On Stepping Back and Shutting Off

I am of the belief that there are different levels of tired.  At the bottom is the kind of tired that falls upon us after a poor night’s sleep or a particularly busy day.  As you move up, the levels get more intense.  There are levels that come when those sleepless nights have started to pile up, when life is hitting us extra hard, and when our health is poor.  And, of course, there is level that one might reach when many of things collide.

Given that I’ve had chronic insomnia and poor sleep since puberty, I’m used to the low-grade levels of tired.  I live in them.  It’s my normal and I’ve made peace with that.  Sometimes, though, my level rises and I know I need to permit myself some extra care and rest.  Generally, it’s dealt with quickly and I return to my norm.  But, lately, that hasn’t been working.

I am tired.  Like, really tired.

josh on beach black and white

My body is okay – better than okay, actually.  Running still feels good.  I don’t have any weird aches or pains, but as for my brain?  Well, that’s a different story.  I’ve been the kind of tired that I most feel in my head.  I’ve been feeling scattered.  I have trouble focusing on things.  I’m quick to be irritated (okay, I may be quick to be irritated most of the time anyway).  And, my creativity is waning.

This is all stuff I don’t like one bit.  Nope.  Not a fan of it at all.

This is also why I’ve only posted a few times over the last month.  Such minimal blogging isn’t my norm and I know it won’t become my norm – but it may be one temporary part of giving myself a bit of much needed down time.

I know that one of the major causes of my current funk is my state of chronic busyness.  I am always busy and my mind is always racing.  I jump from a full day’s work to a workout to my second job to cooking meals to blogging to running errands to appointments to housework and so on – with little time to just stop and breathe.  Some of this is absolutely necessary (work and more work) and some of it is self-induced (me trying to squeeze in the activities that actually bring me joy and satisfaction) and some of it is just, well, dumb (me believing that I always have to be multitasking – one project at a time is never good enough).

So, in light of all this, I’m trying a few things to take a little better care of myself, get my spark back, and clear my head.  They include:

  1. Shutting off/Disconnecting – I’m sure I’m not the only one who feels constantly tied to an electronic device.  Frankly, I love them but sometimes they’re draining.  Between two computer-heavy jobs, blogging, and general news and communication, I too often am staring a screen.  This is why my blogging has been a bit less lately – I need a little break from those screens right now.  And, maybe I won’t read ALL the news of the world and it will still be okay.   
  2. Less multi-tasking – Building off of #1 above, I am always juggling multiple things, taking in and shooting out information and energy from a variety of sources.  I am really feeling the need to ease up on this.  It’s good to give one project (and only one project) my attention sometimes.  And if that means something else has to wait a while, that will just have to work itself out.
  3. Re-prioritizing – Often in my brain EVERYTHING IS SO IMPORTANT.  But, really, it’s not.
  4. Being kind to myself – Oh, I’m so bad at this.  So very bad.  I expect way more out of myself than I would ever expect out of others, setting high expectations and then becoming angry when I don’t always meet them.  This is an ongoing project.  If you have tips, I’m happy to hear them!
  5. Allowing space for nothing – This is also extremely difficult for me.  If I sit and do ‘nothing’ for even 30 minutes, I generally become anxious, thinking about what needs to be done and feeling lazy for doing those things.  Recently, I’ve been trying to put everything else away and either enjoy a television show that makes me laugh or lose myself in a book (I read often – but generally on the bus, while eating, or waiting for something – rarely just any old time of day).  These are simple pleasures that help me unwind and disconnect and I’m trying to remember that they are just as valuable to my life as finishing the next task.

What I won’t change is finding small spaces for the things that already work to rejuvenate me – running, connecting with you all kind people, enjoying a nice meal with others.  These things are keepers.

So, this is my plan, friends.  I’m feeling optimistic about it and am hoping that it will help me get my mojo back (Yes – I did just say that.  Give me a break, please, I’m tired!)