I’ve been trying something a little different for the past couple of months. I’ve been spending most of my weekends “offline,” giving myself a nice break before starting my work week again come Monday. Once upon a time you’d very likely find me hanging out on Twitter, Facebook, and a handful of online groups/forums 7 days a week, around the clock. Now not so much (honestly, it’s been a few weeks since I even signed into Twitter!).
When I first started working on line, I couldn’t seem to get enough. There was information and access to like-minded people 24/7! I justified the time I spent working and networking with others as necessary; and it was fun for a while. Until it wasn’t.
Where did the time go?
There are only so many hours in a day and as a wife, mother of four, and business owner, I know only too well how precious and fleeting time is. My business was growing and requiring more of my time. My children were growing too, and guess what? They too required (and deserved) more of my time. Then there was also my dear husband, my mother whom I care for, and of course my spiritual obligations. Before long it all felt like too much. Like some heavy, immovable object pressing me down, limiting my movement and slowing my thoughts.
I recognized what was happening right away – burnout. It’s happened before, so this time around the signs were clear.
Enough is enough
Something had to give. Not my duty to Allah t’ala, my husband, or my kids. I wasn’t in a position to scrap the business, nor did I want to. But working for myself afforded me the freedom to prioritize my well-being. The easiest and least disruptive solution was to cut back my time spent online. Seems so simple, but it’s working, masha’Allah!
I find myself eagerly looking forward to that weekend break in a way I haven’t done since I was an employee. I look forward to Friday evening halaqas, and later returning home to snuggle up on the sofa and watch Netflix with my daughter. I look forward to Saturday afternoons working on the garden or a DYI home improvement project with my husband; or instructing my son(s) through a recipe for dinner preparations. I like reading a book on Sunday or playing a game of chess, or Monopoly, with my eight-year old. By the time Monday rolls around again, I feel a bit more rested, refreshed and ready.
A slow but steady recovery
Am I 100-percent back up to speed yet? No, but I’m currently managing everything on my plate without that overwhelmed feeling and right now that’s good enough. One thing I’ve learned over the years is the importance of saying “no” and protecting your boundaries as a crucial part of self care. It’s in my nature to want to overextend myself, but I can’t do that anymore. In my business, I set regular business hours and explain to my clients that I am not available outside of those hours. Protecting my time and energy spent is one way of protecting and prioritizing myself and my family so that they receive the best of me.