Barton Goldsmith: When It All Gets To Be Too Much

By Barton Goldsmith Tribune News Service

WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) As Dr. Barton Goldsmith points out, "Giving yourself a well-deserved break is not shirking your duties. It is taking care of yourself so you can be better for those you love."

Tribune News Service

Like many people, I like to be engaged and productive. I do my best to avoid boredom. If I've had a productive day, I sleep better at night. So I guess, by most people's standards, I keep pretty busy. The problem is that I forget to relax.

Creating and doing my part to heal our abused planet keeps me occupied, but everyone needs to take a break sometimes.

When you really enjoy what you are doing, you can overdo it. And if you have several projects going on at the same time, it can get overwhelming.

The trick to surviving and thriving in this lifestyle is to learn to see the overwhelm coming before it hits you.

If you are physically and mentally exhausted from a very busy week, and you have a weekend planned for fun, those plans may not be so attractive at seven o'clock on Saturday morning.

We recently passed on a concert that both of us were looking forward to, a perfect case of the spirit being willing but the flesh being weak. Hey, we are human, and pushing myself to have fun just doesn't work.

There is so much to enjoy, and my lovely wife and I like doing stuff together. Anything from working on the house to attending art shows, and lately we have been spending a lot more time on a remodel than either one of us would like.

As a result, I'm actually becoming slightly handy and have successfully done a bunch of things I never thought I could do. And Mrs. Goldsmith is usually there holding the ladder and doing her part. But we are just so darn tired of the remodel!

We dream about what life will be like when it's done. We will walk on State Street, go to the beach, and attend some concerts. We will wake without worrying about what has to get accomplished that day, and just have a day. Maybe even go out to lunch! Yes, it's been that intense, but this is life, and learning how to find balance is a necessity. A good place to start is by planning what to do when you've finished working, like having a little staycation.

Right now, all we want to do is be warm, comfortable, and quiet. The thought seems to revive us and give us a chance to control the new day, not let it control us.

Your first priority needs to be keeping your body and mind together as you accomplish what you need to do. And if you are working alongside your partner, there can be additional advantages.

We've made an agreement that if one of us experiences the other being cranky, we let each other know it and take a little coffee break. There are times when sitting down with a warm cup is better than therapy.

Once we're feeling centered again, we go back to work, making our world a better place. You have to find the right balance. We all have that choice, and giving yourself a well-deserved break is not shirking your duties. It is taking care of yourself so you can be better for those you love. ___ (Dr. Barton Goldsmith, a psychotherapist in Westlake Village, Calif., is the author of "The Happy Couple: How to Make Happiness a Habit One Little Loving Thing at a Time")

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