The Dead Zone

I could feel it coming on; a total shut down. I had, once again, overloaded the organ currently called a brain and put it into meltdown mode. Too much information was being entered, a mass amount of work was being done, and my body was calling it quits.

How often do we do this to ourselves? Personally, I do it far too often. From the minute I wake up ’til the minute I get the kiddos down (and sometimes beyond), I am rushing at the speed of light; trying to accomplish more than is humanly possible.

The result of all my busy-ness… the dead zone. A temporary state of mind where I have to literally stop everything and just breathe. A point in time when, if I don’t stop, I’ll careen myself right into shortness of breath and a massive headache.

What causes the dead zone? An overload of activity in a short amount of time or an overload of activity, which I had not planned for. On occasion, it can also be caused by my own foolishness; namely, me choosing to do far too much on any given day. (Yeah; that’s usually the one that gets me.)

Yesterday is a prime example… We needed to get learning done in the morning, right? So, I got the kiddos started. While they were wrapping up work, I did a list of chores and cooked some food. Then, we rushed through lunch and headed out the door. We handled a special event and ran two errands, before I dropped the kiddos back off at home with their pop. I headed back out to do a few more errands, only to come home and start another list of things I wanted to get done before the day was over. Did I mention all of this took place before dinner time?

The Dead Zone

Now, mind you, every day is not like this! (Thank the Lord!) But I have noticed a trend; more and more days are becoming like this. It needs to stop. Having a busy day once in a while is alright and understandable, but doing this several times a week is just too much.

The sad part is, the main culprit is me. No one is putting pressure on me to get this much accomplished. There is no manager standing behind me, ordering me to finish this list of “to do’s”. This is all me… (sigh)…

I need to learn how to say, “no”; even to myself. I need to realistically look at my day and understand I am not Superwoman. Yes; I could rush around like a mad woman and get all this accomplished (and some days I do), but those days should be few and far between. If I am managing my time well, the days will be full, but not overwhelming.

Most importantly, I need to stop telling myself that the more I do, the more I am worth. This is not a competition, even one against myself. Just because an activity could get done today, doesn’t mean it should!! If something comes up at the last-minute, I need to take stock and realistically decide if this can get done; without ending up in the ‘dead zone’.

I hate to admit it (boy, do I hate to admit it), but I do not need to get this much done in one day. If all of my days are filled to the brim with busy-ness (even for a ‘good cause’), I might be missing out on something just as important; those quiet moments with my kids and the ability to just relax.

Before I run myself into the ground, it’s time to slow down. It might just be a short season of our life, but I am tired of being stuck in ‘the dead zone’.

How about you? Do you ever find yourself overworked to the point that your brain decides to call it quits?


12 thoughts on “The Dead Zone

  1. Margin is hard for homeschool moms – so many hats to wear in our case. I know in my case, I’m harder on myself than any boss would be. Maybe it’s May with the extra end of the co-op year stress but I’ve had a few of those moments too!


  2. ” I might be missing out on something just as important; those quiet moments with my kids and the ability to just relax.” Wise words I think – I would take being ‘busy’ at this over rushing around any day.
    Prioritization – I think it is amazing how much doesn’t actually have to be done now except that it has somehow become a badge of honour to always groan and say how busy we are when someone asks. You can see the shock on peoples faces if you instead answer “All good, not that busy and spending some time with the kids.”. For some reason people think that you are lazy, or letting things slide if that is your answer rather than just organised and setting priorities and saying no to frivolous stuff.


  3. Oh, DEAR, I sure have been there.
    We moved into a house that was supposed to have been cleaned, but when we got there we learned: the previous owner was in jail on drugs, the house was totally filthy, the realtor was out of town immediately after she handed over the keys, we were 8 hours from our old house and friends, and Husband had to report for work that afternoon.
    We did like the house, though, and our furniture was not to arrive for a month, so we could do some painting, so we began cleaning. I would work the children (ages 12-19) gently but constantly, doing light cleaning and wall-paper removal and painting (it was summer; no books) until their bedtime, then I would keep working until I reached “brain dead” every night. I literally could look at the steam carpet cleaner and not remember how to turn it off, I was so “gone”. Usually that was at about 2a.m. That was when I would go to sleep and rise again at 5.
    Yep. Been there.
    But I was younger, then. Couldn’t do it now. 😀


  4. One thing we did to build in a rest for me was to make Fridays a TGIF sort of celebration. Instead of P.E., that day, we had vigorous house cleaning as a form of exercise, then I did not cook supper. We would have popcorn and other snacks, every man for himself, and would make Friday night a game/movie night. Or we’d have company and require them to bring part of the food. Still it would be a game night or home movie night. We just began to wind down and made the whole evening an appointment that no one wanted to miss. It was great fun and we loved it. I totally looked forward to this guilt-free time of family.
    And, yes, occasionally I would go frowning into it thinking, “One more thing on my to-do list–HAVE to do family night…” but I would calm down after a bit and truly relax.
    It was great. And laughter IS like medicine.


  5. I have been there and go back regularly! I used to work myself to the point where I would shut down…literally I would lose my voice my body was so exhausted. In the last year, I have relaxed and given myself permission not to get EVERYTHING done…not an easy task. I am a bit of a perfectionist and control freak… My house is no longer sparkling there is dirt in my window tracks, my floors are not spotless… Our schoolwork is our first priority then everyday I make sure to set some time aside to play with my boys. Everything else can wait…I know that we will not get this time back. My oldest is 12 and soon he won’t want to “play” with me anymore. I will catch up with everything else then…


  6. YES! This is so me! I find myself almost not being able to function unless I’m doing something but then those something’s pile up to too much of everything and then BOOM – mental AND physical shutdown!


  7. I am definitely not a type A personality. I am naturally very still and laid back. Having said that, there are many days that are far too full for my brain to handle. Being intensely introverted, if I get overloaded I actually get physically loopy, almost like being drunk. (dizzy and nauseated) Most unpleasant.

    I am learning to know those limits and work within them. It’s hard though when the to-do list is never ending. This is a great reminder for the type A’s and B’s alike. The world won’t end if we slow down!


  8. This was great to read! This is our first year of homeschooling. I am learning to protect our time. My kids need “the teacher”, but they all need to chill with “the mom”. Learning to balance these roles so we don’t miss out on just being together as a family.


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