On Managing Anxiety, Work, Life, and all Things in Between

This Spring, you may have noted that I posted a little less and bitched a bit more than normal. I have long considered writing this, but Karen’s post recently and the evaluating one’s life posts that have been floating around for the past year convinced me that now was the time.

Karen’s post talks about what we do to our motivated leaders. We overburden them. We steal their shiny with promises that never come. I am sorry to say that this has happened to me gradually over the past year. I am still an optimist, often annoyingly so, and I still love my profession, but this past semester made we rethink what my job and my life was and where the lines needed to be drawn. I needed more lines.

In between TLA and CiL this year, I spent a day on my couch, crying, overwhelmed with anxiety that I would not get my house clean ever, and thus become the worst wife ever (and later a terrible mother) and that I would never finish all the things at work that were on my plate and thus be a terrible person. I had too much to do and I was only one little person in a big, big world.

Was my To Do list that terrible? Well, it was pretty full, but not crying over it full. I realized I had some anxiety issues that I needed to deal with and I found a professional to listen to me. I feel better about things and I am handling my To Do list better. Self Awareness is a powerful thing.

I also realized a few other helpful things:

  • This is my job, not my life. I can go home and go home. I can leave all the drama, malfunction, and swamped To Do lists where they belong, in my office. It is hard, and some days I fail, but I try.
  • I can say no. Boundries are a good thing. I am saying no at work a lot lately and to some of my professional organizations.
  • I can say no to enabling malfunction too.
  • Doing small chores every day makes house cleaning easier.
  • I define my own success, it does not look like yours, and I am ok with that.
  • My family (right now only consisting of a husband and a slobbery dog) is more important than anything else in my life. Period. No negotiations.
  • I am still a librarian no matter what my job title says and what I do, because sometimes you just are.

All of those things are important, but the last one was what has really affected my thinking. I am starting to consider possibilities for jobs that I never would have pondered a few months ago. (and if you are surprised that I am looking, you should not be, most of us are always keeping our eyes open) A new addition to my blogroll is the Brazen Careerist, which I have mentioned before. Penelope Trunk has been writing lately about balancing work and home life and defining your own success. I find myself nodding emphatically to many of her thoughts. I would love to meet Penelope one day. She seems like a great person to share big ideas with over coffee.

I think that as long as I am doing something I like and can feel like I am doing something worthwhile, I will be content in my job. It does not matter if I have librarian in my title. I will always be one in my heart. *big sigh of relief*

I suppose the real point of writing this post is so that you, my readers and friends, would know why I have been behaving oddly. I also want to encourage those feeling overwhelmed to step back, let go, and find someone to talk to, professional or otherwise. It is amazing what a few words and a listening ear can do.

It also does not hurt that I have the Best. Husband. Ever. God knew I needed a man like Mr. Rochester. What a lucky wife I am.

What is next for Jane? I have a handful of projects I am working on this summer, some big, some small, small related to MPOW, and some not. I am excited about all of them and will share them as I am able.

Now, I am going to cross some things off my To Do list. 😉

–Jane, thanks world