Did you see that article a few weeks back about how deaf people suffer from fatigue? How about all those hours spent processing what you are hearing, and doing cognitive gymnastics to make deductions multiple times in a single conversation, is just flat out tiring? As an adult, this is most certainly true, and it was even more so when I was a child.
There are two surefire treatments to counter this fatigue, both of which are highlighted in Arianna Huffington’s book, Thrive. Digital detox, meditation, sleep and silence are the keys to thriving in today’s fast-paced, information-laden, data-driven society. From Left to Write club members read this book last year, and wrote posts inspired by the book but for this second read, to mark the paperback publication of the bestseller, we were challenged to try out one of the recommendations from the book, for a week.
Awhile back, I stopped bringing my phone to bed with me, which is something Arianna recommends but since I was already in the habit of doing that, it’s not much of a challenge, is it? Her sections on sleep and silence really resonated with me, and I realized that I need to more protective of my sleep and that I need to give myself some silent alone time, to give myself and my brain a break from the constant listening and deciphering I do all day long. I’m very susceptible to sensory overload– too many people talking, too many kids touching me, too much visual simulation– it all overwhelms me at some point and I don’t always handle it in the most adult way. I always realize too late the reason for my reactions.
So, my challenge this past month was to allow myself the time and space to be alone in silence, and to go to bed by 9pm. After a full day of teaching, I get into my car and I enjoy a good seven or ten minutes of complete silence, save for the muffled traffic noises outside my car. I used to turn the music on but the silence gives me time to decompress before picking up the kids. Other times, I just announce to my husband, “I need to be alone,” or “I need a break,” and I go hide in my room until someone little person comes knocking (apparently, I’m the only one that can pour a glass of water or help them find a lost item.)
Going to bed by 9pm every night was a little trickier. I was doing pretty well there for awhile, maybe a week or so and then the new season of House of Cards happened… I watched two episodes a night before tearing myself away to go to bed, which was sometimes 9-ish but sometimes, later-ish. The difference between going to bed at 9, and going to bed at 11 is palpaple. The nights I went to bed at 9, I woke up before 6, and had time to make lunches and coffee before the kids woke up, which made our morning routine run much smoother. The mornings where I had gone to bed later than I should’ve, those mornings were rough. I woke up feeling not-at-all refreshed, harried and cranky. In fact, it is 9pm as I type this and I’m exhausted from staying up the past two nights to watch Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, which I started watching after I finished House of Cards. (So funny, by the way. Have you seen it?) So, no Kimmy Schmidt for me tonight, if I know what’s good for me.