I can't speak of Mike's difficulties, but mine have come in the form of stolen time. At present, my life is a highly scheduled existence that bounces back and forth between work hours, trade shows, and summer teaching. Throw in meal planning, errand running, exercising, financial watchfulness, and Merry Maid duties, and I've got enough time leftover to sleep.
While part of my hectic schedule is mostly inevitable and partially self-inflicted, I came to this should-have-been-obvious conclusion recently:
I have a lot of time by myself, but not a lot of time for myself.
When there's so much to do, it's ridiculously easy to lose track of yourself. You sacrifice your need for relaxation and fun ahead of required to-do lists. But this only creates stress, resentment, and a permanent frown.
For me, it's predictably resulted in a rebellious body - aches, fatigue, no weight loss, allergies/stuffy noses, and migraines. All that little physical stuff that slowly chips away at your sanity.
It all came to a head last weekend. I was supposed to be attending a special wedding for dear friends. Instead, I got my third migraine three weeks in a row. I have never in my life missed a wedding due to illness. I cannot convey how crappy it feels when you really want to go see someone's nuptials but have to acquiesce to your body's demands instead.
I knew this first half of the deployment was going to be tough. The front end was loaded with almost every weekend reserved for business travel or social visits. Barely any downtime was built into the schedule.
I'm an on-the-go person. Busy suits me, it always has. Busy is also helpful during deployments, acting as a distraction and a way to hopefully speed up the time. But life is all about balance and I become resentful when every moment is scheduled and there's no time for spontaneity. Busy people know that their Achilles heel is becoming too busy.
<raises a guilty hand and looks sheepish>
I am superbly thankful that I have a weekend free of schedules. Not free of to-do lists, but I actually have time to clean and organize. Anything I can do to right the course of a messy apartment will easy my mind greatly. And I have several good books I can tackled in between cleaning tasks, as well as Prometheus waiting for me at the theater as a reward.
I am also going to burn a vacation day here shortly. I've barely touched them this year and I can tell I definitely need a break from work. I also know a day off will be crucial before I hit July-August, in which I'll be teaching two classes in addition to work.
The middle of a deployment is nothing like cresting the top of a hill and speeding down the other side. It's more like being in the middle of a field after hours of walking and thinking about how far you've come, only to realize how far there is to go.
What do you to do force/schedule yourself to relax?