A Bit About Burnout

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about burnout, I’ve had a couple of encounters with it in the last year myself and also a few people close to me have found themselves struggling internally after working too hard. I don’t really have any advice to give – the advice I offer to myself is to know my own limitations, know when I am close to them and need to tread carefully, and to stand up for myself against the sources of stress or overwork if the need arises.

However it happens, the question a burned-out person seems to ask is “how long will I feel this way?” and there is no quantifiable answer, and no guaranteed cure for that dragging fatigue. Most of the advice I’ve heard revolves around “get a hobby” – this time around I realised what I needed to hear was “give yourself permission to waste time”. The first one I don’t have a problem with, anyone who knows me knows I’m a live wire and always doing 6 things at once. The second one … that’s the killer.

Earlier in the year I did a lot of travel for a particular work project, at a time when my diary was already pretty full and I was preparing for a big conference. With one thing and another, by the time it was all over, I realised I needed to make some changes. Lots of elements of my life – friends, family, relationship and health – had all taken a beating while I was off dealing with all that I needed to do, and I realised there was a lot to do to get myself to where I wanted to be on all those other fronts. Last week I realised that although it took 10 weeks, now I feel like myself, finally picking up the strands of hobbies and having the energy to contribute to things that once interested me. Its not a big chunk of time to spend “healing” and I am glad now that I did step away, allow myself to vegetate and chill out with those close to me instead of being driven all the time to the next thing on the list.

Most of all – I hope other people come through the experience as unscathed as I have, and that I learned something for next time.

Curious Combination of Craft and Code

I’m a software developer, so I like to make things. The fact that some of these things involve yarn, fabric, or wood rather than code doesn’t make any difference to how I feel about building things. For the most part my programmer friends think I’m strange for making woollen things, and my craft friends think I’m strange for working with computers!

Since spending more time online and getting to “meet” (in a virtual sense) more people, both crafters and coders, its becoming clear that I’m not alone on this one. First I saw a this thread about crafts on the phpwomen forum and then I also noticed that on ravelry (a social network for knitters. Yes, really) there’s a group for PHP knitters.

Are you a geek who also makes non-code things? Let me know :)