Thursday, August 13, 2015

5 Secrets To Keep Life from Keeping You Tired

“Winston was gelatinous with fatigue.”
― George Orwell, 1984

Maybe coffee is the answer?
The very last time I remember being exceptionally well-rested was 1999.  Newly pregnant, I was weary due to that whole business of actually manufacturing human life in the walls of my uterus. I slept.  Oh, how I slept.  I would come home after work and climb into bed at 8 pm where I would snooze away blissfully until the snooze button was worn to the nub.

Then, Thing 1 was born and all notions of sleep left with the incessant wailing of the newborn, the finicky restlessness of the baby, the 5 am wake-up calls of the toddler and the ever-present one-ear-open-because-what-if-he-needs-me of the child.  Then came the teenager that wakes me up in the middle of the night with the hushed laughter and murmurs of forbidden late night phone calls, Skype sessions or online video game parties.

My forties came calling and with it endless nocturnal wanderings at 3 a.m.


I don't remember NOT being tired. I'm tired right now and I haven't done a damn thing all day except attend meetings, send emails and jot down a few notes. Well, I worked out halfheartedly and slapped together a mildly nourishing, somewhat edible dinner. Short of just going to bed at 5 pm and ignoring the rest of my life, I've got to figure out a way to combat this incessant fatigue that prevents me from being the world-famous figure I am almost certainly destined to be.

I must have a plan. 

1.  Eat fewer fat-girl calories.  Let's take one night a couple weeks ago, for example.  I stopped by the grocery store on the way home.  Famished and exceptionally susceptible to grocery-line suggestive selling, I chucked a Snickers bar on the belt.  I didn't really WANT a Snickers bar but, let me tell you, I WANTED A SNICKERS BAR.  I read the useless, wasted calorie count and the "imma make you fat" sugar content conveniently AFTER I snarfed the bar.  All that stupid sugar makes you feel sooo good and then it makes you feel so very, very, very tired.  And to punish myself, I basically licked water off the counter for dinner

2. Treat exercise like a date to the movies.  I would never, ever skip a date to the movies.  I don't even care what movie it is.  I am NEVER late to a movie.  I always show up early and sit there, breathless, waiting for the dancing popcorn to start its entertaining jaunt across the screen.  And then I am fully engaged in that. But exercise?  I think of any excuse I can to skip it, be late or half-ass it.  But, truly, the more active you are, the less tired you are.  I don't know why it works this way other than the notion that the universe is obviously pitted against me.

3.  Stop trying to control everything.  Very, very little is actually under your control.  And trying to rein in all of the earth and its inhabitants is a pretty big job.  And exhausting.  I am pretty much limiting my little corner of control to...myself.  Sure, I have some influence over Things 1 and 2 but, quite honestly, at this point they're in control of themselves. I have to trust them to make good decisions and use me as a parental consultant on an as-needed basis.

4Sleep.  I'm getting good at this one (with the obvious exception of my odd middle-of-the-night random wakening).  If it's not finished by 9, I probably shouldn't be doing it.   Nothing good comes not after midnight but after 9pm.  And that includes cookies.  And one last glass of wine.

5. Practice joy. It may seem like a weird concept to actually practice joy. But human nature allows us to often focus on the What Ifs and the But This Could Happens of life. I prefer to dwell on the infinite possibilities of the hidden surprises that life often presents me as a gift. Last night, I looked up while The Boyfriend and I were heading to the garden for late-night tomato picking and I gasped. The stars were stretched out across the sky in a velvet blanket of wishes and dreams. It was magical. And an instant boost to my weary self.

There are a lot of things we can do every day to ease the weariness of life drudgery that makes us want to forego the bucket list and head for the couch. But the main thing is this: take care of yourself. If you are running around taking care of everyone else first and ignoring your own physical, spiritual and emotional well-being, there will come a day when you are introduced to the wall of life. And that wall will quickly force you to your knees. 

So today, take care of YOU. In one small way, take one small step and reclaim your vigor...your hunger for life. Just say no to being tired all the time.  Instead of folding laundry, read a book. Feed your life. And it will, in turn, nourish you.

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