That Background Ache

I have been massively overworked, lately; I went from saying yes to too many jobs to preparing for a trip — a work trip, of course, I haven’t done a non-work trip in lord knows how long — and at some point, the obvious happened: My body decided it was done.

It started as an ache in my legs after a long walk, which didn’t fade beyond a certain point. A day or so later, I realized that I was still feeling this dull ache, as if I was recovering from a gym session that had never actually happened. I felt consistently, constantly, exhausted. Not sick, per se; just always tired. I’d go to sleep tired. I’d wake up after seven or eight hours, tired. I’d go to work tired. I’d finish work tired. No matter what, tired.

My solution, such as it was, was to just cut back as much as possible. Take care of the things that had to be done, but let everything else fall away, whether it was being social or pushing deadlines out further. To try and create spaces where absolutely nothing was expected of me, and all I could do was marathon Project Runway or whatever. To eat better, too. (Although my love for Twix bars remains.) And, most importantly, to stop myself feeling bad about feeling tired or rundown.

That last part has been the hardest, but arguably the most effective. There’s something to be said for just… stopping. I still ache, I’m still tired. But when that happens, I just stop for a bit and try to prevent myself from nagging me back into action. Turns out, I just need a rest, now and then.

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