A Long Winter’s Nap

I’m tired.

This is a tiring time of year. Just the physical conditions that come with winter—cold, cloudiness, limited daylight—sap my energy. Gone are the long days of sitting poolside watching the sun set at 8:00 p.m. Now I feel like going to bed at 4:00.

Then there’s the exhaustion that comes with the flurry of holiday activities. I’ll never understand how we’re supposed to complete our everyday responsibilities, which are exhausting in and of themselves, and then somehow magically come up with the time and energy to decorate, attend parties, bake, look at lights, take kids to some whimsical holiday experience, buy gifts, wrap gifts, manage other people’s giving of gifts to us (the Amazon wishlist and whatnot), attend the holiday concert, be civil to those who stir up negative emotions, and on and on and on and on and on.

And this year, I’m emotionally exhausted from everything going on in the world. I’m sorry, but I am not over the election yet. I get this feeling like I’m supposed to be, but every day some new turn of events gets me incensed and calls for some sort of political action. I’m so overwhelmed by it all.

I wish people hibernated.

As it is, I’ve put myself in partial hibernation mode. I work from home, so the lure of my bed is strong. (I should note that I’m an independent contractor, so it’s not like I’m on the clock or anything like that.) Sometimes I get so overwhelmed that I just lie down and tell myself I’m going to take a quick break to zone out and regroup. Well, you know how that goes: 90 minutes later I’m waking up feeling confused and guilty.

Ironically, I get even more exhausted by my feelings about being tired. I should not be tired. I should be able to get through the day without a nap, because I’m not a toddler. What did I even do to deserve a nap? I bet so-and-so sleeps like 5 hours a night and never naps. She’s better than I am. I’m so lazy. I could have used that time to [insert constructive activity here]. 

GUILT. INADEQUACY. EXHAUSTION. SELF-CRITICISM.

You know, Depression’s entourage.

But I think back to something that helped me during one of the most exhausting times of my life: my son’s infancy. At that time, my mom went to a presentation by a local author named Karen Maezen Miller and got me a signed copy of her book, Momma Zen. Almost ten years later, one piece of advice from the book still sticks with me: If you’re tired, be tired. 

It seems so simple, and yet it’s just a huge revelation.

Do not question your tiredness. Do not compare your level of tiredness with your perceived level of a friend’s tiredness. Don’t tell yourself you should do more.

Just be tired.

Wishing you love and sweet dreams,

Shannon

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