Friday, July 24, 2020

Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep- Hopefully

I have been working a lot. And when I say a lot, I mean every day.  I have multiple jobs, some out of the house, some I can do from home.  But even with stay at home orders in Minnesota and Covid-19 societal shutdowns, I have worked this entire time. While watching people experience job loss (my husband included), wage decreases, even side job income streams drying up, the need to seek public assistance, and the worries of how rent and mortgages and car payments and insurance will be paid, I am so thankful that my work has remained steady.

I work about three days a week as a Professional Organizer.  I help with all finances, bookkeeping, purchases including groceries and everything online, home organization, and overall life management. I work with the aging demographic and when Covid-19 came on fast and furious, my job was to keep my clients at home and healthy.  4 months in, all of my clients are still healthy, and I continue to help them in their homes each and every week. 

I am also an author, dabble in small business marketing, I am a content writer and an editor. I have been thrilled with the amount of requests that have come in for new contracts.  Small companies have a huge need to come out thriving on the other side of the shut down. I also work with other writers who need help with line editing and overall flow feedback.  I love that each job is unique and that it is never boring. I am also thankful that all of these jobs enable me to be at home and work on my own time frame. 

Because a lot of work that I do from home can be challenging, I have found that I need to do it with minimal distractions.  I can't work with music or the TV on, and if my kids are home, I feel I am even more distracted.  I usually need to then wait until nighttime when they go to bed.  Which means I end up working until quite late at night a couple of nights a week. I don't mind as I am a bit of a night owl anyway, but I do find that I lose track of time and end up glancing at the clock and finding it is past midnight.  My sleep suffers as I don't sleep well and then have to be up by 6:30 each morning. 

One of things that I have had to implement for my own well being is an email and phone call shut down time. Each day at 8 p.m., I stop answering work phone calls. And each day at 9 p.m., I stop reading and answering work emails. I may respond that I have received an email or voicemail, but will respond the following day by a certain time, but that is it. Otherwise, I was finding that phone calls were coming in after 10 p.m. and clients were expecting me not only to respond, but to tend to the problem at hand. 

As I mentioned, I don't sleep well. I have problems falling asleep, I wake up many times each night and I also wake up quite early. I average about 5 1/2 hours a night and consider myself lucky to get 6 or more hours.  There are novel nights when I actually sleep 7 or more hours and I wake up confused, not really sure where I am and even question if I am still in high school and if I have missed the bus. 

I also protect my sleep by turning off the ringer on my cell phone and silencing all notifications.  I place my phone on the charger on my bedside table and call it a day.  I even dim the light on the screen of my phone as it lights up all night long when each notification comes in. I am not dealing with waking up to the eerie light of cell phone when I am already confused, not sure what year it is and panicked once again that I am still in high school and have forgotten my locker combination.

I will often lay down in the afternoon if given the chance, but rarely fall asleep for more than 10 minutes or so. During that time, I usually work on stretching out my back and relaxing. If I do fall asleep, I startle myself awake. I have always limited my caffeine intake, only drink coffee in the morning, stop drinking tea by mid afternoon and try to limit my water intake in the evening hours in general. Because I do intermittent fasting, (14 off, 10 on) I stop eating by 6 p.m. which can be beneficial when it comes to sleep. As you can see, have addressed, work, distractions, caffeine and food. I desire rest and have addressed the areas that I think can contribute to a poor night's sleep. 

I have spent many hours in prayer over sleep and rest. This isn't an exaggeration and I will continue doing so.  I pray for restorative sleep, for me to be able to hold every thought captive and that I wake up feeling rejuvenated.  Sometimes, even when 4 or 5 hours of sleep were all that I have been rewarded, I wake up feeling fine and have a great day, but then I am dragging my dinner time.  I pray for stamina and energy. And I pray for peace even if my prayers are not answered. Mostly I pray for peace. 

While some people may believe that I place too much importance on sleep, I beg to differ.  If we sleep well, we accomplish more, enjoy each day more and find that we are focused and have even more moments of mental clarity. When we seem to be lacking in the sleep department, we have a tendency to accomplish less, not enjoy each day that has been given to us, struggle with focus and have no clue what the words mental clarity even mean.  That is my I must pray about it.  Lord, help me sleep. Lord, help me be alright tomorrow if I do not. Lord, give me peace tonight, help be hold every thought captive as I fall asleep and enable me to be content with the outcome as I rest in You. 

Going to the cabin for a few short days, I know that not much sleep will be had. I don't sleep well there and wake frequently. My prayer today is that I am patient with my children and husband even in the absence of sleep. 

When I was a child, my father repeatedly said, "When given the chance to sleep, always sleep." 

My dad was a hard worker and his job physically took everything out of him. He worked odd hours, slept odd hours and napped whenever possible.  He knew what he spoke of.  I didn't realize the value of a nap until after I had kids. I also know how important it is to call it a day, shut off the TV and phones and just go to bed. When given the chance to sleep, always sleep. 

A few of my friends are going through some very challenging situations right now, and everything seems to be amplified with Covid. Sleep is precious commodity when it evades each and every night. Reading, watching a show, developing a routine, nothing seems to work. These are the times when we try to convince ourselves that sleeplessness is only for a season. 
-And unfortunately, sometimes that season is for life. 

Tonight, after swimming, boating and kayaking and sitting on the dock and watching the sun set, when I am all tired out and physically and mentally worn out, I will pray again that sleep comes easily to me. And if it doesn't, I will enjoy the sound of he loons on the lake.  I will listen to the perfect white noise of the fans that keep us cool and I will pray. I will pray for peace, I will pray for rest and I will pray for an amazing day tomorrow even if the sleep doesn't cross my path.

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