What a supportive week this was, I asked for help every chance I could. Informing my supervisor that I am feeling a significant amount of stress, sharing with the team I supervise that I am experiencing stress, and sharing with my loved ones the same allowed me freedom. It is still mind-boggling to me that I travel around the country talking to teams about vicarious trauma, burnout, compassion fatigue, and secondary trauma (nearly the same thing with slight differences) and yet when it is my turn to be upfront and honest about me having a difficult time with stress I still struggle to share.
But, the relief. After telling my supervisor that I am feeling overwhelmed and time crunched, instead of advising me to work harder, he suggested that I take some time off. After telling my team that recently I have been feeling exhausted, each one of them visited me individually and offered me suggestions about how to take better care of myself. And they stopped by just to say they care about me and they value me. But, it wasn't in all of these suggestions and support that I found the relief, it was in being honest and upfront about my struggle.
This week going to the pool after work was less work. Completing my homework was more approachable. Each morning as I drank my hot lemon water and watched the sun rise over Mt. Mansfield, I felt increasing energy and dedication. I finally took my two watches that need new batteries to the jeweler. I realized this week that the temperature will rise above 0 and in turn the snow will eventually melt. I wondered if maybe I should take that opportunity to speak at a national conference in Vienna this summer even though it will cost too much money. I fantasized about completing a swim/bike athalon this Spring and I dug out my tennis racket and decided after all these years, in 2015 I would finally like to learn to plan.
In short, by sharing my vulnerability I became stronger. How strange is this phenomenon that I keep trying to understand.