Allowing Myself

…to feel, to love, to be.

Tag: sleep

But first, rest

There was a new moon on Sunday – and I slept right through it. What a way to welcome in this new season, eh?

Sunday morning, I rollerbladed the dog to the Farmer’s Market (how LA of me, I know). Cruising through the stalls on my skates, I picked out blood oranges, rye bread and farm-fresh eggs. Back at home I cooked a full breakfast. We watched the Flyers game and ate our food.

And somewhere in the 3rd period, I started to nod off. And slept for over an hour, on the couch. H woke me up to ask if I wanted to go climbing, which I did – was looking forward to it all week – but I just couldn’t get moving.

I ended up back in bed, post-shower – warm, clean and more sleepy than before. The sliding door was open and a strong breeze was outside, rustling through the palms. I slept, fairly deeply, for over 3 hours. Each time I woke up, I listened to the breeze outside, felt the cool sheets, and just knew I needed to keep laying there until I felt filled back up.

It took until Monday morning, sleeping in later than I normally do, to finally make me feel rested.

Two weeks ago I attended a conference on higher ed social media. Last week, I spent the day at the YouTube Space in LA.

Both events set my mind churning with ideas.

I am not sure how to capture all of them. Not sure what to do with all of them. I can feel the potential for my work expanding and I can feel that I’m lagging behind. There’s not enough time to capture, organize, do.

Then something clicked – these big ideas I’m having, that could catapult me right out of my current space, are too much. I’m falling into the Mars retrograde problem of all show & no go. I don’t want to talk a big game, I want to create, produce and have something to show for my work.

It’s not about revamping my resume (though it needs an update) or about finding a new job (I like my current position). It’s about going deeper into what I do well and what I can create in my current position. It’s about the work I do for myself.

It rings true for my ideas about flow too – that I need to be ride the waves, be present, act on what’s in front of me, and honor the seasonal shifts.

So I think my day-long nap on Sunday gave me a new perspective – in a subconscious, processing way. There is a certain knowing I’m experiencing in the past month, a confidence in feeling that I am kicking butt, that I am prepared, that there is opportunity for me to step up my game.

But first, I needed to rest.

day 14: stillness

Slept terribly last night due to construction and Carter being up, not feeling well. Sleep is a major part of my self-care, so when I don’t get enough, I just feel blah and usually angry about it. Haha.

Glad to report that the day went along fine anyway.

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See all of my August Break 2013 posts here

Naps

This week I was in Boston for work. I arrived late after a delayed plane, so I wasn’t eating dinner until 11pm EDT the first night. After a clunky and uncomfortable 5 hours of sleep, I was up at 6am, not so terrible, except that my body  felt more like 3am. Jet lag is a bitch.

But this isn’t a post about Boston. Instead, it’s about the 23 hours of sleep post-trip I needed to finally feel normal again.

Friday I flew back early – touched down in LA by noon PDT. Somewhere around 4pm I went down for my first nap. I slept 3 hours. It felt amazing. Afterwards, I was still able to sleep 8hrs, going to bed at 11pm.

Saturday morning was good, but I was back on the couch by 1pm and slept through 4pm. I was frantic with how tired my body felt and how much I thought I had to do. “Tell me I can sit here and doing nothing,” I asked H. “Relax,” he said. “Just sit and watch hockey”.

He made me leftovers for lunch. I ate on the couch. The dog cuddled with me. I didn’t watch hockey. I napped through the game and then some more.

Energized from sleeping, I rallied and went out to dinner with friends. By 9pm though, I was yawning and ready for my bed again. Asleep by 11pm, before H turned off the iPad, and slept a full 8hrs again.

This morning, with the sun streaming in, after odd dreams and my bladder feeling like it would burst, I woke up. “I think I finally got enough sleep” I told H. He laughed. Apparently he and my sister were calling me Miss-Sleeps-A-Lot.

But I wanted to write about this for a few reasons.

One: I never used to take naps. Take time out for rest when I have so much to do? Never. But H loves to nap. I used to be jealous, that he could “check-out” in that way, but now it’s the whole “if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em”. Naps do something for my brain and body, like a quick reset button for my energy, a clean slate for my mind.

Two: I didn’t know how to nap, for me. Now, I set a timer for 30min, 1hr and 15min or go for a full 3hrs. If it’s a longer one, I prefer taking a quick shower afterwards. If I do this on a Friday night before we go out, I can stay out and up until 5am no problem. If I catch 45min and a shower before a work event, I can handle the noise / people / event chaos with more energy and less anxiety.

Three: I didn’t prioritize self-care until recently. Now, instead of feeling guilty, weak or stupid, I just nap – and I feel better. End of story. There’s no glory is powering through. This goes for skipping exercise (or not), for eating healthy (or not), and for sitting at the computer for another hour (or not). By listening to what my body really wants, I am able to satisfy my needs and move on. Less fighting, less frustrations and certainly, less tears.

So, I’ve been napping. And while I felt self-conscious about how much sleep I wanted the past few days, I knew that the less than 20hrs of sleep I got during my 4-night trip (I usually need 7.5 hrs per night to feel good) AND the overwhelming amount of people, meetings, and traveling I navigated warranted the need for more sleep than usual. And it’s nothing to be ashamed of – I worked my ass off last week and my body needed this rest to catch up. I’m almost certain I’ll sleep my average 7.5 hours tonight and wake up tomorrow back on track.

But even if I don’t, I can always squeeze in a nap.

How about you? Do you nap? What are your napping secrets? If you don’t nap, why? I would love to hear about your experiences. xo

Encouraging

Managed to get up early, write and go out for a run with the dog. He was sick all last week and I only got 3 runs in, the last being a sluggish waste of energy. Back on the horse, and all that. I listened to a Radiolab podcast about Bliss. And let me say – with those stories in my ears and my legs pounding the pavement and my lungs sucking in cold air and my dog trotting beside me, I finally felt better.

But it was fleeting. By the time I was home and dealing with the next item of my morning, my frustrations overtook me. And while I wasn’t awesomely happy today, I wasn’t horribly upset like I’d been last week.

So that’s encouraging.

I spent the day at the office, dealing with emails and other tasks that’ve piled up. I did what I could with the moon void of course. I took frequent breaks to read or jot a few notes down in my journal. And I worked with a timer to create some flow. It worked, though I’ve had a caffeine withdrawals headache all day.

Tomorrow is all about meetings and talking. We’ll see how that goes.

It’s kind of incredible to think that this is my one precious life and I can’t seem to get my brain to lay off the meanness. Can’t gather up some self-love and enjoy the sunshine. But this has its place. I have hope it won’t last much longer.

Thinking about feeling like this for no pinpoint-able reason. That is feels a bit like grief. And I wondered to myself if, as this last sign of my birth chart closes out, if that’s what I experience each year in the depths of February – the shortest, yet the darkest month. Some kind of death, and then rebirth.

One can hope.

For the rest of the night it’s a snack, spending time with H who got home early from grad school, and sleep. Sleep is what I’m craving these days.

Ask for Space, Receive It

Today was a doozy.

It probably started yesterday, when I was already feeling cranky about too many social obligations. But, the morning coffee date helped with a latte and conversation and then a hot shower put me in a good enough mood that I rallied.

At the bbq, I laid low. Sat outside away from the game-day noise, rocking on a chair with a friend. But after three beers and the games ending, I wanted to leave. My husband did not. He wanted to stay for a round of card games. We had a small tiff as he went so far as to ask what we’d do when we go home – read a book?

Uh, ya. I was craving rest and alone time. Once we finally got to leave, and I drove us home, I took advantage and worked on my Cultivating Courage class. I sipped tea and doodled and sat in the quiet.

In bed, though, the beer, food and tea all equaled grossness. I was caffeinated, sugared-out and uncomfortable. Sleep took forever.

5am – BANG. A terrible sound jolted me from my dream. It sounded like someone was banging a bat against metal.

Crazy homeless person in the alley? Nope. It was my sister’s rabbits thumping in their cage on the balcony. I tried dealing with them myself and then woke her up to bring them inside.

By 5:30am I was wide awake, on a Monday holiday, feeling my 3m run slip away and f-ing cranky.

H suggested we get up. I suggested we walk the dog at the beach, sunrise-style. We were at the beach by 6:15am. I was cold, hungry and pissed. This was not the way I’d pictured my day off before a hell-week of work.

But now that I’m learning (and relearning) and paying attention, I went with it. Foggy head, tired eyes, cold body. I wasn’t happy, but I didn’t struggle. I snapped some photos, listened to the waves crash. We decided to drop the dog at home and go out for breakfast, husband’s treat. I inhaled eggs mondaire and coffee.

Back at the house, I crawled into bed with a heat pack and laptop. I felt too ill to sleep, too tired to do anything. It sucked. I wanted to cry. Instead, I just gave up, and went back to sleep at 9am.

It was bliss. For the first hour I just laid there with racing thoughts, but once I fell asleep, it was the boost I needed. And then I laid in bed some more, wrote morning pages, checked email, went on IG and asked to be left alone by my family (which was my courageous act of the day).

And somehow, the rest of the day, was great. My sis and I video chatted with mom quick. Then we all packed up and went to the park where H and I played roller-hockey and my sis hung with the dog. Then we hit up Trader Joe’s. Returning home, I had more work crap to deal with (apparently the Universe didn’t understand today was a day off) and when the work stuff didn’t pan out, I gave up… and did an hour of yoga. I mean, really, who AM I?!

Yoga. Hot shower. More e-course work and then dinner, prepared by my husband. And now I’m here – sitting in an arm chair in our living room, relaxed and sleepy, ready to go get a solid 8 hours of sleep. Today was like three days rolled into one, but I am grateful I did two things: asked for space and received it.

I’m learning…

 

This Grateful Season – These Two (Sundays Are For – Week 12)

Oh boy, I would be remiss if I didn’t post about these two multiple times during This Grateful Season. My awesome husband and my perfect dog. Also bringing back the Sundays Are For posts. It’s been a long while since H and I were both home for an entire weekend. Add to it Veterans Day (thank you veterans for your service, for real!) we have a 3-day weekend, which is just loveliness.

H and I have been up and down lately. Mostly, he’s not home because of work and grad school and that leaves me plenty of time to be frustrated, alone and sad. Not to mention the recovery from the crazy work and travel schedule is taking much longer than I hoped (thank you Mercury Retrograde, not for real). And it turns out, I really care about quality time, both for myself and with H. So the past few days I’ve made an effort to take some time for myself and H’s made an effort to spend time with me. It’s helping immensely.

I’ve needed so much sleep lately. Usually I like 7.5 hrs per night, but lately I’m cruising through 10hrs. It makes me feel like a lazy-crap person but I’ve decided to just go with it. Eventually I’ve gotta get the energy back, right? Replenishing the reserves or something…? Besides the sleeping, I’m spending a good bit of time on the couch with H and my sister, at the park with the dog and generally lying low.

How are things by you? xo

For more weekend pictures of beautifulness, visit A Year of Sundays.

 

Idling High

We haven’t been sleeping well. I’m not sure if it’s the heat, humidity, our bed or energy levels but it’s annoying. This morning? Wide awake at 3:30AM, kid you not. After taking the dog downstairs for water and getting back under the covers, I was still perfectly awake. Not even resentfully, exhausted awake. At that point, you just get up. There was no going back to sleep.

I wrote morning pages by candlelight. H got up too. He listened to Harry Potter on audio, ate egg-bake and sat quietly with me. When he went upstairs to shower, I fell asleep sitting up on the couch, and moved back to bed for a few more hours. He kissed me good-bye before he left. Carter came up and cuddled with me, having not slept well either.

Because Carter wasn’t feeling well, I decided a walk would be the best use of our morning. We meandered around the neighborhood, him sniffing and peeing on his usual spots, me taking in the grey sky and snapping a few photos. The white flowers above (roses?) are my favorite flower in the neighborhood. A bunch of houses grow them and because of the heat a few weeks ago, they’re all exploded in their yards.

My therapist said that my “idling is running high”. I couldn’t have said it better myself. As the days get longer, we’re moving into a new rhythm. That energy “overage” needs to be channeled somewhere and I’m shifting focus to my own creativity. It seems when I do, I feel happier, lighter and even excited. When I don’t, I feel pent-up and frustrated.

Today, I made a point to only put small meals of good food into my body. I worked out, processed emails, gave Carter a bath, cooked dinner and took some time to write at my favorite coffee house. Our wedding invitations went out in the mail. As I write this, I’m sipping peppermint tea to stem my grumbly tummy, but I feel good.

How is everything in your neck of the woods?

{post script: there is someone blasting rap music across the street so I don’t see tonight’s sleep going much better than last night’s ::sigh::}

Two helicopters, Two Lessons

Recently, I mentioned to a friend that I didn’t have to deal with LAPD helicopters keeping me up at night since I moved out of Los Feliz. So last night’s racket of two helicopters circling my neighborhood for upwards of 30min felt like a joke. Like, wtf? The noise was terrible, but the spotlight on a house a block over and the late hour (almost midnight) made the whole thing even more nerve-racking. I’ll admit I was actually scared.

I clicked on one light and let the dog out of his crate. I crept downstairs to make tea and diddle around on facebook to squelch my anxiety. It didn’t help much. Wide awake as I could possibly be, I got back into bed around 1AM and hoped for sleep.

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