Status: Burnout

Can you tell I’ve been feeling burned out lately? I haven’t blogged in a week! That’s practically unhealthy. I am usually one of those people who needs ten different projects going at once to feel happily busy. But the last couple weeks have felt heavy. Not burdensome, not hectic, not overbooked. Just heavy, that’s the only word I can come up with. I think I need a whole 24 hours away from the farm so that I can come back with renewed zeal.

This morning I awoke at my usual seven o’clock to roll out of bed and start morning chores, but instead of getting out of bed, I decided to go back to sleep. I just flipped onto my stomach, pulled the covers over my head so the light coming in the windows wouldn’t disturb me, and slept until nine. In that moment I didn’t really care that all the animals were still closed up. I just wanted to sleep in for once.

Of course, once I did wander outdoors with feed buckets in hand, everyone from fur to feathers was a little pissed off with me. Turns out the chickens and goats didn’t want to sleep in today.

I may be married and have someone to help out around the farm… theoretically, but that’s not really how it works on a day-to-day basis. Trevor is sweet enough to empty the rabbit dropping pans for me and occasionally close up the chicken coop at night, but otherwise I’m on my own. I make the rounds every morning and feed all the animals, let them out of their coops and sheds and into their pens. I milk the goat, do the bare minimum of house chores, work with Cami on her lessons, cook lunch and dinner from scratch, and then close all the animals back up into their respective houses and shacks. It’s kind of a lot. There’s no doubt that I pull my weight around here.

It isn’t just the animals, or the chores. I absolutely love my life and wouldn’t dream of changing it. But once you factor in slowly, slowly fixing up the house, clearing the garage, occasional foster care, starting a Girl Scouts troop, and teaching a ceramics class every two weeks, life tends to get heavy. And to top it all off, as I sit here typing, I can hear my cuckoo clock making funny sounds like it needs a new battery.

I can usually handle it all with ease, but let’s face it, I need a day-long vacation once in awhile. No complaints here… just looking to carve a day out of the calendar for myself.

17 thoughts on “Status: Burnout

  1. I go through a little something with every solstice or season change. My real big one is from winter to spring. I just want to stay in hibernation don’t want to be reborn! I am incredibly grouchy each year.

  2. I totally relate to this! You have been doing so much this year. Animals are taxing. There is no day off; animals are like children, in that everyday, they must be fed, watered, let out, put in. We cannot even go on a short trip, because we cannot afford a sitter! I think both of us could benefit from a week long vacation! It is this weariness that makes me realize why the world wanted so badly to move away from backyard cultivation of any sort. It’s work! It’s hard work! Despite the moments of glory, there is a whole lot of grime, disappointment, and fatigue. I have all but given up myself! But I think that these wake-up calls are learning opportunities; we just need to learn to manage our work with our play. An idea might be to have a work trade with another local to come once a week to care for your animals, so you have the day off, and you do that for them once a week. Hang in there! Or just rest.

    • You are totally right, Carin. The moments of glory are wonderful, blinding times, but the “simple life” is comprised of hard, HARD work and grime. Every. Day. I just want to set aside an entire day once a month (or two) to leave the farm. Trevor can manage a day of watching all the kids (furry, feathered, and less so) on his own. It doesn’t seem to weigh him down as much because he has a full-time job elsewhere where he doesn’t have to deal with the farm’s every blossom and death.
      That’s the plan anyway. He was nice enough to let me wander about the state for a whole day last month and it all worked out well. I got to visit with a good friend in my hometown, eat Burmese curry (not hillbilly food of big macs and chili cookoffs), drink Thai iced tea with boba (!!!), and wander cute hipster shops in Alameda. It was a good day and when I came home that evening, nobody had died and everything felt fresh again.

  3. Be careful what you wish for. I was planning a week vacation without hubby for the first time in five years of beginning his caregiver. It would be a working vacation because I was teaching a creative writing class. But I wouldn’t have anybody but myself- no cooking, no cleaning and somebody else to see to my needs.

    I got a month’s “vacation” by having a stroke. No cooking, no cleaning, and somebody else to see to my need and wants. Not the way I had planned it.

  4. Sarah, Hang in there!!!! The sliver lining is there. Just got a wrinkle in it. Smooth it out and all will be well again. We all think that at time’s our lives are on over load. Look up and you’ll see the load is not as bad as we have it!

  5. I feel you! I need a week away with no chores, no animals, no husband, no kids, no home school, nothinkg but a stack of books and ME! We do what we do for love and that is wonderful but it doesn’t mean we don’t need or deserve a break any less than someone slaving and hating it in an office for 8-10 hours a day, 5 days a week.
    When the life you love to live becomes heavy it is time to MAKE the time to get away before you begin to resent it.

    Good on you for the sleep in.

  6. Bless your heart, sweetie! This, too, shall pass. What you are doing is SO worthwhile, you’ve just got to catch your breath. Thanks for sharing your life and your reality!

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