I am so thankful that I have a job and one that I consider a passion rather than a job especially with the events of last year when so many things were up in the air and so many people were furloughed or laid off. I've been able to continue doing the thing that (outside of my husband and son) brings me so much joy, but at the same time, this last year kicked me and in ways I never could have imagined it would.

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I don't know about you, but the train didn't stop or slow down for me this last year, not even when I had COVID.  I might not have worked a full workday while I was sick, but I showed up (working from my bedroom in my pajamas) and the effort I put into my work made me feel like I'd put in a triple shift every single day.

I really didn't mind the craziness that the pandemic brought with it until I got COVID and then, it's like my brain literally stopped working. I could deal with all of the other medical crud, but struggling to form a coherent sentence not only from my mouth but from my brain to my pen to paper, was exhausting and I would get so tired just trying to think of the right way to string words together.

I'm coming up on my five month-anniversary of having COVID but there is one side effect that still lingers in a big way: brain fog along with the feeling of being overwhelmed even when I'm no more overwhelmed than I was this same time last year.

I find that when people talk about how the world is opening back up again and the train is picking up speed that I want to scream out, "the train never stopped speeding, you just got off it for a while while some people clung on for dear life trying to keep their jobs and others struggled to support their families when their jobs were taken from them" and then I get irrationally frustrated with people who think the last year was a scenic joyride. I am not that person and yet, here I am.

I like to think that a lot of us who have held on through the entirety of the pandemic feel this way because in a way it justifies my frustration with those who chose to get off the train (rather than those who were shoved off) for a stroll in the midst of the chaos and who sometimes fail to realize all of those who kept the world spinning. Hospital staff, retail employees, warehouse workers, food service personnel, truck drivers, broadcasters, public servants, government officials and so many, many others.

Speaking to me about my undying loyalty to the place at which I worked, I once had a boss tell me that in the end, it won't be my job at my funeral. It would be my family and friends. My job would one day replace me and not look back. My friends and family would walk through life by my side forever and that it was imperative that I get better at taking time for them and most importantly, myself.

If you haven't taken any downtime for yourself in the last year if you feel like you're on an out-of-control train, and if your company offers a sabbatical (and you can afford to take one) you might want to give it serious consideration. I know that sounds really scary given that so many employers are struggling to fill positions right now and if you take off, you're just going to be leaving them in a bigger bind, but what good are you to them or yourself if your mental health is in the tank? You can't give from an empty cup. Being a martyr to your job will not leave you with what truly matters in the end.

If you're looking for some really great advice about what a sabbatical is and how you should approach the idea of taking one, I highly recommend carving out a few minutes to read this.

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