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Hard Streak

I subscribe to Mindful, and curiously clicked when a post came up this week promising to help me tell the difference between a bad day and burnout.  (Though, before I clicked, I sang to myself, “Maybe she’s born with it.  Maybe it’s Maybelline.”  Because that’s what I always sing to myself when articles present me with two possibilities.)

I walked away not knowing if it’s a bad day or burnout because I am always a pessimist.  That’s my default outlook.  And it didn’t give me enough to go on to distinguish regular tired from burnout tired.  Still, it jogged the question in my brain; what am I feeling right now?

I am going through a hard streak.  During a hard streak, everything just feels hard.  I feel like I’m waiting on too many things and no one is getting back to me.  My insecurity is high and my output is low.  My imposter syndrome is berating me even when all I’m doing is pulling together a peanut butter and jam sandwich.  (“You think you’re a good sandwich maker?  Everyone can tell your sandwiches are sub-par.  You’re not fooling anyone.”)

When I’m in a hard streak, I rationally know that hard streaks are followed (at some point) by easy streaks where everything slips easily into place.  Where I get a dozen affirmative answers all at once and good surprises fall into my lap.  I get my work done early and have a relaxing reading day.  There are meals at the ready in the freezer.  My to do list checkboxes are checked.

Or they’re followed by neutral streaks that feel like easy streaks in comparison to the hard streaks.  Where every day pretty much meets expectations.  And while nothing particularly exciting is happening, I know what I need to do when I wake up every morning, and I accomplish it by the time I go to bed.  And I count that as a good day.  Those times are not as fun as the easy streaks where life keeps giving me green lights, but I’m okay with neutral.

I guess I’m okay with anything other than a hard streak.

This week, I needed to run errands.  I didn’t want to run errands because I’m cognizant that I’m currently in a hard streak, which means even errands end up being difficult.  And these did not disappoint.  A task that should have taken 15 minutes was dragged out over two hours due to malfunctioning equipment and human error.  I ran into the pet store, and the pet store was not only out of bedding but would not be getting any in for a week.  I ran into the grocery store and they were out of the soup I needed for dinner.  The Wolvog offered to pick me up something at Starbucks as a treat, but I told him it was too risky.  During a hard streak, it was likely that I would spill the drink on myself vs. get it into my mouth.  He nodded and ordered a hot chocolate for himself without comment.

The problem with hard streaks is that you need to press through them.  You can’t hit pause and wait for them to be over or the work will pile up and you’ll never be on the other side of the streak.  So you plug away and peek up at the figurative traffic lights of life, hoping they’ll change to green.


1 Cristy { 02.06.19 at 12:20 pm }

You just perfectly described where I’m at in life too. I hate these periods as my anxiety tends to go through the roof. Yet, like you, I know he only way out is to work through.

May your hard streak end very soon.

2 a { 02.06.19 at 2:27 pm }

I seem to grow a bit of patience during hard streaks, when I can recognize that I’m in the middle of them. So, that’s helpful.

Hope your easy streak appears directly!

3 Sharon { 02.06.19 at 4:23 pm }

I hate those periods, and I agree that it can sometimes be hard to tell the difference between regular tired and burnout tired. So many times over the past several years, I have thought “I would be fine if I could just take a month off and get caught up.” But I can’t, and I’m not sure if it would make a difference if I did.

Here’s hoping you feel back to easy or neutral soon.

4 Mali { 02.07.19 at 10:44 pm }

I wonder if you’re finding it hard because of the time of the year, the temperatures, what’s going on in a white building not far from you, etc. I hope it passes soon.

5 Lori Lavender Luz { 02.08.19 at 4:36 pm }

This is such a good description of my days. I’m sorry you’re in a hard streak (I’m just coming out of one — I hope) and I hope you’re back in the easy or neutral zone soon.

Lol about the Maybelline.

6 Jess { 02.10.19 at 8:30 pm }

Ha, the Maybelline thing. I can hear that in my mind now!

I’m so sorry you’re in a hard streak. I am too… and so many other people seem to be having a rough go of it lately. It makes me wonder if there’s some shift in magnetic poles or something that is throwing everyone off. I do love how even though you say you’re a pessimist, you believe that every hard streak is followed by an easy streak eventually, which sounds pretty optimistic to me! 😉 May the neutral or easy streaks be on their way, and this hard streak be a long bad day, and not burnout. I have to go read that article but I don’t want to think I’m in burnout…I’d rather live in blissful ignorance on that one. I do agree with Mali that the time of year makes this a crappy time as well, more likely to feel awful and overwhelming and like everything’s conspiring against a person.

(c) 2006 Melissa S. Ford
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