When life won't let you take a break.

(Unrelated to the topic at hand:For the first time in a while I forgot to take a shoe photo! I hate it when this happens :( Oh well, it happens) 

I want to talk about burn out today, specifically when you have to work through burn out. Unfortunately it's pertinent to my mental state at the moment, and has been on and off for many years.

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To me, burn out feels like molasses. It's an all encompassing feeling, which makes me physically and mentally feel slow and gluggy. The pit of anxiety and overwhelm likes to rear it's ugly head and I also tend to become withdrawn, irritable, and flitter between too much and too little sleep. For those who have experienced burnout before, this may sound really familiar (that being said, your feelings may be different) and for those of you who haven't experienged it, consider yourself lucky ! :) 

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If I worked a normal job, to cure these feelings I would take a few days off to destress, cut down on my commitments and focus on doing things I enjoy. This becomes twisted when big parts of your job fit into "this makes me feel good and helps me to destress". For example, I find the pre gig responsibilities and post gig aftermath pretty stressful sometimes, but the act of playing a good gig takes away the bad feels like nothing else. I also rely on the gig for income, further complicating the situation. 

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More often than not, this leads me to working through my burnout. I know it's not healthy and that it probably keeps the sads around for longer, but the alternative for me (which is immediately cutting back on creative projects) is far more scary. 

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There have been periods of burnout which have ended in spouts of depression where I've been unable to work work to even 50% capacity for (seemingly) endless months. It's almost like once I loose the momentum it's 200% harder to return to my fullest productive self. 

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Over the last 2 years, I've experienced a couple of burnouts which I've worked (as in not slowed down my job worked) my way through. As such I've developed a couple of coping mechanisms. My favourites are:

1) The brain dump. This is basically a "to do list, but it also includes human things such as "take some time out" "don't forget to breath" and "you don't need to worry/panic". For these lists I also assign different tasks to different days so I don't feel like the full list in one days work. 

2) Talking to friends/making last minuite plans. I CANNOT STRESS ENOUGH how important friends are. I've recently reconnected with my closest buddies/found some amazing new friends after a really awful breakup earlier this year. Without these people to hang with, I would find myself staying in and wallowing much more frequently. (Saying this, once I return to "normal" I still seek out their friendship, it's just when I'm feeling crappy, I tend to not see anyone at all for weeks at a time and disappear off the face of the earth!) 

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3) Making a conscious effort not to beat myself up about productivity. If you can remember back to this year, this has been my only New Years resolution, and I've been doing pretty well at it! One of my mantras has become "you can only get what you have done today, done today". Whenever I feel myself slipping into "work guilt" I say this, either in my head or outloud. While it doesn't immediately solve the issue, it does help to calm my brain and make the feelings less strong/easier to work through. Along the same vein, every time I do a thing that's not feel sad and watch youtube I give myself a proverbial pat on the back. Whatever I'm trying to do may be small and insignificant, but the fact I did it, feeling like this is an absolute miracle. 

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4) I try to remember this feeling isn't forever. This helps to keep the burnout sads from becoming existential (which is a whole other layer of weird). 

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I'd like to conclude with something positive, but it's hard for me to think positively when i'm stuck smack bang in the middle of burnout. Real talk: Every time I "recover" from burnout I tell myself "this is the last time" but it never is. I suppose I'm scared that this cyclical feeling will continue my whole life. I'm also scared that one day the feeling will just swallow my whole (woah, that got dark quickly). That being said, I see so many people who are older than me functioning like humans should. I'm sure they've all been through periods like this, and look at them! Mental health. It's certainly a thing. 

LASTLY! I'd like to call your attention to my mailing list! https://mailchi.mp/edf9944672b3/the-emerald-ruby-mailing-list-signup It's a thing I have now because I don't trust the algorithmic gods to deliver the stuff I make to the people who want to see it! I'll be starting it up once I get back from my July tour, so if you'd like better access to my online life, feel free to pop your email in the thing! :) 

Emeralds on Mustard.

I'm going through a tough mental period at the moment which is resulting in a loss of motivation, and most worryingly for me, a loss of motivation to get dressed. It's not that I have nothing to wear (because that's absolutely not how I feel) it's more that I'm struggling with the combination of early mornings that my school bands require, the late nights that my performances and rehearsal require and the bitter cold that is the Australian winter. I basically want to spend 24/7 rugged up in multiple comfy layers of knit and blankets. 

All of those things put together mean that I'm basically throwing on a pair of thick tights, a plain, but nice enough dress and my favourite coat, which there's absolutely nothing wrong with, but it leaves me feeling "not put together" and dowdy. I miss colour, unexpected details and the motivation to have those things, but I don't currently have the energy or control over my exhaustion levels to change my mindset or patterns. 

I'm going to get real for a sec here. The way I'm feeling is not normal. I've been in this place many times before and usually I've had the luxury of time to get help so I can dig myself out of this hole. I've not got that luxury this time around. All of my time (During clinical hours) is taken up with immovable work, and I'm holding it together "well enough" that on good days I can convince myself that there's nothing wrong and I'm being an idiot. 

The day I put this outfit together was one of these aforementioned good days. I had energy the night before, and got up before I had to (which is a rarity these days). I really dig the combination of mustard and emerald (and I have no idea why I haven't combined these colour before!). I'm not really sure where this post was going, but a jumble of words is all I can manage at the moment. 

Silver Bells

I recently gave in and subscribed to Photoshop Creative Cloud so I could shoot RAW, and by gosh, RAW is incredible. Like, the internet always talks about how great it is, but I didn't believe it till I saw it, and now I've seen it. 

For those of you who don't do the photography thing, DSLR's shoot (basically) in two modes: Jpeg and RAW. When you shoot Jpeg, the picture quality isn't as good and you don't have as much control in the editing process. You get to control everything with RAW.

The only downside is that because the file size (and my SD cards with shitty write speed) my camera takes less shots per second shooting continuously compared to Jpeg. (So, I'll probably still shoot Jpeg for my "normal blog type stuff") 

I made this skirt last night as well. I've been thinking about making a scallop hem circle skirt for a while, and decided to pull the trigger when I happened upon this silver wetsuit type knit. 

Sewing this made me realise I kind of need to get a walking foot. I was going to attach the bauble trim I've got around the waist around the edge of the scallops as well, but couldn't do it with just my basic foot attachment. (I mean, I could have tried, but I value my sleep more than I wanted a pom pom trim)