I had a pretty significant meltdown last week. And while at first I put the cause to the challenge week we’d had leading up to D-Day, I am now pretty sure it had been coming for some time.
Yes, the little man had been VERY difficult for a week. Not listening, getting into some pretty serious mischief – most of which we had already told him multiple times not to do – not following instruction, being rude, being mean to his sister, pushing EVERY button we had. I think he is starting to try and push some new boundaries, test out his new 9 year old self, and let’s just say we are NOT handling it well. Mornings and evenings are always a major time of stress in our home, and guess what? THAT’S the only time I’m home with them.
BUT. Even with that growing challenge, I think my fuse had been slowly burning down much longer than the past seven days. Work has been incredibly stressful for about six months. I travelled almost non-stop last year and came very close to burnout, just pulling myself back from the edge and maintaining a dull case of overwhelm ever since. I love my job and my team, but I am struggling. There is just too much work. We have a mandate to “match the agenda to the resources,” and while that is a very nice thing to write on a motivational poster, it is simply not reality. Our agenda WAY outweighs our resources and I ultimately do not control either. For a control freak who likes to fix everything, that’s a wee bit frustrating.
I actually think I’ve been quietly falling into a bit of a depression, but ignoring it because I am SO OKAY. This isn’t an all-out depression, but kind of like the definition of a driveway – “a slight depression in the curb.” Just a slight dip from the ordinary, but it has been going on for a WHILE. My driveway is several blocks long by now. Is this a really weird analogy? Whatever, it works.
This will seem random, but I swear it all connects. A couple of months ago I started binge-watching TV series on Netflix. I started with Scandal. I had never watched a Shonda Rhimes show before and I LOVE Washington-based dramas, novels, anything, so I was hooked. I would go to bed at a reasonable hour and watch episodes on my iPad until I fell asleep. I knew it wasn’t really smart to do this but this was the first sign I was starting in to a slow spiral. On my “Shonda quest” I then watched How to Get Away With Murder. (On a side note, I also listened to her audio book, the Year of Yes, on my daily commute. I totally recommend it.)
And then, the motherlode. I started watching Grey’s Anatomy. I had never watched it before, because when it first aired I was far too consumed with Law & Order and every other crime drama on at that time. This show is…it’s…well, I GET IT NOW. I now know why people were posting every Thursday in wild anticipation of the upcoming next episode. I am only in the middle of season 7 but I am totally immersed in all of the characters and I am invested. It’s fantastic.
But here’s the thing. I am not SLEEPING. Sure, I get about five or six hours a night but it’s not GOOD SLEEP. I fall asleep with the glowing tablet next to my head. I KNOW that’s not healthy. I am exhausted every day. And while I know I should stop, that is the only time where I feel I can actually unplug my brain from the worries about the little man, the stresses of my job…everything. I could escape.
I know I would be WAY more capable and ready to face those stresses and challenges if I was well rested. I KNOW I would be more motivated to work out and eat healthy. I know my anxiety levels would go down. I know my brain would feel ready to take on the day.
Lately I feel like I am BARELY HANGING ON. And while I am not blaming it entirely on my nighttime Grey’s addiction, I am saying that this behaviour is both a symptom AND a cause of what’s going on.
Yesterday I was listening to Lewis Howes’ School of Greatness podcast and he was interviewing Arianna Huffington, about her new book (and social movement, actually), The Sleep Revolution: Transforming Your Life, One Night at a Time. She speaks about the importance of sleep, the parallels between driving drowsy and driving drunk, the impact proper sleep can have on your life – the difference between driving a gas-guzzling 70’s tank and a 2016 Tesla that uses renewable energy. You will still get from point A to point B but in the Tesla you will get there faster, cleaner, smoother and the ride will be more enjoyable.
Makes sense, right? This podcast following hot on the heels of my major meltdown have put things into perspective. While I teach healthy living, fitness, good nutrition…I have not been taking CARE OF MYSELF. And sleep is where it needs to start.
I am making some changes. And it may mean that I have to say goodbye to Meredith, Derek and Christina for now, at least. Or at LEAST say goodnight to them a LOT earlier. Arianna Huffington says to shut off all devices at least 30 minutes BEFORE you go to sleep, so I have some habits to break. I have ordered her book and last night I turned off the iPad about 10 minutes before I drifted off, which was a big win.
Baby steps. But important steps.