My first couple blog posts have been REALLY heavy. If you haven't read them yet, I would recommend doing so only if you're prepared for some serious Debbie Downer time.
This post should be a little lighter, a little more upbeat. I'm going to tell you about what motivates me in life and how I'm improving my work-life balance to combat my burnout from healthcare.
I. Love. Music. I mean, who doesn't? Maybe Debbie Downer would find a way to hate music. Anyway, I love almost every kind of music. Not only do I enjoy listening, but I actually sing and play! Back in high school I used to be in a Christian band with my boyfriend at that time. We were called Midnight Scene, and I'm pretty sure our Myspace page still exists. We were legit - we sold merch, we played a lot of live shows for (small) crowds, and I had no idea what I was doing up on that stage - gotta love those awkward teenage years! I cherished every second of it.
A few months ago in the midst of my depression I realized that I needed something to do outside of work and watching TV at home, and music has been an unwavering source of stress relief for me. So I recently connected with some musicians via a Craigslist ad and none of them turned out to be serial killers (that I know of)! Long story short, I've had one whole practice with this band where I'll be playing violin and primarily singing harmonies with an occasional lead. The plan is to start with recording some songs, then we will play out at different locations. I'll let you all know when that happens!
I mentioned in my first blog entry that I am training for a half marathon that I planned to complete with my sister. Unfortunately, I injured my ankle and that training has come to a halt. She has also had to hit pause on her running due to some unrelated issues so we're both out of commission right now. We're thinking about changing our entry from the 13.1 mile half marathon to the 10k race, which is much more attainable with the time we have left to train. I've been telling myself that I'm worried about my ankle, but in reality I've been feeling lazy and depressed and I shut down when I come home from work. Sometimes the hardest part of my run is putting on my shoes and walking out the door. Usually once I get one run under my belt the subsequent runs come a little easier.
I also grew up swimming, but I've had some difficulty getting back into it because I simply haven't had a pool to swim laps. In January of 2020 I joined a local YMCA and began swimming a few times a week, met some really nice people, and joined in on their practices. I was just beginning to feel good in the water, like I wasn't a rock sinking to the bottom and doing everything I could to keep my head above water. Then I tested positive for COVID-19 and that routine came crashing down. I haven't touched a pool (to swim laps) since March of 2020 and I really miss it. My husband and I moved out of our apartment and into a house since that time so I have been exploring other YMCAs that offer lap swimming in the mornings. Unfortunately my anxiety has been keeping me from taking the plunge and getting myself a membership. I'm nervous that I'll pay month after month and never actually show up at the pool before work like I intend to do. I guess I should just take the leap of faith and make sure I tell my husband to shame me if I don't go.
I recently had an appraisal at the hospital where we reviewed my work performance. My bosses were adamant that I need to take more PTO since they know I've been struggling to simply show up at work due to burnout, anxiety, depression, etc. The only issue is that I'm too damn anxious to schedule a trip in the midst of the pandemic! What if I get sick and I can't go? What if the place I pick gets put on the travel warning list? What if I need that PTO for a family emergency? What if this? What if that? There are countless reasons for me NOT to schedule a trip. But my husband and I never took a honeymoon. We moved to a new apartment in a new city literally days after we said "I do." That was our honeymoon. He started working right away, I spent the summer studying for my board exam. Then I spent all my time applying for jobs and started working in September 2019. Then the pandemic happened in March 2020 and we had COVID-19. And now here we are in late 2021 and we still haven't taken a honeymoon even though we've celebrated two anniversaries. We both know it's time but we can't seem to get something on the calendar. It's a high priority on our to-do list because WE NEED A HONEYMOON!!!!!
For those of you that know me personally, you know that I am OBSESSED with my dog. And yes, I'm going to include a few pictures of her so you can also enjoy her cuteness:
Ok, now that all of our hearts are melted, this is Arizona. My husband and I adopted her in May of 2020 and she has changed our lives so much. We guess that she's about 2 and a half and the shelter told us that she is a Shar-Pei mix - you can see it in her face and with her curly little tail. We honestly didn't know how many spots she had when we adopted her because she still had her winter coat and the spots didn't show through. I have cried into her fur more times than I can count when I've had a patient pass away, or just simply had a bad day at work. Her absolute favorite treat is salami and she lives for days at the dog park. We have both always loved dogs but she has really turned us into dog-people.
In April of 2021, we fostered our first dog for about 3 weeks before he was adopted. My husband cried when he left us. We have had three foster dogs in total now and I've actually made a photo album to keep pictures and write down some information about each one. We haven't even put our wedding pictures into an album yet but we found the time to do it for the foster dogs! We plan to keep fostering from time to time but it can be a big job. We do slow introductions for Arizona - one of us stays upstairs with her while the other stays downstairs with our foster dog. Luckily we have a walk-out basement so we can make it work with just small bouts of interaction the first few days so that neither dog is overwhelmed. It can be a lot of hard work for me and my husband. We lose a lot of sleep, we spend a lot of time apart, and the household chores fall behind. But it's also so rewarding to help them come out of their shell to show their real personality so you can tell potential adopters what they're really like. They don't get to show too much personality at the shelters. We intend to continue doing this for the foreseeable future.
SOCIAL MEDIA (OR LACK THEREOF)
In August of 2019, I was an active member of Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat. I had just passed my board exam and was looking for a job, but didn't have much else going on in a new city with no friends and a husband who worked 40 hours a week. So I spent a LOT of time on Facebook. I found myself getting jealous of how many likes someone else's post would get even though mine had more than enough. I also frequently scrolled through so many posts that I would catch up with the posts I read earlier in the day. It was sad, and I was just trying to hold onto the people I'd had in my life before, hoping for some sort of connection in this new life I had started in a new city. One day I decided to check how many hours I had been active on Facebook - I don't remember the exact number but it was at least 6 or 7. I was shocked. Disgusted. Appalled. And I decided that I was done with it. I needed to separate myself from this online community of people that I didn't even actually know anymore. People from high school that I hadn't seen since graduation day and I really didn't need to know what their child ate for breakfast that day. So I deactivated my Facebook and my Instagram. I kept Snapchat because I couldn't stand to let go of everything at once, and I do still spend a lot of time on that app.
The first week was the worst. I replaced my Facebook and Instagram app locations on my phone with the Weather Channel and a clock. And let me tell you, I looked at a LOT of weather and time that first week. It was always by accident because I would habitually get my phone out of my pocket and automatically click on where the Facebook and Instagram apps used to be. After the first week, the frequency of time and weather decreased, then after the first month or so it just stopped altogether. The only time I use Facebook anymore is to borrow my husband's phone to look at my cousin's wedding pictures, or check on my high school reunion information. It's always something specific. I don't ever spend time pointlessly scrolling through the news feed or whatever it's called now. It's a sweet, sweet relief, and I actually find myself weirded out at times when my family members tell me something so personal about someone I knew 10-15 years ago because that person posted it on Facebook for the world to see.
I started working in September of 2019 and this was the first time since middle school that I couldn't just add new people on Facebook and see all their information right away. I had to actually learn my coworkers' names and talk to them to find out if they were married, had kids, what their hobbies are, where they took a vacation last week, etc. It was scary at first, but then I realized that they had to do the same to get to know me. I didn't have a Facebook page for them to creep on and see my "relationship status" or my hometown. They had to actually get to know me as a real person in front of them, not this manufactured online profile that I had worked so hard to perfect.
So there you have it, folks! I'm working on getting my life together. It might take a long time and maybe I'll never quite get it under control. But I'm going to keep trying because I really don't want to be miserable for 5 days out of a 7 day week until I retire. Let me know what you do for stress relief and how you manage your work-life balance! And give me any constructive feedback on what I can be doing better - I can use all the help I can get.
Thanks for reading, and comment below :)