I have had a nice, unintended and well-needed break from my blog over the past few months. During this time, I’ve had lots of conversations of whether to stop my blog and diabetes advocacy altogether (even my involvement with Beta Change) and just live the simple life. Life has been absolute madness and to think that I will have some quiet time to focus on either of these things is incredibly naive, which leaves me at a horrible crossroad coming into the new decade(!).
Interestingly, at a research workshop earlier this year, we discussed this concept of work-life balance and pushing pet projects or focusing on friends and family to periods of free time. In reality, this is our life. There will also unlikely be any down time because we will always find things to fill that up with! Although the facilitator said that work-life balance is just a myth, I believe this is just something we need to manage according to our priorities in life on a daily basis.
The past few months I have been so focused on work that my regular exercise routine and cooking have taken a hit. Of course, that then impacted on my blood sugars being erratic. I was extremely exhausted with little energy and no healthy outlet for my frustration. There were many teary moments where everything felt a little too much.
Blaming it all on jet lag from the crazy travel schedule I had only got me so far. I felt that perhaps I needed to get a new mental health care plan and talk to someone. But that also felt like too much effort as I still need to find a new GP and new counselor; something I just didn’t have the brainspace for.
In the essence of being kind to myself, I gave myself permission to feel like crap and struggle. I feel like I’m still emerging from the fog but I’m doing my best to prioritise exercise, eating well, going to bed on time and establishing healthy sleep hygiene habits. I revisited my to do list and made sure to keep daily tasks to a realistic minimum and scheduling the rest, rather than seeing a never ending list that I would roll over every day.
I’m also doing a Marie-Kondo and reflecting on all the things that bring me joy and one of those things is writing this blog and sharing the amazing stories of diabetes advocates over on Beta Change. While I love my job, I need to balance academia by being with my people in the diabetes community to keep me grounded. Now it’s up to me to try and manage all of these in a way that I don’t burnout, but also recognising burnout and acting on it early. I haven’t quite worked this bit out yet so if you have any other brilliant ideas, I would love to hear them!