Posts Tagged With: tired

The Thing You Do, But Can’t

windup_alarm_clockYou know that feeling when the alarm goes off at whatever-dark-thirty, you reach over to turn it off, and every muscle in your body protests? Or maybe it’s your throat which feels like it turned into sandpaper overnight. Or your voice has dropped an octave and breathing feels like how Darth Vader sounds. Sometimes you’ve simply run out of oomph and the fumes you were running on have disappeared. You know that feeling.

Yup, that one.

Most days you just power through whatever aches your body normally carries. The constant twinge in your back, or the arthritic beginnings in your fingers, maybe a sore ankle from a decades old break or sprain, the hip that grinds away at your energy, a shoulder strain that needs surgery which you’re resisting; these are simply daily companions you’ve grown accustomed to, right?

You go through your ritual of stretching, steaming the aches awake in the shower, taking some over the counter mostly-placebo. And of course, mentally, whether you know it or not, you give yourself the pep talk, the “people are counting on me” speech, the everything-will-go-to-hell-in-a-hand-basket if I’m not there reminder.

Then you go, and you do. Whatever. It. Takes.

You get through it. You do it.

But some mornings, life throws on a few extra weights, like a cold, or the flu, or simply utter exhaustion from doing The Thing You Do day in and day out without ever really regrouping.

The Thing You Do: running a business, being the mom, school or college, caring giving to a loved one, training,  employment, volunteering, being the dad, driving the kids, getting to an appointment, attending an event, the endless list. It’s probably not just The Thing singular, it’s probably plural. In fact, it’s rare if it’s one Thing.

Somedays you gotta call it done before you ever get out of bed. But you can’t. Because you’re the only parent. You’re the only caregiver. You’re the ONE everyone counts on.

So you drag yourself to the shower, drag yourself through the pain, take a little more over the counter whatever might help and chase it down with extra caffeine and hope your can get through until it’s okay to call it bedtime.

If you have a back up person to call, now is the time to call them. If you can call in sick, this would be the day for that. If you don’t have any backup then you power on unending Netflix streaming for the littles and leave cereal and sippy cups out on the table and attempt to sleep on the couch or floor between requests for every little thing. It’s a sad picture of you with kleenex stuffed up your nostrils and the mangy robe wrapped around your aching, worn down, sleep-deprived body.

Now is a great time for prayer. And tears. Tears are good and cleansing and cathartic. Crying while praying can help a lot. Or it can make your nose clog up even more and maybe give you a bad headache to add to the other crud you’re dealing with.  And then you might end up feeling mad at God for not healing you instantly and maybe even blame him for feeling worse. Don’t do that part. That is not helpful.

If someone asks the unanswerable question: “Is there anything I can do to help?” don’t you dare answer with that wimpy, ridiculous reply: “Oh, I’m fine. I can handle this myself.”

That’s just nonsense.

Tell them, “Yes, as a matter of fact there is something you can do to help!!”

Pick something. Anything.

  • Wash, dry and fold a load of laundry? Yes, please.
  • Bring over a steaming pot of some delicious soup? Absolutely.
  • Chocolate? Of course.
  • Vacuum the floors? Amen.
  • Wash up the dishes? Bless you for your offer to help me.
  • Do a grocery run for a few basics? Wonderful.
  • Babysit the kids for a few hours of uninterrupted sleep? What a saint.
  • Take out the garbage? Hallelujah!
  • Stay with this person while I take a time out? Glorious.

I’m sure you could add other things you wish a lovely house elf or sparkly fairy or magical unicorn would swoop in and take care of.

Guess what?

Other human beings are the real elves, fairies and unicorns of our lives.

We should all have a list like that already made up for the inevitable day that LIFE hits the fan and the blowback is too much to handle. In fact, we could have each to-do item written on a card, like an emergency contact, and ask the semi-committed volunteer to select a card. Then you’re not even really asking but merely fulfilling their wish to be helpful. Is that an amazing plan, or what?

Not that I’d do that. Ever.

I hate asking for or needing help. I just want to be an independent island nation, completely self-sufficient and proud. Letting people help me makes me feel like a loser.

Right? Isn’t that why we say, “I’m fine, I don’t need anything,” even though we’re hanging on by our fingernails to the last frayed end of the rope with the wick of the candle burnt all the way through from both ends to the middle? (pick your metaphor)

But I’m not a loser if I need help. I’m just a human. And so are you.

Don’t you sometimes offer to help someone if they need something and they answer with that silly “Oh, I’m fine” nonsense? Don’t you wish they’d actually let you help? You don’t think they’re a loser, do you? Nope.

Alrightythen.

800px-bed_in_seattle_hotel

Photo by Liz Lawley.

If you hit that wall. If you can’t do another freaking day of The Thing without a break, a rest, a respite, a me-day, a mental health break, then dang it, ask for help from wherever you need to. Call in, step away, turn off the phone, text, email, voice in your head. Take a day for you, to heal, to rest, to be.

 

I give you permission. The universe gives you permission. Actually, you don’t really  need permission. Just take care of yourself and let others help take care of you, even if it’s just you venting to them about the weight on your shoulders and in your heart.

Do it.

Just skip doing The Thing You Do for one day. Just rest.

Best wishes from a fellow human who occasionally needs people and rest just like  you.

Now I’m off to do The Thing I Do until the day I can’t.

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Categories: Being Human, Mental Health, physical health | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Is It Just Me?

Is it just me or have things gotten a bit foggy?

Fog

Maybe I’m not getting enough sleep, but I don’t think that’s it. I just seem slightly off kilter, kind of how you feel during those first few stumbling minutes after extricating yourself from the tangle of sheets and the magnetism of the pillow. Except I’m that way all day long.

In fact, my personal dialog after regaining some form of consciousness in the morning usually goes something like this:

“Can I work a nap into my day? How soon? Can it start now? Maybe I can call in sick today? Is there anything in my life more important than sleep?”

Even after a shower and all the getting ready for the day, including fluffing my hair and getting my game face on, I just want to fall face first into the pillow and pass out.

I don’t think I can blame it on a seasonal change thing, or a time change thing, because A) we don’t do the time zone change thing here in Arizona and B) it’s now the glorious weather season when being outdoors isn’t toxic to our health. If anything I’m getting outdoors more now than in the past eight months.

The days are shorter, I’ll grant you that. Sunrise at 6:40ish and sunset at 5:30ish. That’s ony eleven hours, less than half a day of full on sunshine. And I’m not a fan of darkness. Not a fan at all. I sleep with at least four lights on in the house, that’s how much a fan I’m not.

A Charlie Brown Christmas

Maybe it’s the onslaught of the shopping season. Notice I didn’t say Holidays, or site any other holiday at all. I walked into several stores yesterday and found myself immediately and definitively assaulted by REDandGREENandSPARKLEandCINNAMONandHOLIDAYMUSIC. For Pete’s sake it’s only November! I felt like Charlie Brown walking past Snoopy’s dog house decked out in ridiculous, nonsensical outlandish overkill.

“Oh, brother,” I said, shaking my head and leaving the store as quickly as possible. I did not want to shop, I did not want to find a sale, I did not want to spend my money there. I know, you think I’m a Scrooge. Maybe I am. Bah.

But I don’t think that explains the foggy brain either.

Yes, the month is busy, but it’s a happy busy.

Maybe it’s a good thing I’m taking a much needed, but very rare, break this weekend. Yup, I’m getting my vacation on. Living la vida loca!  Becoming a wild woman.

Well, probably not all that wild. If you define wild as going for a hike, walking the rocky shore of a lake, sitting on the patio watching the sunset, simmering in a hot tub watching the steam rise into the below freezing air, then yeah, I’ll be a wild woman. Maybe I’ll return all “bright-eyed and bushy-tailed” as my Dad used to say.

Hammock - Polynesia.

If that doesn’t do the trick at lifting this fog then I’m in deep trouble.

Maybe I should just give in to that siren call of a nap. What harm could twenty or thirty minutes do? It’d probably be just what I need. Maybe it’s as simple as that.

I think I’ll book myself a little trip to dreamland and see what happens.

Categories: Mental Health, Wondering | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Best Cure for Insomnia

It’s Gratituesday! Today I’m infinitely grateful for that glorious elixir called sleep. It’s the cure of many ills, both physical and emotional. Sleep can turn a cranky toddler into a happy child or transform a short temper into patience. Enough sleep can make the difference between overwhelmed and empowered.

A couple of fluffy pillows is all I need!

A couple of fluffy pillows is all I need!

Oh, I know it isn’t that simple. But sometimes it is. Sometimes all it takes is a nap, or a full night of uninterrupted dreaming. Sometimes calling it a night is the best answer to any problem we face.

Sometimes sleeping in heals our brain fuzz. The fog lifts and what was indecipherable and impossible becomes doable and understandable.

An entire book, a classic, exists based on the idea of one man’s sleep deprivation adventures. Have you ever heard of Don Quixote? Here’s the part of the book where I wanted to cry because I’ve almost been like that a time or two.

“Finally, from so little sleeping and so much reading, his brain dried up and he went completely out of his mind.” — Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra

Running on the fumes of not enough rest can render us nearly mad and fairly ineffective or even nonsensical.

I’m a big fan of naps. Not long ones. Usually. Twenty minutes with my pillow are often all I need to regenerate and get through the rest of the day. Although yesterday I left the alarm off and let myself sleep nearly two hours. Surprisingly I dreamed a vivid, colorful, creative, restful dream in a sleep that left me feeling awake and not groggy or drugged or foggy.

This quote by Rita Rudner makes me laugh.

“I love to sleep. Do you? Isn’t it great? It really is the best of both worlds. You get to be alive and unconscious.”

Ernest Hemingway shared this same love of sleep, albeit for different reasons I suspect, based on these two telling sentences.

“I love sleep. My life has the tendency to fall apart when I’m awake, you know?”

Sleeping like a baby is an oft misunderstood phrase. Babies, esp. newborns wake up crying every two hours to be fed.All. Night. Long.

Sleeping like a baby is an oft misunderstood phrase. Babies, esp. newborns wake up crying every two hours to be fed.All. Night. Long.

I’d like to think I’m less self-destructive than he was when I’m awake. Although I wouldn’t mind being as prolific and talented a writer as that guy. There are days, especially the sleep-deprived ones when I think I should have stayed home, away from civilized people and kept my rude, aggravated, bleary-eyed self out of trouble.

I’ve often wondered why we sleep a full third of our lives. I’ve yet to come up with a good answer for that. I’ve concluded that being human is an odd thing. That’s all. Nothing profound.

If you want profound look to some spiritual leader like the Dalai Lama XIV who said the following:

“If you think you are too small to make a difference, try sleeping with a mosquito.”

Who knew those guys could be funny as well as wise, huh?

Here’s one more funny guy with his thoughts on sleep.

“The best cure for insomnia is to get a lot of sleep.” – WC Fields

My favorite thought on sleep was one that made the rounds on the internet recently. In fact, I think I need to get a t-shirt with these very words printed on it.

“I already want to take a nap tomorrow.”

Ah, sleep, I love thee dearly.

Categories: Gratitude, Gratituesday, Humor | Tags: , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

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