Remedying My Social Overload

Remedying My Social Overload

Christine Tender Points

This past fall, I felt so good that I got involved in several activities I hadn’t felt well enough to participate in for a very long time. Each of them was a weekly activity that occupied only a few hours rather than an entire day. However, given my chronically limited energy, I knew better than to schedule more than one on any given day.

Because mornings are difficult for me and my irritable bowel syndrome, I only schedule commitments after noon. Soon, I was engaged every afternoon of the week. It became a challenge to schedule the activities of daily living, such as medical appointments, car repairs, and haircuts.

However, all my activities had benefits. Spending time with people who enjoy the same things I do resulted in new friendships. For a social person like me, that’s a huge bonus. My activities also gave me a reason to get out of bed in the morning, which is usually a struggle due to chronic depression and seasonal affective disorder in particular. In general, I was feeling pretty good about my life.

And then fatigue set it. It began around the holidays, which isn’t unusual for me. But the holidays came and went, and the fatigue remained. I was sleeping 10 hours each night, plus napping during the day. I suspected that perhaps too much of a good thing was no good. In short, I had more activities in my life than I had the energy to enjoy. Clearly, something had to go.

My favorite activity by far was a late (for me) evening commitment that required a half-hour’s drive each way on dark, curvy roads, and three hours of standing and sitting once there. This effort drained more of my energy than anything else I did during the week. It was painful but necessary for me to conclude that this activity needed to go.

Now, for the first time in nearly half a year, I’m about to experience my first week with a day free of scheduled commitments. No activity, no appointment, no nothing. This is not to say that I’ll do nothing that day. There’s a very long list of items I’d like to accomplish. It’s just that those items are not on a must-do list. No one is expecting me. No timetable must be followed. I can just be and do what I want — if and when I want.

Most likely, I’ll have a pajama day, a day to do only indoor things. Maybe I’ll do some laundry and bill paying. Maybe I’ll call an out-of-state friend. And there’s a stack of novels next to my bed, all recommendations from my book club friends. Maybe I’ll read one of those.

Or maybe I won’t. Perhaps I’ll face my fatigue head on and spend a day on the couch. It’s been a long time since I’ve allowed myself such a luxury. This may be the week to do it.

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