Post-Holiday Mental Exhaustion? Or Is It Just Pneumonia
Dear Nicholas, I’m wondering if having a ferocious cough this week is why I’m having trouble getting myself to do any of the things that need doing. Does coughing kill motivation and energy and focus? Or is my lethargy a case of post-holiday mental exhaustion?
The last time I had a cough this aggravating it was indeed from a mild case of pneumonia. (Tele-health appointment with physician set for tomorrow. Will cough on camera.)
The Roots of Fatigue
There’s plenty of reason to be tired. For weeks before Christmas, Bob and I worked on closing down his office, as he’s retiring from his psychology practice. He had journals and papers going back to the early eighties, a few items even older. Some were truly treasures and some definitely not. It was a huge job. Bags and bags of trash. Boxes and boxes of books. We finished two days before Christmas. Perhaps the hardest part of packing I posted on BookTok:
Christmas usually feels like a big project to me. I think it feels that way to the majority of American women, even those of us who merely pick up a pre-cooked meal.
The day itself, though, was festive and fun. We had a great time visiting family, with a sharper appreciation because of the serious ICU-type health crisis that one loved one had weathered a month earlier. He gave us a scare.
(Home office in December)
The To-Do List
And then the week after Christmas, there was a flurry of items I needed to handle, including a few end-of-year financial chores from Bob’s practice, which always make me jumpy. The process is like a real-world high-stakes version of the misery of Algebra II.
On the eve of New Year’s Eve, I started to sink, after getting home from a friend’s brother’s funeral. The four days since, I have barely functioned.
I Think It Takes Courage To Rest
Allowing myself sinking spells is hard. I don’t do well at “just being.” It’ll probably take a diagnosis of pneumonia to justify in my mind my current uselessness. (If you don’t have a fever, you don’t stay home from school.)
Yesterday I managed to do a load of laundry, an experience I stretched out for much of the afternoon and evening and which felt like a barely-believable accomplishment. (I now ransack my pockets looking for a cough drop.)
It’s hard to imagine the return of my usual energy. I take the irrational view that how I feel in a particular moment will continue forever.
But that’s not true, is it?
I have just enough fire left to wish you a happy, healthy, and vigorous new year. Please take good care of yourself.
Tags: allowing myself sinking spells, doing Christmas, energy and focus, ferocious cough, financial chores, health crisis, it takes courage, kill motivation, lethargy, mental exhaustion, pneumonia, post holiday, take good care of yourself