your toddler so she starts wailing and won't budge, etc.? How when things are rough, you become magnetic to MORE rough things?? That's how it's feeling tonight. Like even though I've managed to do ALL THE THINGS so far, there is a growing feeling of stress, and things are starting to go awry. Hello, period! Great timing! Oh, is that a tiny chest cold starting? Of course it is. And how is it already time to do LAUNDRY again? I really can't fit that in this week. 

As I get more and more magnetic to stress right now, I am beginning to lose my tight rein on Life Management. I haven't remembered to pay Noah's lunch account. Texts are going unanswered. Clients are wondering if they'll ever hear back from me. My smile is getting a little frantic-looking. I'm getting rattled. I'm getting disappointed.  My inner child is threatening to strike and stay in bed with books and movies for three weeks straight and hope some adult will sort out the fallout. 

How in heaven's name will I untangle this stress-ball of to-dos and expectations and obligations? 

How do I eat this massive elephant?!
 One bite at a time, I guess. *sigh* 

So I am going to write down my list tonight. I'm going to try to see how many "beginnings" I can finish--- answer some emails, order overdue products for clients, prepare a few things for the post office... Finish Lucy's ladybug wings and antennae, which will complete her easy costume. I'm going to see how many things I can let go of this week-- perhaps just go buy Lucy some underwear so I can put laundry off another 4-5 days, haha. I am going to stop when I feel completely overwhelmed and  say a prayer, breathe gratitudes, then laser-focus in on the next "bite", and get going again. I will look out my back door and watch leaves fall and love fall and breathe in and breathe out and then  get back to work. I will forgive myself. I will pray the people I am letting down will forgive me too, maybe. I will keep going. I will keep allowing those small windows of downtime I probably shouldn't take time for, but desperately need in order to be a kind mama and inspired worker. Those moments for some cross-stitching, or for checking in with my long-distance girlfriends, or for a nap.... Refueling when there aren't moments to spare, but when I know I won't have anything to go on if I don't refuel. 

And next year.... well. I know myself. I'm not going to skip making a costume or two. I'm not going to forego photo sessions. I'm not going to deprive my kiddos and myself of fallish things like pumpkin-picking and backyard bonfires and Halloween crafties and books and such. But maybe.... maybe next year I'll have learned how to laugh at the absurdity and frenzy of it, and will be better at just hanging on for the ride. Being busy and creating things and living out loud when the season cries out for it just means we're not dead yet. We're crazy and life is full and maybe a little TOO much, but it's life, man... and I'm not dead yet. Next year, I hope I can come at it from that angle and remind myself I knew it was coming and it's going to be okay. It always ends up okay. 



  1. Been there, done that! And I feel your pain. Glad I can save you two hours this week.

  2. You have described my life as well, and last year it nearly did me in. So as a desperate attempt to save my future self, I bought next year's calendar early and on September 1st I wrote "Start Christmas, really" and On October 1st I wrote, "Make Christmas, really" and on October 15 I wrote, "Create Christmas Party Evite"...and so on. And honest to goodness, that ridiculous running head start has me far more even keeled than I've been in a long time. Here's to enjoying all the fullness of fall without our heads exploding ;)

  3. Very well written I appreciate & must say good job.... please continue your blog
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