Sooooo very tired.
I know. You are, too.
So let’s talk about that for a minute!
First, a little preview of why I’m tired…
Not many people know what kind of schedule I keep. Most have absolutely no clue how busy a person can really be, and I hope they never have to know first-hand!
If you see me out, and I’m on my phone, I’m probably not just scrolling through FB. More often than not, I’m checking my schedule to make sure I’m not missing an appointment with a client. Or I’m texting or emailing a yoga client about something physically or emotionally that has come up for them or about a safer way to get into a pose during their home practice. I might be planning a class or developing a new herbal blend recipe or studying. Or maybe I’m checking in with my parents to be sure a child is not forgotten at church or school or basketball. Perhaps I’m adding one of my kiddos practices or events on my calendar.
I am a new small business owner, student, overnight caregiver, and most importantly Mom.
I have enough so much to do, with no exaggeration, I can easily fill every minute of 24 hours a day 7 days a week with responsibility.
And I do. Often.
There isn’t anything I mentioned above that I’m willing or able to give up right now, so I’m on a mission to eliminate any other thing that doesn’t serve me well and help me find rest.
Not only do I want to heed God’s calling to help others bring healing into their lives through the use of yoga, I want to do so fully as possible, so I continue to study. He called me onto this path years ago, and I put Him off until He would no longer allow me to ignore Him. He opened up ways to make it possible and offered ways to help me overcome my fears.
However, I have no choice financially. I must work as many hours as possible, through a paying employer. Currently the studio doesn’t bring in enough to cover bills. As a single mom who has since 2010, four hours per week co-parenting assistance and extremely minimal financial assistance even with judgments in place, it’s on me to be present and to pay medical bills (past and present). It’s up to me to make sure extracurricular activities such as basketball and church youth trips are made possible. I also personally cover costs of studio scholarship students, so nobody is ever turned away from yoga because of their own financial difficulties.
My studio and caregiver schedules are set up so I’m as available to my kids as possible.
When my daughter has needed me for various reasons, I have been able to move private yoga clients into another time slot with ease. If my grandson needs to be picked up from daycare, I can make myself available without much worry. I take a few hours off every afternoon to pick up my son from school to spend quality time with him, and I have the ability to cancel or change studio classes to accommodate his schedule should he have a basketball game or other event.
Caregiving is a bit more challenging to fully create my own schedule. I work overnights only, and with enough notice, I can request days off. The decision to accept this job came having briefly discussed, at his level of comprehension, financial needs with young teen son and allowing him to offer insights. He was given permission to tell me when he most needed me home. Since he is asleep, he said, he needs me less during the night and wants me home more during the day. We’ve created an emergency list of trusted neighbors, friends, and family that he keeps close during my nightly absences. And we have German Shepherds on site that will alert our whole neighborhood should anyone even try to enter our yard without permission.
We also have learned to rely on friends to help with ballgame transportation if I have a shift that calls me away. While it breaks my heart to sometimes miss his games, I take comfort in knowing he’s not missing out on his passion! For his practices and on church nights, my dad helps with transportation as needed.
I cringe bringing up household responsibility. Since we moved into the house 15 years ago or so, all responsibility has fallen solely on me. I admit I’m years behind, and only now learning to request help. I’m trying to be gentle on myself, remembering one person alone can only do so much. I get to my laundry and toilets and de-cluttering as I’m able. We always have clean clothes, but often they’re living on the couch instead of in their drawers and closets. If my son wants something in particular washed and ready to wear for the next day, it is done. We don’t live in filth as I despise a dirty bathroom, bedroom, and kitchen. My carpet, however, has recently been ruined and officially needs to be replaced. I’ll find a way to make that happen as soon as possible. There is also too much stuff collected over the years. Material items that need to be gotten rid of and boxes of memorabilia I need to either organize or toss. Again, I admit, this is a most difficult task for reasons I won’t go into now. Because the house doesn’t get the attention I wish it did, I only allow in a very trusted few who have proven they’ll never judge our mess.
My schedule also makes it nearly impossible to meet new people and to form real connections. I find myself lacking intimate personal relationships as most peoplecannot comprehend I’m not exaggerating when I say I don’t have time or I need to stay home with my son. I’m too exhausted to explain anyone into understanding, and quite frankly too exhausted to care when they don’t. I’m not one for games, hook ups or any other nonsense, so those types of folks get weeded out of my small social circle quite quickly. I don’t have time for that and feel no need to waste anyone else’s. Female friends have always been few … for various reasons, but not due to lack of effort on my part to be kind and supportive. I have, however, just last night realized my efforts to offer compassion and love to other women are too often in vain, and I should stop expending energy trying to be female friendly, offering unsolicited socialization. This makes me feel sad.
Needless to say, there is very little true emotional support to be had, no matter how much I try to offer others, so I carry loads of burdens alone, more than anyone cares to know. I rely on God to know my heart and to carry me through. I trust from previous experience that no matter how badly I want to give up, He’s got me, but in exhaustion I tend to forget, feeling totally alone and isolated.
For too long I believed the only way to get everything done is to sacrifice sleep. It took me too long to realize it is O.K. to ask for help, and even longer to allow myself to receive it. Fortunately, I have wonderful parents who continuously offer help financially and in raising my kids. I have a God who is already making sure all is well when I see no possible way. I am continuously discovering which friends are true and who’s not strong enough to be in my life. People walk in and out so much my head spins. When those who leave return, I wonder why. I suppose they’re hoping things are different. They would be right – things ARE different! Once someone walks out of my life, I rarely allow them back in fully. I remain on guard, knowing I’ve lost trust and respect for them. I don’t take relationships of any kind lightly, and I’m wondering now if perhaps it’s time to exchange the rotating door to one that shuts tight and locks.
I’m all about forgiveness, but my attitude has come to this – If I’ve offered you my time, time I have especially created for you, know it’s because I have faith in you, that I appreciate you, and that I somehow need and want to be in your presence because it is good for my soul and I want mine to be good for yours, too. Because my schedule is so hectic and I’m so worn out, I need people around who offer stability and consistency. This, to me, is most beneficial as I search for true rest.
So let’s get to that …
I find that when I’m lacking sleep, I cannot comprehend or stay focused to study or plan yoga sessions. I can’t think of everyday words like dishwasher or refrigerator. I cannot remember to pay bills, and I’m afraid I will miss appointments. I become irritable and frustrated, especially with myself, and I beat myself up for all my life’s failures. I become jealous of those who have partners to help them with everyday living, and I get angry listening as healthy people living moderate to high class lifestyles complain about how miserable their lives are. I become more sensitive than I am naturally, and my hurt feelings can feel more like devastation. I don’t care about eating and fall prey to eating disordered behaviors the more exhausted I become. I fall easily into recurrent episodes of Mono.
Unfortunately, the more weary I become, the more easily I find myself in a vicious cycle of even more unrest, anxiety and depression me as I struggle with guilt and frustration of not being able to handle everything on my own.
It is not unusual for me to be awake for 36 hours or more with no sleep at all, but I’m seriously trying to change this. For most people this natural, basic right to human life is something that out of necessity – out of pure desperation – I have begun implementing into mine as a practice. A practice just like yoga, meditation, or playing the flute when I was younger – as that might be an example that makes more sense to most.
First, I’ve had to give myself permission to rest. Sounds crazy, huh? Permission to rest? Oh yes. Without permission, I believe there is no time for rest. My most precious people will tell you how often I have said “I’ll rest when I die.”
Well, I’ve finally come to the realization that lack of rest will kill me. If not physically, certainly mentally.
In addition to permission, I’ve begun implementing new Ayurveda practices into my daily routine as recommended by doctors and practitioners with whom I study. Some I already knew of and tried here and there, but never really imagined would make much of an impact. Now I humbly admit I’ve been wrong! Some Ayurveda practices are brand new and fascinating, giving me renewed excitement to explore more deeply! Of course, I continue with my yoga and meditation practices, too, as they have shifted into a new direction. There is a new layer of depth and understanding that these tools are my lifeline, directly related to my spiritual life and my well being. I have always known that, but there is something very different now. Something I can’t explain.
As this all becomes more fully integrated on a cellular level, my taste for and urge to drink pot of coffee after pot of coffee is becoming an impossible task. After years of coffee caffeine dependence, my body will now only allow me to drink a few cups a day. I know I’m done when my coffee tastes disgusting and I feel nauseated. At that point, I am unable to force it down, and unable to have any more during that day. At first this scared me, even though I know the present damage to my adrenals this addiction has caused. Now, though, I’m looking forward to actually enjoying a cup of coffee, instead of needing it for basic survival! I was just re-introduced to an an acquaintance from a lifetime ago who is now a local coffee hobbyist. I’m excited to connect with him, try his coffee and perhaps share some with my non-tea-sipping friends with a helping of meaningful conversation. Who knows, if I love it, you may see it on the studio’s shelves along with my herbal tea blends! I do love supporting people in their passion!
Whether I’m preparing to lie down to rest in the morning after an overnight shift or after a long day, I keep my “it’s time to sleep now” routine the same. This may seem redundant and unnecessary, especially on nights I’m home, but for me it has become imperative. My brain is adjusting and beginning to respond well to a routine that says it’s time to start settling down. I look forward to my nightly herbal blend. It contains an adaptogen which can carries me through the night if I’m working or provides the power to beat insomnia on my nights off. This blend also sustains me by easing and calming my mind and contributing beneficially to my female hormonal health.
I’ve also been finding ways to reduce stress and overwhelm and to open up more time for productivity since my working hours have been reduced and replaced by rest. One of the most effective ways I’ve found is to greatly reduce social media time. I would consider giving it up altogether, except I need it for business purposes. I do love to brag about my kids and my grandson, to rejoice in my friends’ happy moments and to pray for those in need. Social media is also an effective way for me to use my naturally very shy voice my, using personal experiences as a way to raise awareness for causes that are deeply meaningful for me. So long as I know people are finding those types of posts helpful, I will probably continue on, and trust those who don’t like them will scroll on by or delete me from their account.
I’ve not been on Instagram in forever, and since the purchase of a new phone, I have been without FB Messenger. Whoa. Who knew that just the elimination of FB Messenger would make my life feel more at ease?! While the FB app was pre-installed on said new phone, I’m not so sure I’ll keep it, as I find it all too easy to want to escape my life for a while by scrolling through my feed. Hours can go by before I realize it and I’ve failed to get an assignment or lesson plan prepared or I should have been in bed long ago. Then guilt arises – and self-loathing – especially if my inner Critic has gone into major overdrive and I begin comparing myself to others “more successful” than I! I forget sometimes during severe exhaustion that most people’s lives are not really so Picture Perfect Instagram Worthy.
Another thing I’ve found to be useful to reduce stress and for sound sleep is to shut off my phone Wi-Fi before lying down. Not only does this reduce temptation to social media scroll, but I’m not tempted to check email or the studio scheduler. I set an alarm to wake one hour prior to some class times, as that is when registration for classes ends. An hour gives me an appropriate amount of time to gather myself and my things needed for class, provided I have no trouble getting up from my slumber. I admit, hitting snooze is a lifelong favorite thing to do. I have always had sleep troubles. I have never felt fully rested when it’s time to wake. It’s the most difficult part of the day, and I’ve never comprehended the mindset of these wonderful morning people types!! Since making changes this past month or so, though, I’ve had a few days recently of feeling ready to rise and excited to get going with daily tasks instead of greeting the outside of my bed with dread! OK…I may be too excited about this new experience, but I do not apologize!
As I’m Mom above all else, I do not like to be far from my phone in case one of my babies needs me! But anytime I hear a notification ding, for any reason, I am unable to keep from checking to see what it is. Since I’ve been carrying a cell phone, I’ve only ever had a handful of true emergencies that needed my absolute immediate attention. So, now I keep all notifications turned off no matter the time of day – except for my kids, my eight grader’s school, my grandson’s daycare, my parents, and one precious friend whose schedule is as complicated as mine and this is the only way I currently have offer a best effort to stay connected.
My newest experiment to make better use of time is establishing one or two set times a day for checking email, FB messages, voicemail, etc – and tending to them then instead of checking periodically to be sure nothing is super important (it never is), hoping I’ll remember to come back to respond later, forgetting, remembering, and then having to spend even more time explaining what I had done and apologizing for my delayed response.
These all seem like simple things, don’t they?
For some reason, they are tough for me. As I practice eliminating what creates chaos in my life, I feel my natural tendency toward anxiety is alleviated. With these changes, I am still “in the know”, but only when I choose to be. I don’t feel like I’m missing anything. I’m not constantly saddened by bad news or worrying about things I cannot control. I still know who needs prayer. I know who wants my attention and help. My feelings aren’t hurt from reaching out to another only to be dismissed. It’s becoming more clearly obvious who really wants to be in my life, and I am beginning to question less who I need in mine.
By giving myself permission to rest, I’m learning to set boundaries that should have been set long ago. I’m learning how to be O.K. with being disliked and even disowned by loved ones. I’m learning that it’s OK to expect others to be responsible for themselves and their own actions and that not everyone’s problems are my fault or mine to solve. I’m becoming excited to spend time with people I care about again, feeling as though I have something to offer – or at least will have soon. When my energy reserves are totally depleted, not only am I terrible company, but I dread just simply being around others, no matter how much I love them. I’m tired of that feeling.
By giving myself permission to rest, I don’t feel so overwhelmed with studies, and I realize the worst that can happen is I’ll take longer to reach my goal. If I fail a subject or don’t complete it this semester, I can try again and again – as many times as it takes. When I give myself permission to rest, especially when I’m ill from Mono or I have had extra caregiving shifts to cover than originally scheduled, my super awesome, understanding studio clients get to see and understand it’s OK for them to do the same. I’m truly blessed within the studio. My clients are more than just clients. They become friends that are imperative to my personal healing and growth. They teach me as much as I teach them, making us all teachers and students alike, egos released, so we can re-establish connections with our true natures together. Some, in the yoga community want a guru, but that’s not me. I bring (to steal motto from one of my teachers) “real yoga to real people” by teaching according to the real me.
By giving myself permission to rest, I am beginning to see I’m more open to love, laughter, and living life more fully. I would love to hear how you bring more time and rest into your life? How do create a life of ease and simplicity? Please share with me!