I am sitting outside during this glorious Colorado day. My youngest is sleeping in the car after errands so I take a few moments for myself. What a treat to have a fresh wind, the warm sun and a gentle spirit of renewal in the air. The mountains are still snow capped and we have moved into the season of spring days bookended by snowstorms. The snow comes quickly, melts quickly and saturates our brown grasses in hopes of green May colors. This is also when my winter blues start to fade and hope sneaks into my heart ever so gently.
This past week I reflected that my winter blues seem heavier this year than previous years. Working night shift and sleeping very little during the day before and after a shift enhances the bluish hue in my mind and heart. I love working at night, but, news flash, I’m not as young as I used to be. My life is more clustered with responsibilities and agendas than it was when I was in my twenties. Finding the resiliency to get the to-do list done seems a bit harder lately.
I knew I needed to dialogue about this with my equally driven friend. As we enjoyed coffee this morning, we talked about simplicity and decluttering our lives, yet moving forward with our goals. We also talked about sleep. When people, like the two of us, are driven and goal oriented, sleep doesn’t seem as important. We can become so run down, almost to the point of shut down, before we go to bed early and unplug our alarm clocks. For me, the fear of decreased momentum shows up when I decide to take a day of rest. I fear that I might loose track and forget to accomplish something.
My other problem is that I want to be liked. I want to be successful in ALL my endeavors. Yet, two things happen when I don’t sleep. The first, I don’t like myself. The second, I don’t have the capacity to do one thing well, yet alone my entire list of goals. In my mind I may be loosing momentum, but taking a few years off my life due to the lack of sleep sounds way worse.
I have decided I need to build some sleep into my resiliency plan. My goals will only be as good as the energy I can put behind them. Choosing to sleep, thus improving my mental capacity, my concentration and my overall health, needs to be as important as the foods I put in my mouth and the exercise I choose to participate in. Sleeping more cannot be a sign of weakness in my life. It needs to be a sign of wisdom and strength.
This week, I am going to schedule sleep into my daily life. I will plan when I go to bed and when I will get up at least one day. I will plan it around what my body needs, not around my other goals. I want to see if one night of good sleep a week will increase a positive outlook around my future, provide momentum around my goals and increase my desire to speak kindly to myself.
How about you? How’s your sleep life? Do you need to sleep more so you are more likeable to yourself and everyone around you? Do you need to say “no” to something so you can rest? Or are you struggling to get out of bed every morning? Would a conversation with your doctor, therapist or good friend/loved-one be needed to acknowledge the “blues” you are experiencing and to get help?
Whatever your case might be, take some time to figure out what you need to do around sleep and make a plan to do it. It might just make some of us feel like we are still in our twenties…okay, a girl can hope, right!