Most people know that one side of the Temple of Apollo at Delphi had “Know Thyself” written over the main entrance. What most people don’t know is what they wrote over the back door: “Know Thy Limits.” The ancient Greeks were trying to warn us about hubris, dangerous pride and thinking ourselves gods. I like to think they also meant it in regards to overextension.
Creative burn out is a real thing. We talk a lot about word count and daily goals in writing and pursuing success in writing, but it’s important to know when to rest, when to recharge. Our creative batteries need a break, even when our creativity is our escape.
We’re in a time of political unrest, when it’s easy to let the news and the constant stream of input derail completely us. For me, I want to stay active, to call my representatives, to march, to donate where I can. Still, I must accept my limits. I have to know when to pull back and take some time for self-care before I burn out. It’s hard to balance it all, hard to have it all. Be active. Write. Do the work. It’s the only way out for me, but always know your limits and accept the damage done when you surpass them.
Give yourself permission to rest sometimes. You’re not a god. Give yourself permission to take the time out when you need it. Remember, it’s a marathon, not a sprint. Aim to win the long race.