i’ve forgotten how to relax

What do you do when you can’t relax? You know, when you get home from work and you know you’re exhausted and need to relax but after two seconds on the sofa or reading a book or trying to meditate or do yoga you can’t stay still and you jump up and just finish some work on the computer except really you’re not working efficiently at all and finally you go to bed and thoughts of work spin in your mind until you drift off to sleep to wake infrequently with a general sense of dis-ease and by morning you’re awake and dreading the day ahead of you.

At work I teach, answer emails, discuss more or less complicated matters of organisation and employment and schedules and write reports and it’s all fine except I’m constantly behind, owing people things I don’t have time for. I find I have trouble concentrating on what people are telling me. I can stand there listening to a friend and I’m interested, really I am, but my mind keeps bombarding me with bits of other things I should be doing. I try to ease into my body but I can’t stop tensing my body in this strange way that leaves me constantly a little detached from the physical space around me, my head a little dizzy but somehow protected. When I try to relax the tensions I want to cry, so I tense again instead.

When I have my daughter it’s fine. I’m fine with her – relaxed, playful, happy or cross or whatever but there, present. The second she’s in bed it starts again. This week she’s with her dad and I can’t find any space for presence.

I should go for a run. Hang out with friends. Read a good book. On the surface everything is great, and I’m not even sure that it’s really a matter of having too much work, it might be the way I handle all these tasks. It is a problem that all the work I really want to do (research, projects I’ve committed to previously, the stuff I signed up for this career for) has to be done in addition to a full day’s work.

I’ll have less teaching after next week. Some calm. That will help. But how tragic to not know how to relax anymore.

Oh, and it’s not exactly that I don’t like my job. I just haven’t worked out how to live with it.

10. March 2005 by Jill
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