Hi, it's Squinky again. So, here's the thing: initially, I had been planning to write a blog post about one of our "One a Month" games that Allison alluded to a couple of weeks ago. Sadly, no matter how hard I tried, I just couldn't bring myself to focus well enough to do the topic justice. Instead, I'm going to talk about burnout.
You know that feeling you get when you just don't want to do anything, even stuff you know that you usually enjoy doing? When it feels like all the creative energy has been squeezed out of you, like a tube of toothpaste you've rolled up in an attempt to get the last tiny blobs out of? Sometimes, you can force yourself to persist, but sooner or later, your exhaustion catches up with you and you just can't anymore.
That's how I've been feeling these past couple weeks, and I hate it. Here in Montreal at least, the weather is getting colder and the days are getting shorter, which, without fail, means the inevitable onset of seasonal depression, no matter how much I try to intervene with artificial sunlight and exercise. Commitments I'm pretty sure I was able to handle just a month ago are now too overwhelming to even think about. As much as I really want to talk about the exciting projects we're doing, I can't make myself actually feel excited about any of them... at least not right now.
It's been drilled in us repeatedly that starting a new business is a lot of hard work with little to no return for our efforts, and that's especially true in the first year. And for all our optimistic intentions, as a worker co-op, in creating a space for ourselves to work sustainably, without the pressure of bosses breathing down our necks and forcing us to work long hours, the fact remains that the world out there is still a dystopian capitalist hellscape and we still have to keep up the hustle in order to survive.
Until the much-awaited revolution comes, however, we can at least try to mitigate the punishing effects of capitalism. We do whatever we can when we're able to, and when we're too exhausted to even, we try to stay communicative and accountable. I often feel ashamed of myself when I collapse and my teammates have to pick up the slack in my absence, but I also know I would be more than willing to do the same were the roles reversed, because I genuinely care about them as human beings and value them for more than their productivity. I'll admit, it's a lot harder to extend the same grace to myself, but I'm trying my best, as are we all.
As hard as it is to resist the pressures of hustle culture, the fact remains that none of us can do our best work unless we listen to our bodies and take the time to slow down and rest when we need to. Ultimately, as a co-op, we aim to run a business that is sustainable, which may sometimes mean re-evaluating some of our commitments and changing course accordingly. So while there's still a lot we're in the process of figuring out, workload-wise, the great thing about being our own bosses is that we're the ones who ultimately get to call the shots, so why not make it a priority to care for our whole selves?