Craft By Zen

4 min read

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On Burnout

I’ve been experiencing heavy burnout over the past few weeks. I didn’t spare myself much time besides work, scheduled play, travel, and sleep. I’ve even deferred to eating out rather than cooking. The lifestyle, quite an unsustainable one, started to take a toll on my health. I took a run through Big Basin last weekend and was almost wiped out. I looked in the mirror at my pecks two days ago and saw sagging breasts and a round, bulging stomach. It was a pitiful sight since I use one visual metric as an indicator if I’m healthy, that of looking good naked. Some of those armpit wrinkles had their own wrinkles.

I took this time and started to reflect what was stressing me out. I stayed up later on nights where I should have gone to sleep earlier. I stopped exercising as much since late-April after coming back from Chicago, using travel as an excuse that threw off my exercise regime. I’ve been eating out when I have been used to home cooked meals. All of this sums up to looking at myself in the fitting room mirror at the mall staring at my own man boobs.

While a funny recollection, it scared the crap out of my. I have insecurities with my body shape, wearing loose clothing to hide some of those imperfections, and not doing anything about it. I know I could make the time, but with burnout, it is hard to feel elated to go for a run after work. I’m going back to basics, some may call it common sense, and work on the fundamentals again.

Don’t overload yourself

I switched over to the Todoist app, that worked quite well for a few months, but slowly piled up into ten daily tasks. I’m scrapping that out and re-doing my schedule to only handle one important task per day. Anything more that I accomplish will be a fun for the future.

The other thing is I’ve been overloaded with going back and forth between San Francisco and Palo Alto to go to events. I have to have a better, clear mission to do those things and know what events I can skip and which ones I should actually go to. It got bad over the past few weeks when I was going to an event every work day, which means more travel time.

Health Comes Primarily From Diet

In college, my big revelation was diet, not exercise, makes up most of the work needed to stay healthy. To stay fit, that’s where you introduce exercise. When I cut most sugar out of my diet, meaning no soda or juice, I saw results in my body. There were some side-effects, like getting these strange headaches along with sugar cravings, but after pushing through that hump, I have no regrets about that decision.

However, in most recent years, I’ve replaced those things with wine, which is a lot worse, especially when not in moderation. I will enact a limit of one glass if I do drink.

Listen To Your Body

Your body is quite acute to stress if you listen to it. I’ve had an issue with going to lunch, making terrible decisions listening to my body’s hunger pains. Instead, I’ll try to continue working, but my productivity has tanked. When I get lunch, I’ll buy too much food, get stuffed, and collapse with a food coma, ruining more work productivity. If I actually listened to my body initially, I would have had some willpower to tell myself to get a small salad and to stop eating when I feel full.

Caffeine, Or Your Drug of Choice, Is Not A Panacea

Last week, without much sleep the night before, I thought it would be a good idea to buy cup of coffee to get me through the day. If you don’t know me well, you’ll find out I rarely have caffeine. A cup of coffee for me it’s like crack, used sparingly for those rare, tired occasions. One this particular day, I was a bit hungover. I finished my coffee, and within minutes, felt that body ache.

I’m not giving caffeine a bad name, but I understand people hold on to it as a crutch, because it’s become their addiction. They can’t function without it, as witnessed through my roommates. When I use it as a quick solution, it’s never full proof and there’s always side-effects.

All of these things are measures and habits that I used to use as a basis for a clean, healthy way of living. It’s been hard to maintain balance, but there needs to be recognition that I’m going through this along with some reflection about how to take counter measures. And by relaxing this weekend and taking the time to write this out, I feel one step closer to that goal.