Pretty vacant

February might mean that love is in the air (for those who are lucky enough to be wrapped in its warm, adoring embrace), but this is also the month when this wee one-woman enterprise always starts to run out of steam.

As the natural world suddenly springs into action with crocuses and daffs turning their radiant faces upwards to greet the watery winter sun, and families of house sparrows start ramping up chirpy chatter and birdy bustling about, I always fall into a seasonal slump. This ennui might not be visible to the outside world, or to my dear clients, but that’s only because I’ve become skilled at flicking the switch on to full beam when duty demands. But believe me, I slump right back to dipped headlamp status at clocking-off time.

It isn’t a slow down, exactly – my kind of self-employment can’t afford to take foot off the gas – more that I feel leaden and lacklustre. There’s nothing original or weird about feeling gubbed or a bit off the pace, indeed it’s par for the small business course, but the annual descent of the February fog is most inconvenient for me. Why? Because this time of year always has work stacked right up to the rafters.

I’ve had a few years in small business now, enough to see certain seasonal repeat patterns in my working world, so I know that despite a rammed diary, these are the pretty vacant weeks, mentally. Being mid-menopause doesn’t help either, but don’t get me started on that can of womanly worms. Try as I might, I just can’t get the fog to lift – and that’s despite rejoining a gym, drinking gallons of water and trying to catch plenty of zzzzzzs. In fact, if the pattern follows usual form, this world weariness will extend until late March, by which time I’ll be completely done in and desperate for a wee Easter break.

                                                                                                                                   Daffodil photo by Stewart Black on Flickr

I reckon this ground-down feeling is nothing more than overload and lack of daylight, and it’s hardly life or death stuff. Shame it coincides with clients trying to use up budgets before the year end, but that’s the way of my working world. Indeed you could argue that the cerebral side effects of an overflowing small business schedule present little more than wee first world problems. Still, these are problems with potential to grow. Given that the first world’s mental health seems to be on a slippery slope downwards, I’m mindful to be mindful of my own state of mind, and watch that my workload doesn’t send me over the edge. It doesn’t take much to switch exhaustion and overload into stress-related sickness, and that’s simply nae use in small biz, or indeed life.

As it is, stress is largely absent – I can’t find the energy for it in the midst of this mental mush. And although I’m currently feeling like a droopy daffodil, I’m just going with the foggy flow. Because just like the changing seasons, this pea-soup state of mind shall soon pass and brighter conditions will follow.