Feeling Spread Thin (Part 1)
Seven years. It’s really strange to work at a place for seven years. Because seven years will turn into eight, and before you know it fifteen and then twenty five.
I have been a nurse for seven years, and I worked at the same hospital for seven years. Seven is a lucky number right? Not that I figured that in to my decision, but it turned out to be a good year to end things on.
I know that a lot of nurses jump around from one hospital/office/facility to the next. But there is really a lot to be said for staying with the same employer for an extended period of time. It provided me with a strong foundation for growth and improvement. It allowed me opportunities of change within my career.
However, it was at the five year mark when something really different came into my life, and that involved taking my full-time status down to casual part-time and working from home. And so that was that. I worked from home 20-40 hours per week, and I worked at the hospital 12-36 hours per month. It seemed reasonable.
I was able to effectively combine two things that I loved and all was well.
But change is inevitable.
I don’t know exactly when it started, but some things just started to change. My husband’s work schedule started to change. My own schedule started to change. Our daughter was more actively involved in things outside the home. We brought a new puppy into our lives. And I was starting to feel spread thin.
I’m so thankful for my experience as a nurse so far. It created a deep rooted understanding for both personal and professional growth. Speaking of professional, I learned how to develop my career and my business. I learned how to conduct myself, the value of networking, and the importance of moving forward.
HOW THIN IS TOO THIN?
In this family, we definitely live our life in seasons (quite literally!)
From winter a time of recovery and rest, when work is minimal. To Spring when change is quickly upon us. The beginning of busier work days and the end of school. To summer which is filled with hard hot work in our garden and a short reprieve from the chaos of spring. And finally to Fall, a short return of the hustle and bustle my business brings, the return of school days, the end of our garden harvest and the beginning of hunting season.
It’s perfectly normal to have challenges in life for periods of time. Challenges present growth and provide the need for rest and recovery. Our “busy” seasons challenge me to work more efficiently when I’m in them and they motivate me to take time during the periods of rest to create systems and eliminate clutter.
But when one season seems to flow into the next. When it becomes increasingly difficult to calm the chaos, when the small crack is constantly enlarging, spreading, and splintering - that is when the idea of being spread thin, may just be too thin.
That is when your growth muscle has been stretched to its capacity. Life requires stress to grow, and rest to recover. And when we continue to stress a system without providing an opportunity for recovery, we put ourselves at constant risk for injury.
AT RISK FOR INJURY
I found myself spread too thin. I had added too much to my plate without taking anything away. I found myself constantly bringing “new things” into my life without removing any of the old. I was clinging to what I knew for fear of change. I made the leap into something new, but I only pulled the parachute half-way. I was stressing my growth muscle, without allowing any opportunity for recovery.
I finally found myself more at risk than I realized.
I was at risk for actual health concerns. There were things going on with my health that I could instantly recognized as stress induced. And not the good short-term stress, but the long-term, unrelenting stress.
I was at risk for a complete lack of creativity. For the past two years, my work has been entirely centered around creativity. New ideas, new colors, new opportunities, new art - and yet piece by piece, I was removing my motivation for all of these areas of my life.
I was at risk as a parent. 24 hours in a day is more than we realize. And yet it truly is possible to fill each available hour. We leave ourselves with a less than desirable block of time to just exist. To just play on the floor with our little ones or to go on a new adventure.
I want to manage my life. I do not want my life to manage me. I made a really difficult decision to let go of something I have known well over the past seven years.
I decided to put my nursing career “on hold” so to speak. It was a decision I debated for such a LONG time. I finally acknowledged that I had to let go of one thing, in order to make room for other things.
Maybe you feel that too. That desire to have just a little less in life. Even if it’s a temporary decision. Even if it means giving up something really great in order to let something else bloom.
Less is always more.
How thin are my days spread? My resources? My energy?
Are there things in my life that challenge me to grow?
Do I allow myself enough time and space to recover?
How am I managing my health overall?