Tired is OK
The last week has been a busy one – two open-space conferences facilitated in two different cities, two interviews for podcasts I produce and one where I was the person being interviewed, all the regular client work plus some emotional situations in personal relationships. At the end, though, everything ended up in a satisfactory place, and on the day I was supposed to fly home from Rochester my host noticed that I looked a little worn out.
“You ok?” she asked.
“Oh, I’m just operating on momentum right now.” We were on our way to a social gathering with the board members of her local community group – not something we really had the energy for, but protocol and politeness dictated that we pay our respects.
“Yeah, you look pretty tired,” she agreed. “Is there anything I can do to help that? Caffeine? Food?”
I smiled and said “Nope. I’m ok being tired. I’ve earned it.”
The Fight Against Fatigue
I had. It’s funny that we will often talk about how good “the burn” is from exercise, or use one of the many repetition-to-failure regimens, but don’t tend to look at it from the bigger-picture perspective.
Remember that muscles don’t grow during a workout, only during rest periods following exercise. If you don’t allow your body to recover, you won’t see the benefits of your workouts. – ACE Fitness
Why don’t we allow the same type of philosophy to apply to the rest of our lives? Instead we have things like Red Bull Gives Us Wings! and articles like ”How to survive the workday when youre completely exhausted.”
Not that there’s anything wrong with that kind of pick-me-up now and again. The problem is when you (and by “you” I of course mean “me”) see these as long-term strategies instead of emergency measures.
My own achilles heel is in the realm of sleep: I tend to minimize the effects of very little sleep, even though I know better. I want to think that I can be fine with six hours of sleep; I wish I could go down to four; I’ve even played around with the idea of doing a polyphasic sleep schedule due in large part to the writings of Nancy Kress.
Luckily for my partner Natasha, I have done enough research to see that there is far more promise in the idea of improving my sleep than there is in the idea of doing without it. Kind of like diet: if you’re eating bad food, the solution is not to eat no food, it’s to eat better.
Life is tiring; it requires energy, and it uses up energy, and if you find yourself nodding off or longing for your bed, instead of fighting the urge, listen to what your body – and your life – are telling you. Maybe it’s Hey, good workout! on a macro scale. Or maybe it’s Hey, this really isn’t sustainable and it’s time to look at what you can change.
Me, I’m looking hard at sleep, and how I can get better at it. Supposedly there’s a lot of ways to make that work; got any suggestions?