When I first retired, I was afraid I’d be bored and lonely after a lifetime of teaching high school students. As a result, I over committed myself to a variety of community programs and ladies’ organizations. Now I’m feeling burned out. How do I “retire” from my too-busy retirement schedule?
There’s a fine line between busy and productive and over-booked. It sounds like you’ve crossed the boundary. Good for you for noticing before burn out eroded your health or relationships.
It’s never too late to say “no.” Consider what you enjoy and what activities bring the most meaning to your life. Make a plan to whittle down the rest. Be honest. Tell people in the organizations you’ve chosen to leave that you need to take care of yourself by stepping back for now.
In addition to better self care, you’ll be modeling healthy behavior. You may encounter resistance so be prepared. Stick to your plan and affirm the fact that your well-being is worth some upheaval in your life and the lives of others.
You might know the story about putting the big rocks in the jar first (those activities that are most important to you), then the pebbles followed by sand, and finally, the water. If you start with sand or water, you’ll have no room for what is most important to you. Keep a jar on your desk or counter to remind you to fill your life with what’s most important and satisfying.