From the get-go yesterday I was tired, impatient, annoyed, and not feeling exactly cheerful. I had the day off, I had a lot to do, and I was just plain tired. This did not bode well for getting a lot done. I didn't sleep well the night before, and I was feeling the effects.
Now this is the strange part. The night before my husband had given me a CD he had just listened to, called "Physical Energy" which was all about how to maximize your energy by getting enough sleep and eating right. I listened to it as I drove to my first errand of the day. Lee Milteer, the moderator, talked about the "dirty little secret" of many high-powered business execs: how they're exhausted, running on empty and are just too busy to figure out what to do about. Addicted to the adrenaline rush of exhaustion and not even aware of it.
Lee was interviewing Dr. Ernesto J. Fernandez, who describes the mental state of a person who hasn't gotten enough sleep.
How does fatigue affect your performance and productivity? Besides fatigue affecting your energy level, which alone can be a serious problem, fatigue also affects your ability to focus and concentrate for extended periods of time, your ability to think creatively, your mood and outlook on life, and your ability to handle stress and change. You can feel negative, pessimistic, impatient, prone to worry, and quick to fly-off-the-handle.
I'm definitely aware of how differently I feel after a good night's sleep, as compared to a bad one. Everything in my life can be exactly the same, but if I'm rested, I'm happy, optimistic, on top of my game. If I'm tired, all of sudden, everyone seems annoying, and the world is going to hell-in-a-handbasket. But it was confirming to hear Dr. Fernandez say what I knew to be true.
Later in the day, I checked in on The Happiness Project Blog and read about Gretchen Rubin's recent success in following her 8th Commandment, Identify the Problem. When you're annoyed, angered, or frustrated, ask yourself, "What exactly is the problem here?"
It didn't take a whole lot to realize why I hadn't been sleeping well. I really look forward to some down time in the evening and on weekends. Time to slow down, make a nice meal, read, watch some TV, and just plain relax. I haven't had any of that time lately. Weekends have been back-to-back scheduled. I was getting home late from work, and working on the computer right until bedtime. Not a good idea! I was dreaming of Google sitemaps.
Happy to report that I cancelled everything I just "HAD TO DO" for the rest of the day. I puttered around the house, straightened everything up in a relaxed pace, listening to NPR all the while. I didn't HAVE to do any of this. I chose to, and that made all the difference! I made a scrumptious meal of mushroom barley soup, whole grain bread, wine, maple roasted squash, garlicked kale & bought some delicious mushroom loaf from the grocery. I took 30 minutes to meditate and as always, I was so amazed at how refreshed, rejuvenated and calm I felt. Definitely, need to do that more often!
The evening remained unplanned and I stayed AWAY FROM THE COMPUTER. My final sleep-inducing step was a glass of hot cocoa, and a little pre-sleep reading. Slept for a 8 1/2 blissful hours and I'm like a new person. Best news is that it's Saturday, and I can finally stay home! That is until we go to a friend's house for dinner at 6:00!
Nothing beats a solid eight hours of sleep. More on the benefits of sleep tomorrow!