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I haven't had a real vacation in several years. I've taken a day off here or there for personal learning opportunities like podcasting conferences or the occasional sick days, but I haven't been able to fully disconnect in much longer than I'd like to admit.

I've scheduled an entire week off in October, and I'm already starting to stress about it. We have someone new starting at work to help shoulder some of the load on October 7th, which means I'll have a mere 3 weeks to get her as fully spun up as I can before I'm gone for a week. Luckily, there are some other teammates available to help provide guidance in my absence, so everything should be covered. The goal is to not look at my email or internal messaging client a single time while I'm out (except I will check email once per day because I don't want to come back to 5 million emails in my inbox).

But the thought of completely disconnecting for a week stresses me out.

Why is that?

I recently read an article about a man who changed the way he approached work-life balance because he was on a conference call when he was informed that his young son had passed away. A self-identified workaholic, this man urged people not to follow in his footsteps. Appreciate your families, hug your children, and take the time to revel in the simplicity and beauty of life's relationships because they're fleeting.

I can't tell you how many times I've declined a call from my boyfriend because I've been on a conference call. When my mother calls me during the day, I ashamedly answer just a tad too brusquely, "Mom, I'm at work. What's up?" Reading that article and feeling that man's pain hit way
I hate talking on the phone so much.
too close to home, so I've been trying to focus on reallocating my time so that I'm able to devote more of it to family and friends. I still have a ways to go, but I've officially narrowed down my hours at work to 40-45 per week, and when I leave for the day, I completely disconnect from my day job. I don't answer messages or emails, and I don't pay attention to notifications. My direct manager is not only supportive of this but demands it of me because she's concerned that I'll get burned out.

Only the problem is I've started to fill the time I've opened up for myself with other activities that aren't quite "restful." I'm writing an audiodrama podcast, I voice act in a few others, and I've recently stepped into a role as Head of Operations with a small podcast production company. I have goals to read 16 books this year, and I need to read 2 books per month for the rest of the year to finish in time, and I'm also attempting to post on here more often. And this doesn't even include my language learning pursuits.

I think I'm addicted to busy-ness.

It started as a coping mechanism. My chronic depression is at its worst when I'm idle because it allows me time to obsess over my struggles, ideations, and general feelings of melancholy and listlessness. I then spiral further down into a major depressive episode, and we all know that's dangerous territory. I thankfully have a pretty fantastic support system with people who know the signs of my mental valleys, so it never gets too bad without a reminder of how much I'm loved. But none of that is even needed when I'm busy.

So there's the catch-22, right? Either I'm busy and miss out on potential opportunities to foster relationships, or I'm not busy and vulnerable to a depressive episode. Fun.

I wish I could close out this post with a "this is my plan moving forward" statement, but I've got nothing right now. I guess I'm just writing this to remind people that they aren't alone in the struggle, family and friends are important, and don't be too hard on yourself. We're all trying to get through this thing we call life, and it helps a lot if we're all a little bit more forgiving of each other.



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