Continuing Lockdown: Life in a constant limbo between Burn-out, Bore-out and Back Pains
As you might have realized, you haven’t heard from me in a while. Astrid has been running this blog as a one-woman-show for quite some time now while I’m busy trying to finish my thesis and lots of other things. I’m quite swamped at the moment and as you can gather from the title, this lockdown which has been continuing more or less since November (varying between stricter and less strict format) is starting to wear people out for good. I mean, it’s always been annoying but I’ve found that during February, the general mood has deteriorated considerably. At least from what I’ve seen and heard. I’ve had multiple near-miss car crash situations where people were driving extremely recklessly. I’ve been observing this phenomenon for a while now. But I don’t want to be too hard on people because I’m probably not always fun either lately.
At some point, I have been discussing experiences with multiple friends and my verdict to sum up the general experience for many of my friends in Academia is that we’re stuck in a constant limbo between burnout and boreout. Before the (delayed) start of my current fellowship, I was definitely somehow in a state of boreout. With the start of the fellowship, I was initially very motivated because the (relative) excitement of starting something new threw me out of that bored-out state of mind. But then again, I’ve seen myself cycle through phases of absolute demotivation, then sudden motivation followed by really hard work, followed by some sort of burnt-out state for a few times now.
As you might remember, I actually had a lumbago before Christmas and now I’ve done it again: I had a spinal disk herniation last week, even if just a slight one. It wasn’t super painful but it reminded me that I needed to give myself a break. I’ve relaxed a bit over the last few days (I’m not really supposed to sit or stand much, rather alternate between walking and lying down) and come to the realization that I’m looking forward to being more “in the moment” again. I think that, to a certain degree, some more clarity and perspective will come once the dissertation is done. On the other hand, I’m quite sure the yoga teachers out there would tell me that this feeling won’t come by itself. I need to start working on it now and that way, I can generate the feeling myself. Maybe they’d be right. I’m definitely lacking perspective here and maybe I’d be better off living fully in the here and now. Easier said than done, especially during a pandemic!
Well, this was a quite short and unusually casual post – but that’s my current state of mind and there you have it.
How are you holding up during this lockdown?