The Life Mangle

The Life Mangle

It’s been rather quiet on Eskimimi Makes of late. The balance between work and time for myself; between being with those we love and dealing with less rewarding pressures and expectations has been skewed towards the negative over recent weeks. We have also been trying to squeeze wedding organisation into the mix, which is a rather sweeter pressure, but still demanding of time and attention, and can sometimes bring you up short and suddenly with a crashing realisation that there is a spanner in the works that we perhaps hadn’t taken stock of until that moment. I feel as if I have been squeezed flat between the rollers of a life mangle.

But recently the biggest vacuum for my energy is work. I think most people are happy to feel as if they are in demand and busy to a point, but as with many jobs the growth of resource does not match that of the workload in my job, and so I have found that I have bringing my work home, both in actuality and mentally. Over the past few weeks I have not been able to switch off when I leave the office and have finished offloading my worries onto my long-suffering partner, but instead have found myself lying in bed reviewing every action and everything I need to do in the week on-going, as if reciting a mantra of things that I must not forget in order to keep my thoughts organised and to ward off panic. It’s an exhausting cycle that is hard to break away from, and that part of me that I recognise as needing control to the point of seeking perfection, which I see in my creative pursuits (which can result in a preciseness which others may see as either a good or bad thing) is also present in my day job. On the plus side it usually means that things within my control run very smoothly, but any time something slips from this control it can impact me more than I wish it would.
Additional to this, I embarked upon applying for a new role within the organisation that I hoped might be more rewarding, if only in recognition of the level of work I produce. The first part of the recruitment process was positive; a good experience even. The process of the second round interviews dragged on a bit until finally I was called back and then sped towards a round of interviews that was quite intense, and with the added pressure of a lot of prep work being required in a very short time during a week with an incredibly heavy workload. I had a very bad time during my second interview. I have never had a negative interview experience before, and I found some of the things that were asked of me and said to me very distressing. I held it together, but I am not too proud to admit that I cried all the way home. And it wasn’t that dainty crying that you see in movies where the starlet’s make-up stays intact. Big globby tears that made my eyes red and sore and for some reason made my nose look puffy (is this a ‘thing’, or do I just have a magic nose?)
In the lead up to the interview I had found no time to do anything for myself. I put every moment in to preparing both my presentation and myself, and suffered a lack of sleep juggling the thoughts of the impending task alongside everything I was already doing in my day job.
The day after ‘the experience’ I found myself faced with a fresh new weekend. I was still a little bit blanched from the day before, but I steadied my nerves and emerged from the black cloud surrounding me with the intention to worry less.
Part of this has also found that I have resolved to find a little time for myself each day to do something for me. I have said this before, but never always found the time. There have been days over the last week when I’d not usually have carried this through, but I have made a point of it recently, even if it means that I have only knit a single round of a sleeve, or sewn a single seam – I have done one, often miniscule, bit of creating to go towards making something for me.

I have still not quite found the right balance in my day to allow me the time to enjoy writing about these small but significant successes on my blog, and even if I did my progress at the moment seems to be so slow that I doubt there are many people who would enjoy a stitch by stitch account of my slow progress.
But small incremental gains build eventually, and I am now at about 90% complete in three projects – one sewing, one knitting and one spinning, so hopefully I will be able to find another slither and finer division of an already small amount of ‘me’ time, to find time to write as well as create.

7 thoughts on “The Life Mangle”

  • Me-time is very important, good for you for making an effort to squeeze some in.
    Work sounds pretty rough, I hope it improves sometime soon.
    Look after yourself, Dx

  • A. I quite like that you called it a “mangle” and I need to use that word more often.
    B. I call that “ugly crying” and my whole face gets puffy. I end up looking like someone exposed to the wrong kind of soap or something. If it was an especially long, hard cry, I’m slightly reminded of the times I’ve had poison ivy on my face.
    C. Would making lists for work help? I HAVE to make lists when life gets like that (heck, even when life is easy), and I also make them for the young people in my house. If not, I’d be trying to remember my lists (chores, random other tasks, groceries, etc) and what I’d asked them to do and chaos would reign even more than it does already. When there are MAJOR things happening (before we moved, or when we’re getting ready for a big vacation), I dedicate a specific notebook to the lists rather than just a random piece of paper. Then I can keep track of “the red notebook” or whatever.
    D. I’m sorry things are so rough right now and I hope they calm down soon. That feeling of barely treading water in a storm is just exhausting.

  • Oh gosh. As a student, I know all about times when work bottlenecks and everything else falls to dust around you. I hope this is just an ugly bottleneck and that things get easier and less stressful for you! Sometimes I just have to let myself fail to do something for my own sanity. Sure, my students might get angry that I haven’t graded their tests in the time I told them I would, but they won’t be as angry as I am if I don’t sit for 15 minutes, turn my brain off, and knit.

  • Hi Mimi- I read your blog all the time… but I’m pretty sure I’ve never commented before. I love your aesthetic eye and enjoy reading about your crafting endeavours (I’m in the midst of d-i-y-ing my own wedding at the moment as well) but I must admit that I am at my most engaged and involved when you open up about your work/life/balance struggles.

    I also work a day job that is extraordinarily taxing – and I also lie awake revisiting to-do lists and mentally imagining myself doing all the things I have to do the next day (which, now that I think about it, means I live each day twice – ouch). It got harder when I decided that the best avenue to get recognition for the amount of effort I put in was to start my own business. So I now I’m trying to do that AND still working my day job.

    All I can say is that I empathize and sympathize. For me at least, it always gets better when I forgive myself for the time I take to do personally pleasant things. The internal dialogue goes something like this: “Okay. So, I really should be doing x, x, or x with this free time. But you know what? Heck. I love knitting and watching a movie, so to hell with x, x, and x. I’m allowed to knit and watch this movie, if I wanna.”

    I hope this helps!

    All the best.

  • I know exactly what you mean. My work life balance has shifted enormously over the last few months and I have been finding it a real struggle. Your comment about control really resonated with me; I am exactly the same.

    Here’s hoping things improve for both of us soon!

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