11 Dec Day 25 A Good Night’s Sleep
If I had choose one single factor that has the most influence over how I feel on a daily basis, it’s sleep. I don’t spend much time thinking about it until I go for a while without getting enough and then I must pause to kiss the ring of the awesome power of sleep. Today is one of those days.
Over the past few weeks I have been burning the candle at both ends and some days even the middle. Business is crazy busy, there are marketing deadlines and blog posts. The girls have class parties, field trips and school concerts. Oh and then there is this little thing called Christmas, which I love, but is kind of the cherry on top of my overwhelm – parties, gifts, teacher gifts, Christmas cards and those damn elves. Oye! There just aren’t enough hours in the day. To compensate I rob Peter to pay Paul. I stay up later and get up earlier, robbing myself of sleep.
This works for me for a little while and I actually feel like superwoman. I wonder why have I wasted so much time sleeping when I could be this productive??? The answer always comes, as it did this week. It comes in the form of exhaustion. It comes in the form of being short with my kids. It comes in the form of as Martha Beck says, “waking up looking like Voldemort’s love child.” That’s me. No eye cream in the world can compensate for lack of quality sleep.
The other thing I notice is that being tired affects my judgement. I can’t think as clearly, I forget things. I don’t make helpful decisions and more importantly, I don’t feel the joy. When I am continuously short on sleep my joy is what suffers the most. When I’m dragging, I am on autopilot. When I am on autopilot I am not tuned in. I don’t notice all of the details. I don’t see the beauty and the love that is in everything and I certainly don’t feel it. When I’m tired, I don’t feel like doing the things I love to do that give me joy. I’m too lazy or grumpy to read a magazine or paint. I’m too tired to eat healthy food so I eat junk and I’m too tired to go for a run so I watch TV. It becomes this snowball effect of yuck.
Yesterday I hit my threshold of yuck. I’ve been a zombie all week and I don’t feel like myself at all. So last night I pulled the plug.It is the reason I’m posting late today. Instead of staying up until midnight to write like I have been doing, I went to bed instead.
Today I literally feel like a different person! What a difference eight solid hours can make! Now, I’m sorry to say the Voldemort part is going to take a little longer to fix but today, my joy is back. Today autopilot is off and I am tuned in and grateful. I am so thankful to feel like myself again!!! If you are having trouble connecting to joy in your life start with looking at how much quality sleep you are getting. I would bet you are a little low.
My mom has this beautiful piece of art that she has had since I was a little girl called Desiderata. I will print the whole thing at the end of this post because it is deeply inspiring to me. The part I want to share with regard to this post is the line, “Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.” I think it is so true. When I’m tired, it is easy to feel hopeless like everything is a mess. When I am rested, I feel happier. I know one way or another everything will be okay.
Our lives are demanding. How capable we are of gracefully handling the demands is in direct proportion to how well we care for ourselves. Getting plenty of good quality sleep is an easy way to stack the deck in your favor. So when you are feeling tired, overwhelmed, stressed and joyless, sometimes the best thing you can do is sleep on it.
p.s. to see some great (and scientific) info about the importance of sleep and the source of my beautiful photo click here
Go placidly amid the noise and haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence.
As far as possible without surrender be on good terms with all persons.
Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even the dull and ignorant; they too have their story.
Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexations to the spirit.
If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain and bitter;
for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.
Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.
Keep interested in your career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.
Exercise caution in your business affairs; for the world is full of trickery.
But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals;
and everywhere life is full of heroism.
Especially, do not feign affection.
Neither be critical about love; for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment it is as perennial as the grass.
Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth.
Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with imaginings.
Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness. Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself.
You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars;
you have a right to be here.
And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.
Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be,
and whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul.
With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be careful. Strive to be happy.
© Max Ehrmann 1927