Today was a difficult day for me. I’m starting a new career in my forties, leaving behind things that I know and am good at. Since my burnout, I have had to make drastic changes to my life. My body collapsed and it was a message to change. At times the struggle feels too great and today is one of those days.
I have worked really hard on healing my body in as many ways as I can. I tackled rest: I schedule recovery time after something demanding (physically or emotionally), I nap some afternoons if I have been taking strain and I try to get to sleep earlier than I used to. It makes for a rather boring existence, all this resting and sleeping. Not much time for achievement and that is difficult for someone who likes to achieve.
I have worked on my diet. I have given up gluten, some dairy, peanuts, cabbage, caffeine, alcohol and I have reduced sugar. I make a green smoothie everyday which is tiresome and makes it trickier to get my children to school on time. I eat every three hours which is also a pain and interferes with getting things done. I try to eat real food and I cook a lot. This also takes time and often I just feel like caving in and eating a chocolate chip cookie. The vigilance to eat well is exhausting.
I have worked on the emotional side of healing. I have sought out the help of a variety of healers and I have done my own work on letting go, forgiveness and meditation to calm the stress. All of this also takes up time, and I often feel reluctant to spend the twenty minutes emptying my mind when there is so much to be done.
I have two small children who also require my time and attention. I am trying to help my oldest foster good relationships. She is an introvert and I haven’t spent much time accommodating play dates and suggesting sleepovers while I have been recovering. I also like to be fair and ensure that my little one doesn’t feel left out. I try to spend some time with each of them to help them know that they are both loved and accepted by their mother. Of course, there is also keeping them healthy, cooking for them, buying them a variety of things for school, homework and parties to organise.
I have addressed my hernia, and my thyroid function is improving enough to visit my endocrinologist again. My adrenal glands are recovering slowly and I’m hoping it is a month or two until they are up to normal function. One of the few things remaining to address is my weak back muscles. My shoulders are compensating for the weak back muscles which is causing inflammation, and inflammation is bad for anyone with an autoimmune disease. But I am really struggling. I am trying to do the push-ups but it is so unbelievably difficult for me that I collapse after about four of them. And the motivation to do something that I’m struggling so much with, is really tough.
I entered a Toastmaster’s humorous speech contest on Thursday. It was a stretch for me as I prefer to do speeches that are more around motivation, and less about entertainment. I participated, and I got a good few hearty laughs. It was enough for me to participate and not to win, as I am new to speaking and there are many who are far more experienced than I am. But I still felt that I’m not an expert at it and that is difficult for me.
I submitted a few proposals last week for some workshops and speaking opportunities to corporates. It was an excellent experience for me to talk to people to understand what they ask, what they want, and to see how I can offer something to meet their needs. I got a few tough questions which were hard to answer. I felt quite out of practice being in a corporate environment, with politics, procedures to follow and hoops to jump through. I cannot lean on my reputation as I used to.
Someone asked me what was so special about me that they should choose me to work with. I have started to wonder the same thing myself. I really wanted my book to be published first, and then to seek all the other opportunities as a published author. But that hasn’t happened as is often the case in life. I was banking on leaning on that accomplishment so that I felt worthy.
All of this has left me with feelings of doubt and fear. Is there anything that I have to offer? It’s hard spending so much time struggling. I have moments where I want to just do something I’m good at. I’ll even do it for free. Just to feel competent. I’m a new Toastmaster, struggling my way through contests and speeches. I can barely manage to do a few push ups or a yoga class where I can’t quite keep up. I am fumbling my way through promoting my services to organisations I used to be in. I used to be someone capable, who felt on top of things. I liked that feeling. How long will it take before I feel like that in my new career? Years?
I don’t have the option of giving up, however. I can’t go back to the job I had that burnt me out. I want to share my message and to feel that I have something valuable to offer. I want people to be inspired by my message, to find my book meaningful, and to see me as someone worthwhile. I suppose the first step is for me to believe that I am worthwhile so that others can too. I’m just not sure how to do that amidst the struggle of sucking at everything I tackle.