Working hard vs overworking

As I mentioned before this past week has been absolutely insane. Right now I am physically exhausted, my muscles ache, and all I want to do is curl up in bed with a good book and a cup of hot tea and not move for the next 3 weeks. Well, maybe not that extreme, but you get the picture.

This is totally me right now

This “top secret” project I’ve been working on has been actually an attempt to help my parents jumpstart a big business initiative – a fitness center. Yup, my parents are opening a gym – how cool is that? This is not just any gym, but one combined with a drop off day-care center. The whole idea is that you can drop off your kids while you work out, go shopping or do whatever it is you want to do, and know that they will be well taken care of. And it’s a pay by hour thing so you can basically have however much time you need. This is a very crude way of presenting the whole idea, but I think you get the general point. However setting up the entire faculty for this whole operation is no easy task – as we had to basically completely renovate the whole thing. I’m only here for the last bit, but considering when I arrived the scheduled opening was in a week and there were still A LOT of loose ends – there seemed no end of work that had to be done.

Personally, I love being super busy. I almost thrive off deadlines, packed schedules and having minimal free time. Call me weird, but it makes me feel good to know that I am accomplishing something with my time. I definitely prefer being super busy to having a bunch of free time on my hands that I have no idea what to do with.

However there is a balance between working hard and overworking and my problem is I struggle to find that balance. There were days I pushed myself to the point of exhaustion without taking enough time to rest. I felt dizzy, faint and generally horrible and yet I continued to work tirelessly. Of course I suffered for it the next day – my muscles were in so much pain I was constantly on painkillers – but I still pushed on.

I wasn’t taking proper care of myself either – I rarely had time for “real” meals. I relied mainly on whatever was available and easy to pack at the time – usually fruit, the occasional sandwich and other random food. Breakfast switched from oats to cereal- which although it saved me time in the short term – did little to fuel me properly. I was often weak and tired from lack of real food – but I didn’t want to take the time to stop what I was doing and eat a proper meal.

Today I reached a breaking point. After waking up at 3 AM for no apparent reason and not being able to sleep a wink after that I realized it was going to be a tough day. I managed the morning ok, probably because I had actually gone through the trouble of making myself a bowl of oats this morning. Around noon I was so exhausted I took an hour break, and although that enabled me to work the rest of the afternoon, by the time the evening rolled around I was exhausted. All I had to eat for dinner was fruit, and although tasty it definitely wasn’t doing much for my energy levels. To top it off I was exhausted from the skimp 5 hours of sleep I got the night before. And then it hit me – I don’t have to torture myself like this. I deserve to rest and to treat myself properly. Sure, I might be able to survive today – but what about tomorrow? What about the next day? Was the work really worth risking my health over?

I went home, had a proper dinner and some dessert (dark chocolate anyone?) and I’m heading off to bed. It’s one thing to have a good work ethic, and quite another to push yourself to the point of utter exhaustion and collapse. The worker is always worth more than the work , and it’s a lesson I need to learn. I tend to view stressful situations as a challenge, and my perfectionist nature makes me want to “prove” myself to others. I want to be better then everyone – to work the longest and the hardest and not show any sign of “weakness”. The funny thing is I don’t require half as much from my co-workers, which is a pretty good sign I’ve probably taken things a little too far. It’s time to slow down and realize that I can be a hard worker and still have limits. Otherwise before long I will burn out and my health and happiness will suffer as a result.

Alright – with oats already set for tomorrows breakfast I think I’m about ready to call it a night. Enjoy your weekend everyone – and I’ll try not to work to hard 😛

How about you guys? Are you the workaholic types the work till you drop? Or are you better at knowing your limits then I am and are you able to quit when it’s necessary?

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5 comments

  1. I understand you on this, I am also always doing something, anything, just to keep myself busy. I am glad that you realized how important it was to properly fuel yourself and to put yourself first! Helping your parents is an amazing thing (and wow, I wish my parents owned something so cool as a fitness center), but your body needs a lot of rest and a lot of good food to keep going. Enjoy your sleep and your weekend!

  2. I can totally relate girl, I’ve always been an insane overachiever so I tend to push myself until I’m totally exhausted. I love staying busy and active since I get bored really easily, but I think I need to work on finding my limits when it comes to overdoing it. Enjoy your relaxation this weekend!!


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