The Thursday Update

The Thursday Update

This final week of March is halfway over, and boy has it felt a lot longer than a mere four days. The culprit? Way less sleep than usual, about two hours less every night for the first three nights of the week which has left me feeling unmotivated and definitely a bit cranky. I clearly do not function on anything less than eight hours of sleep. I’ve been staying up late every night waiting up for my husband who due to the busy nature his job during the spring and summer months has been regularly leaving work at 11. 11! That’s not very sustainable for anyone, but at least he can sleep in the following morning. I, on the other hand, have had early morning meetings or appointments this entire week. Setting my phone alarm right before bed and seeing the little message that I have less than six hours until it’s going to go off has not been great, yet I still did that for three nights. This predicament reminds me of a story I recently read by Brigid Schulte, who is the author of a fantastic book on work-life balance, Overwhelmed: How to Work, Love and Play When No One Has the Time. Her article in New York magazine is about how awful work-life experts are at balancing work and life. The same people who write copiously about the merits of taking your vacations and not sending emails at night turns out are the same people who don’t take a vacation for five years, as is the case for Kathy Simons, the director of the Work-Life Center at MIT. This week felt very much like that for me as well. I know that I need at least eight hours of half-way decent sleep to function properly as a human being, yet I ignored that very important bit of information and suffered the consequences. I know that I will feel sluggish in the afternoon if I skip lunch or instead have a very carb-heavy meal, yet I routinely do both of those things, just like not drinking enough water, skipping workouts, or ordering takeout instead of making a healthy meal at home. Some days I feel like I am kicking butt and taking names while doing it, and other times I’m just sort of blah. I know it’s unrealistic to not expect an ebb and flow to my days and weeks, but that is sort of the thing I fail to factor in a lot of the time. It also is something that rarely gets talked about, which is why Brigid Schulte’s article resonated so much with me. We’re inundated with images and sound bites of people that are ultra-successful; doing wonderful things seemingly all the time yet everyone has periods where for whatever reason they are more tired. Being realistic and having a mixture of more self-awareness to make better choices and self-compassion when inevitably the choices fall short is probably the best I’m going to make out of this week in my sleepless haze.

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