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Happy Easter everyone, I hope you have all enjoyed a good break.

Mine has been lovely (mostly) – helped by the unseasonably fine weather.  Easter in New Zealand is usually wet, but I’ve been walking around in t-shirts all weekend.  I  worked for a couple of hours on Saturday, but other than that, I’ve had lots of time to potter around the house and relax.

When I say relax, I mean blitzing the garden, baking bread, visiting friends, having friends over, cleaning the house,doing several loads of washing, more gardening …etc.  As I’ve mentioned before, doing ‘nothing’ is quite difficult for me.

As a burn out survivor, I am constantly learning how to be still.  

(Photo credit)

It’s quite a process, and even after 2 1/2 years of recovery, that mythical balance I hear so much about is still elusive.  I’m learning to be gentle with myself and not take new commitments or fill up my week with social engagements.

A few weeks ago, I took a radical step in this being-nice-to-myself-and-finding-balance process.  I quit my job.

It feels somewhat nuts to quit my job while there’s a recession on and I have no job to go to, but I know that it’s the right thing to do for me.  I currently work in social services, which is a very rewarding field.  It’s also a very demanding field.  Most people I know in this sector regularly work over and above their contracted hours.  You have to, as social services are usually underfunded and understaffed.

I love the clients I work with, but have been feeling as if my job has taken over my life.   I constantly think about my work projects.  How I can help my clients more.  Whether such-and-such is ok sleeping rough when it’s wet and cold outside.

I work late(ish)  two nights a week and have to work a few hours on Saturdays.  The Saturday thing REALLY cuts into my family life.  You can’t go out of town on a whim, go on a rambling walk, spend as long as you want with a friend etc.  Getting to work is always in the back of mind on Saturdays.

All this means that I’ve been feeling like I have no time or head-space for anyone or anything else.  I feel like I’ve neglected many of my friends, and certainly haven’t been free to pile into the car and spend a weekend with my family when I want to.

This long weekend has reaffirmed that I am doing the right thing.  I revelled in the simple pleasures of weeding my garden and planting seedlings; de-cluttering my wardrobe; making loaves of bread; doing my husband’s chores because he is busy studying; D and I taking a picnic lunch today where we sat in the sun and cloud-watched, just because we could.

These are things I used to do before I got this job.

I’ve decided to work part-time for now at any rate, and have put in a few applications for some interesting jobs.

D and I are part of a Christian community that lives alongside urban poor, and while my current job has allowed me to get to know many of the people that we work with in my community, my job doesn’t allow me to be friends with them (very frowned upon).  I’m looking forward to just journeying alongside some of them – not as a service provider, but now as a friend.  I’m looking forward to having the time to simply hang out with them.

Of course, not having a job (I finish up in 2 weeks) is stressful, and I’m praying that I find one very, very soon.  It puts a lot of pressure on D, who would love to be working less himself as he is currently doing two university papers.  Both he and I had meltdowns yesterday.

I’ve been struggling with my lack of fertility, and was surrounded by babies and children at Church yesterday.  When you are desperate to have kids, it’s incredibly painful to be around them at times.  There was a really cute baby literally in my face, whose proud parents looked like they could have been D and I.  It was actually more than I could take.  I started to cry and had to leave the service.  During the service we were given a tiny chocolate Easter egg, and instead of leaving it behind, I shoved it in my mouth as I sat crying in the car.  Comfort eater?  Moi?

D had a meltdown later, as he too is trying to find that elusive balance.  He’s a bit behind in his uni readings, and is scrambling to catch up.  It’s not exactly restful to spend your Easter break studying.  Unfortunately, his studies are non-negotiable.  D is studying to be a Minister, and can’t do that without a theology degree.

One thing that is going right for me, is being sugar-free.  I think it’s been yet another way to nurture myself.  I feel good about myself, my health, and my body for the first time in years.  Aside from that little chocolate egg and a dinner guest bringing jelly for dessert which I felt obliged to eat, I have managed to steer clear of the sugar-fest that is Easter.  I may still desire a hot cross bun like there’s no tomorrow, but I’ve managed to resist without feeling too deprived.  My dextrose crumble was well-received last night, as was my dextrose bread.  My weight-loss is back on track (the de-cluttering my wardrobe is a result of many of my clothes not fitting me any more).