Life in February: Burn Out + Back to Basics

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Only 28 days have passed and I can’t quite remember what happened in January. And February wasn’t much better.

Am I the only person who had to look through my social media to figure out what I did in February?

It turns out I packed a lot of adventure and fun into the shortest month of the year.

And while I have always dreaded winter, this year I made a decision to embrace the cold and it has taught me so much.

But it wasn’t all sunshine and spectacular waterfalls.

The truth is February was a whirlwind of big highs and lows.

Sharing a gorgeous winter waterfall + food in my hometown

The Highs of February

Starting off with the bright side of February, things felt better.

I mentioned in my January post that when we finally got the news that there was an end I had unexpected anxiety.

When would I get the shot? How much longer was my life on hold? Did I do enough with the time I had?

But thankfully I mellowed out in February.

I started feeling hopeful, but more importantly I have been patient.

Discovering beautiful places 10 minutes from my house.

I have been having a great time in Nova Scotia exploring.

This month I was able to work with both Yarmouth & Acadian Shores and Nova Scotia.

Videos coming soon!

I have been so fortunate to be able to have partners who believe in the work I do and support me in projects where I independently find places to go and share what I love.

Building a YouTube channel is the most challenging and rewarding thing I have done.

But I feel like it is the next evolution of sharing food and culture around the world.

It’s better to show you what I see rather than writing about it. Even if that takes me SO much longer to do.

And when people write me to say they love my videos about Nova Scotia and want to visit I feel so proud that I can share the beauty of where I am from.

If you haven’t subscribed to my channel yet my goal is 10k subscribers. I am currently at 3.73K but you can subscribe for free here.

Winter is Fun?

I’ve been getting out with friends as much as possible. Before I would hibernate through winter but now I’m always looking for ideas.

My goal to love winter continues and it’s been so successful I am almost sad it will soon be over…almost.

I have really started to appreciate where I am from. I have discovered so many incredible local spots.

I am actually looking forward to the next six months at home, spending summer in Canada and just seeing more.

Souris Provincial Park Beach
Souris beach boardwalk in PEI

I Planned a Family Vacation

Last summer I spent a week exploring PEI restaurants and loved Souris and other parts of eastern PEI.

I enjoyed it so much I booked the same cottage for this year.

This time it’s special because my sister and her family are also joining! PEI is such a great spot for kids and so I am so excited to have this time with them.

I remember family vacations as a kid and this kind of travel is special to me as I won’t have my own children but can help create these memories for them.

But also we’re driving in separate cars so I don’t have to deal with the inevitable road trip meltdowns.

Being an Aunt is the best!

female vendors on the market on Plaza 5 de Junio on February 26 2014 in Banos Ecuador. On the market which is held every Wednesday Friday and Sunday mainly fruits and vegetables are being offered
Market in Baños Ecuador

I am Patient

With an end in sight I can wait for 6 months to travel internationally.

This month I shared a post on my favourite Ecuador fruits and shared a round-up of healthy Cuban recipes including other great food writers.

But the biggest change was that I started watching travel vlogs on YouTube on places I’d like to visit.

Instead of missing travel I’m inspired by it again.

I’ve also started making notes of where I’d like to go and gear I’ll need to organize.

It’s not going to be for a while but I feel hopeful.

Woman at gym selfie in mirror Trail Shop t-shirt
I don’t remember the last time I worked out.

The Lows of February

There’s only one thing I know. I am burnt out.

In some ways I think it is a collective energy that I’m feeling.

Everyone is tired. Tired of what we’re doing and already tired of waiting for those two precious shots in the arm.

I have noticed I am getting very short tempered. And if something isn’t exactly as I expect I am unreasonably annoyed.

I don’t want to continue like this.

But I do think February was better than January. Only because I’m finally accepting the burn out and trying to do something about it

This week I decided to change up how I work.

As I mentioned for the last year I have been pretty much been working ALL THE TIME.

Some of it stems from fear and instability of having a job in travel. A bit of it is because I’m type A crazy.

And much of it is because I don’t know what else to do.

Being here isn’t normal for me.

When I’m away traveling I tend to work in the morning and explore for the rest of the day.

With winter weather in Nova Scotia that wasn’t really a possibility in February.

In fact I stopped my daily walking for several weeks because the weather made sidewalks either too icy or filled to my knees with snow.

I barely made it to boot camp in February

I think maybe one class or two. And curling was cancelled for various reasons.

And somehow I let my health slide. I worked more. Moved less.

And my body is now stiff and I don’t feel great about it.

Tweet from the Nap Ministry: You can feel the exhaustion and tiredless and boredom on IG. The push to always be making "content" has folks on a never ending spiral and its felt. The forced videos, the "Think pieces" the drive to increase and stay "relevant". It all feels fake and sad and weird. Rest.

What I Learned + What I’m Going to Change

Toward the end of February I saw this on Instagram and I felt it.

I felt tired. I felt burnt out. And I didn’t know how to rest anymore.

But I also didn’t know what to do.

Then I watched this video where Lavendaire evaluates the previous month to plan for the next.

I couldn’t answer a lot of her prompts answering what I had done well.

I was too tired and I had to face the facts that I wasn’t taking care of myself properly.

I was pushing too hard. And I had no idea how to fix it.

Quote: You weren't born to just pay bills and die with landscape image

I watched this video from Cathrin Manning about how she works four hours a day, six days a week.

And all I could think was, I want afternoons off.

The truth is, that isn’t a crazy thing to want. I wake up at 6am and have lunch at 1pm – at that point I’ve worked 6-7 hours already.

So I’m trying it.

It’s only been a couple days but already I feel better.

I’ve realized that 6 focused hours are more productive, I am still getting everything done.

And at about the six hour mark my productivity wanes and my brain is pretty much done. So why push?

And my first day trying it I watched a movie in the afternoon!

This is sad but I don’t remember the last time I’ve watched a movie on my own.

It seems like that would be an easy thing to do.

But at the beginning of the movie I still had my phone in my hand. I was scrolling through Facebook groups and responding to work related things.

I remembered a podcast I had listened to about why rest is a strategic advantage and how when you rest you have to let it all go.

For me that’s my phone. My laptop. All electronics.

I put my phone in another room and just watched the movie.

White words on black. Quote: You just have to trust your own madness - Clive Barker

Focusing on just one thing is hard for me.

But that is what I’m going to continue to try doing.

After lunch each day I will let my brain rest, allow my mind to wander.

And I’m also getting back to taking better care of my health.

Back in June I did a 30 day splits challenge, which sounds crazy but really it’s just a great stretching series.

So I’m starting it again in March as a daily reminder to take care of myself.

It’s like a Spring tune up!

And it’s necessary

Ayngelina Learning to Do the Splits in 30 days
Toward the end of my 30 day splits challenge

Over to you. How you are doing?

I would love to think that this crazy time we’re experiencing right now normalizes people sharing that they are not ok, or that they are struggling through some things.

Or maybe right now you’ve learned some things that would be helpful for people to watch, read or share.

Let me know in the comments below!

Join the Conversation

  1. It’s funny how sometimes the days all seem to blur together and then a month is gone! That’s how February seemed to me. I like your idea of a Spring tune up starting in March — new month, new goal. Thanks for sharing an inspiring post!

  2. I can’t believe it’s almost March. It seems like just yesterday I was gleefully anticipating Trump being evicted from the white house.

    Got to try and keep better track of what each day brings.

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      A friend of mine uses her daily planner not just for work but also tracking what she did, read etc and I like that idea.

  3. Bill MacDonald says:

    The whole Covid thing has caused me to re-evaluate my travel priorities. A lot of the more exotic things have been pushed off my list, while some domestic travel objectives have risen. To be specific, I’d like to spend significant time in Havana (have seen much of Cuba on self-drive tours, but want a more immersive experience) and a return to Scotland, especially Shetland, is right up there. Here in Canada, a motorcycle trip around Gaspé and maybe a boat excursion to Souris are hopefully in the cards. But I’ll play by the rules; if it doesn’t happen, so be it.

  4. Margarita Ibbott says:

    Wow, just wow. Great inspired post. You seemed to vocalize so many of the feels I’m experiencing myself.

    It’s 6:33 am and I too have decided to embrace the early morning work push. I’m taking an intense coaching course and training for a job that should roll out in the fall. Training starts now, however. Now I just have to incorporate more exercise and the occasional day trip.

    I appreciate your honesty and insight. Keep going.

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      Last night I looked back at my business plan and goals for Q1 and laughed. I’ve achieved a lot of it, but some was so unrealistic I don’t know what I was thinking. I wanted to produce 25 recipes in 3 months. That is NOT happening.

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