This last week has been a combination of fatigue from jetlag and reducing my medication again. I’ve had to get more sleep and rest more after appointments and work. I’ve had to work harder to prioritize rest and not over-schedule myself.
I’m pretty bad about not over-scheduling myself, but I’m getting better. I’m getting better at saying no when I can’t do something or accommodate a work appointment request.
I try hard to do so and when I was out of the country in England last week, I worked even harder because of the time difference between different parts of the US and the UK. At times, the time difference was eight hours between the West Coast and the UK. As a result, I had some meetings last thing at night. But I didn’t sacrifice important events or plans I had.
I feel pretty great about the balance I maintained in the week abroad. Although there were one or two late nights that I really wanted to cancel last minute and just go to sleep. But I didn’t. I knew I had a responsibility to keep up the appointments, so I got some water and chocolate and dialed up my energy for a short amount of time and powered through.
And then the next day I would sleep in a bit or dial back my travel itinerary. I was okay with not always being active or doing something, just like at home. Sometimes, I need to take time off, even when traveling.
And then I need to remember to do this when I get home. Lately, I’ve been traveling enough (in the US usually), that I need to remember not to go overboard when I’m out of town or when I’m back and need to follow up on appointments—like going to the psychiatrist to manage my medication dial down.
It’s the next step in trying to live better according to my abilities, needs, and priorities. I already travel light so that I won’t overburden or over-exhaust myself when I travel (or my husband when he helps me navigate tricky or difficult steps in our trips, like getting on a train or subway with stairs or large steps). It’s great to be able to travel without checking a bag or needing to take taxis to accommodate all our bags.
So now, I’m trying to incorporate a more relaxed approach to my traveling. It’s not lazy. It’s not wasting time or opportunities. It’s not living out of a scarcity perspective or from fear that I won’t get these types of opportunities again. Living fearfully is my default setting, but I’m quite tired of it. So, I’m trying to free myself from this kind of fear when I travel.
Part of this work is to focus on my needs and not on others’ ideas and expectations for what travel entails. Lots of people assume that you need to always be doing and busy when you travel. They don’t think of the importance of downtime, especially when traveling, to avoid illness or to keep up with work. Keeping up with work allows me to travel like I am doing.
My recent experiences are not exactly working and traveling, or pure traveling, but somewhere in between. And if that means I spend most of the next day after flying resting without going out for much more than food, that’s okay. If it means that I don’t immediately launch out and spend every second doing touristy things, I’m okay with that. I’m even getting past feeling weird or stupid or bad for doing travel this way. And maybe one day I won’t have to explain that to people (especially hard because of having invisible chronic conditions)!
Instead, I’ll know that I save my energy one day so I can go on an epic hike using all my energy. It’s rather like having one nice thing instead of a bunch of cheaper, inferior things. Instead of burning up all my energy on doing everything, I prioritize what I really want to do. And it makes sense to me. It doesn’t feel like a loss.