Sooo tired

I know that most of us can relate to the title of this post. And today is Sunday, when I customarily take a nap.

I have taken a lot of naps lately. Mostly on the couch at night while my husband and I are watching a TV show. Even on shows that I’m interested in, I find myself “resting my eyes.” John laughs and says, “Yeah, right.” I have been so tired that I sleep through parts of my favorite shows.

Yesterday we went to see “The Wall,” a movie that’s a fantasy about The Great Wall of China; it stars Matt Damon. As soon as we got to the theater, I sensed I was in trouble. We watched the previews, and I struggled to stay engaged. Then the movie began, and … I slept. Even with a hyper 10-11-year-old sitting beside me. He and his friend kept talking and I started to tell them to shush, but suddenly I didn’t care. I fell asleep.

I woke up about 20 or so minutes into the movie. I hadn’t figured out that Matt Demon was in the movie, and I didn’t recognize him until someone told him and his companion to go clean up, that they smelled like animals. Boy, I must have been out of it, because normally he is one of my favorite actors.

So today I took a cherished Sunday afternoon nap. I wasn’t feeling well, and I conked out. About an hour later, I heard quick footsteps walking around upstairs. I looked over and John was still in bed, so I woke him (not smart) and said, “Who’s that upstairs?” It was our daughter. She had come by our house to get her computer today, even though she came by yesterday afternoon for the same reason (and forgot what she came for).

I came upstairs bleary-eyed and said, “Well, hi, what are you doing here?”

I think that part of why I am napping so much lately is that I haven’t been sleeping well at night. I have an autoimmune disorder that causes my feet to swell and skin to itch…and just general joint discomfort. On a good night, I wake up only once, go to the bathroom about 3:00 a.m., and catch about 2.5 hours more of sleep. On a bad night, I wake up multiple times or I don’t fall back asleep. One day a couple of weeks ago, it got so bad ┬áin the midafternoon at work that I took out my yoga blanket, folded it up like a pillow, got down on the floor under my desk, and napped for about 10 minutes. I was able to focus after that. (This is the first time in my 37 years of working that I’ve actually given in and taken a nap at work.)

I think my mind and body are tired from my weird diseases but mostly from grieving over my dad. I started sleeping with my daughter’s teddy bear about 2 weeks ago, and it feels good to have it to hug. Maybe I’m grieving the empty nest (though I longed for it to get here, it hit about the same time as my dad’s decline) and my dad at the same time. Who knows. I am grateful to be able to get up every day and walk. Keep on walking; keep on moving; take a nap when your body tells you you need to. (I can always put my head down and say, “Amen” and maybe people will think I’m praying. :D) That’s my theme.

 

Finding Time for Rest

A post by my friend Doug Hagler (at icanhasgrace.com) got me to thinking about the importance of finding regular time for rest. That’s challenging in a busy life, but it is so crucial to one’s mental, spiritual, emotional, and physical well-being.

Here are some things that have worked for me:

1. Spend time in nature, even if it’s just for 5 or 10 minutes a day. Nature has a healing effect on my psyche. Hearing birds sing is music to my soul. Seeing a beautiful sunset (or on rare occasions, sunrise) both calms and awes me. Smelling flowers (yes, I take time to smell the roses) brings back childhood memories, which are quite pleasant for me. (I am blessed.)

2. Make time for yourself every day. Every day. Even if it’s only to read a quick story, lie down for 10 minutes, look at art you enjoy, or to take a short walk.

3. Find things you enjoy that renew you. For me, writing in my journal is therapeutic, though I haven’t made time for that in several months. Sometimes I enjoy writing a letter to a friend or relative. I love to dabble with art. I have found that painting ceramics (when I can set aside time and money to do so) slows me down and helps me feel like I’ve been on a minivacation. As a lover of words, I’m renewed by reading poetry, especially if it’s Robert Frost or Maya Angelou or Ogden Nash or Kahlil Gibran.

4. Take time to laugh every day. Sometimes I read e-mail jokes I’ve been saving for a while. My husband and I watch a funny TV show nearly every day. We tend to like intense, dramatic shows like NCIS…but to balance that, we try to find something that makes us laugh. We enjoy “Big Bang Theory,” “The Middle,” and “How I Met Your Mother.” When we’ve seen all of the episodes we’ve recorded, we find ourselves going back continually to “Everybody Loves Raymond.”

5. Pay attention to your spiritual health. Sometimes I go for days without pausing to pray, and I catch myself. No wonder I’m feeling like the weight of the world is upon my shoulders! I try to spend a few minutes every day in quiet. It is during those times that I feel my soul take a deep breath…and I may even sense God speaking to me.

6. Exercise, exercise, exercise. It gets those endorphins flowing. I do best when I exercise with friends…I have a group of walking buddies, and we walk 3-4 days a week (on good weeks) at lunchtime. I’m trying to get back into yoga after several months of hiatus. That really pushes me, and at my age, I need a good physical challenge.

7. Look at your schedule for the next week. What events have you put on your calendar? Is it absolutely critical that you do every activity? Will anyone die if you don’t attend one of them? Do you have too many back-to-back activities that keep you out late at night and reduce your time for sleep?

8. Listen to your body. Pay attention to any signs of trouble, such as a persistent ache or changes in your bowel habits. Make an appointment with your doctor if you consistently feel run-down.

9. Let some things slide. Okay, so you missed exercising several days in a row, or you overate, or your house is a wreck. Give yourself some grace. You can start again tomorrow.

10. Take naps whenever possible. Revel in the luxury of napping while the rest of the world goes on. Get yourself a sleep mask to shut out day light, and use ear plugs to keep noises in your environment from interrupting you.

Nothing earth-shattering here. Find what works for you, and just do it.