Medicine for the mind

I’m on a train heading to Pennsylvania. We were stuck in New Jersey for an hour or so. Some complications with the power lines involving balloons, a parade, and people with too much alcohol in their blood in honor of St. Patrick. The ride takes 3.5 hours as is, so I’ve had more than enough time to contemplate what’s on my mind.

It’s been busy at work. Not just the actual labor; there was a lot of mental effort. We have a finite amount of energy each day, and we tend to underestimate how much of it we spend on things we don’t fully grasp. It’s one thing to evaluate a 3-hour project in terms of time and money, but how do you evaluate it in terms of mental energy? You can’t bullet-point energy units, and it can be difficult to know when you stopped autopiloting and wandered into brainstorming land. Comparing the mental “cost” of one project to another is hard as well; we don’t have a catalog explaining that “all projects in X category cost Y energy bottles.”

When we’re sick, we go see a doctor, get medicine, and take a day off of work. But when we’re mentally depleted we shrug it off and keep going. Why is a “mental day” considered a privilege still for most people?

I’m far from being the first one to ask such questions, but I realize I owe myself to ask them more often. I’m just tired. A bit of a rest, a walk in the sun, good music - and I’m recharged. Good to go. Medicine for the mind.

✴️ Also on

The Art Of Not Asking Why @jtr