I am tired. I am so tired. I imagine all of you can relate. It's just years and years of sleep deprivation adding up to an overall lower energy level and slower pace of doing things. Which leads to more things not getting done, and then stress about those things not getting done. I thought I was used to it, and I was doing okay. But then when I ended up at the doctor's a couple of weeks ago, I realized that this is not right.
Some people like to be busy. I don't.
It's not like I want to do nothing. I mean, I work 32 hours per week, and I work out once a week, and I'm making a sweater, and I take Bean to swimming and Monkey to soccer and Hebrew school, and we plan play dates and go to birthday parties. I just finished preparing to host 9 people for Rosh Hashanah dinner, and I'm working on buying Chanukah presents and starting to think about Bean's birthday party (and my dad's birthday, and Halloween...).
And I like that stuff. But I also need my down time.
Sleep is part of it. I have been focusing on getting more sleep, aiming for at least 7 hours a night, and it does help. But it's not just that. I read somewhere (I have no idea where, so this may not be true) that while people have always needed about 8 hours of sleep, in the Victorian era, people also spent about 4 hours a day doing calm, leisurely things. I don't know what - needlepoint? writing letters? social calling? And while I can't imagine spending four hours on that, I do think it's what is really missing from my life. From the time I come home from work until I go to bed, the only time I sit down is when I'm eating dinner. There is never a moment when I'm not thinking about what needs to be done next. Weekends are the same - I might sit to watch Monkey's soccer game, or to talk to other parents at a birthday party. But I never just have time with nothing to do. And since there's always something more to do, I never really feel like everything has gotten done.
My sleep itself is probably not that restful, even, if I'm rushing from one thing to another, climbing into bed at 11, and then rushing to get moving again when my alarm goes off.
Sometimes, when I think about what's missing from my life, what I want most is to lie in bed with a book. (I also want nobody to steal the covers, but that's another story)
How can I fix this? We must all have this problem, right?
I have a few thoughts and things I'm working on:
- I must encourage/teach Monkey and Bean to do more things for themselves. Usually I'd rather do something myself than yell about it, but that's not proving to be a good long-term strategy.
- I need to look for a job closer to home. I've been doing that, with not much luck, but I do want to continue to focus on it. The commute is a huge part of what makes me tired and stressed!
- I am trying to go to bed earlier. Feeling more well-rested leads to being more efficient/neater when I'm awake, which leads to less stress and more free time.
- I am spending less time on Facebook. Reading my phone too much gives me a headache.
- I need to recognize how I am feeling and give myself permission to just rest sometimes. My health really is more important than the toys on the floor.
- I could also hire someone to clean the house once a month. For some reason, that feels like a ridiculous extravagance. But it would probably make a huge difference in my well-being. I did say in my last post that we were trying not to add extra expenses. Maybe I'll see how things continue to go financially for a few months and then revisit this. Because seriously, it might be the thing that would make the biggest difference.
What do you all do for yourselves to stay sane and relax?