Running on Empty

Running on Empty

Why do we work ourselves to exhaustion before we leave on a trip or vacation? All the gotta-clear-off-my-desk-before-I-go, followed by six weeks’ worth of laundry and eleventh-hour packing… just to arrive at your destination and need the first two days to detox.

Then when you get home, the clean house lasts approximately 14 seconds until you start carrying in the luggage. Or maybe that doesn’t happen for a week, because you’re too tired to open the trunk?

For me, I’ll bring everything inside, but unless there’s a specific needed article of clothing or medicine, the suitcase might sit at the foot of my bed for a month, freaking out the cats who think I’m going to abandon them again.

Depending on whether you’re an introvert or extrovert, another kind of exhaustion sets in. Either the house now feels too lonely, or you’ve hit critical mass after coping with humans at the long-term parking, the airport, the restaurant, the hotel pool, and the show.

Then back at work, your previously clear desk is now hidden under mounds of folders and mail and phone message slips. Clearly no one else knows how to load the water cooler, or change the toner in the photocopier. In fact, they saved up all the print jobs for your return, since you’re the only one who knows how to get the machine to collate and staple.

In the staff restroom, you stare at the empty toilet paper roll in the stall. “Crap,” you say, but realize your body is now so out of whack that you’re really not in much danger.

That’s all me right now, home from a wonderful Mindful Writers Retreat in Ligonier, PA, where I got to spend a week of not being in charge of anything, catching up with author friends, writing my own book, and eating food that someone else cooked.

But I’m a crazy night owl and stayed up working till 2am most nights, rising with the community and consuming copious amounts of coffee to get warm in that gorgeous mountain setting… which practically guaranteed I’d be up past midnight again and again.

The feeling of accomplishment is high, but the mental gas tank is running on empty. I keep trying to squeeze out 10 more “miles.” Even though I filled my creative well this past week, now I must recover some form of normal so I can enjoy my Muse’s company.

If any of this sounds like you today, perhaps it’s time to reclaim one of those many naps you railed against as an infant. Or take a walk outside. Or grab a friend and head to the movies.

Or pick up your pen and write about it.

…It’s like calisthenics for the writer’s soul.

Take today to recharge!
Cheers, Demi

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