Taking A Moment For Perspective

I was taking a break at work, sitting in my chair and mindlessly flipping between email accounts on my phone so I could feel like I got something done (clean out my email inboxes) without needing to really do much (all I really get are ads these days), because I was too exhausted to engage with even something as simple as a sudoku puzzle. After I ran out of inboxes to clean, I decided to text a friend a simple complaint about being exhausted and not knowing why, given that I’ve actually been getting decent sleep this week. As we talked and I went from that general statement to considering the specifics of my past few days, I realized that I should actually be very proud of myself for only being this exhausted. All of the stress of the last two months hasn’t actually gone away, I’ve just adjusted to carrying it and started getting enough sleep that I’m not so tired in the morning that I need to spend two hours convincing myself to get out of bed.

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Beating The Heat Through Extreme Inactivity

As much as I hate humidity and struggle to sleep when it is warm out, I have to admit there is a certain appeal in the sort of languid relaxation I do after going for a hike or something similar on warm summer days. There is a degree of freedom that comes with knowing it doesn’t matter if you’re sweaty. When you know that you can just go change or cool off or rinse the sweat away whenever you like and yet you choose to just be still as the gentle, warm breeze slowly wicks the sweat away while you lay unmoving in the heat. It is more restful and comfortable if the breeze is cool and the sweat has already been cleaned away, but I still enjoy the moments of transition between the two when it is my choice to experience them.

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Recorded and Reposted: At End of Day

When the day is done and the fire’s stoked,
When the night is fresh and the world is cloaked
In star-soft mantle of darkening blue 
I still have one last job to do.
I compile the words I have found,
Feeling out their shape and sound
As I sort them into categories
In preparation for all the stories
I haven’t had the chance to tell,
Until the fire’s down to a sullen swell
And the first glimmers of morning sun
Tell me that my work is done.

Sunshine Feels Nice And Warm Winds Lift My Spirits

I lack the words to describe how nice it was that the weather had been in the 60s, that there’d been a decent amount of sunlight, and that I’d been able to comfortably wear shorts. Nevertheless, that’s what the rest of this blog post will be about. It just felt so nice, you know? I wanted to exult in it for a while, enjoy the end of my seasonal depression and bask in the gloriously chilly but still comfy weather we had for the few days it was here.

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I’ve Been Practicing Taking Breaks

While I know that I am the source of most of the pressure I feel to be productive and to do most of the stuff on my to-do list in a timely manner, I can’t help but feel like it is easier to find better ways to work than to address the monumental issue that is how much of my self-worth is derived by being productive. Nothing highlights this more than times like right now, as I’m working on catching up with everything I didn’t do for the full week I was feeling exhausted and out of it due to sleep deprivation and stress caught in a horrible feedback loop that is taking me multiple weekends to break out of. I have a simply massive task list since I wrote down everything as it came up last week (I’m pretty good at recognizing that my memory is going to be faulty once I reach a certain level of exhaustion), and it has been a struggle to ride the fine line between productivity and rest. After all, it won’t do me any good if I get a lot done in one day but wind up tiring myself out so that I’m useless again the day or two after that.

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The Price of Too Little Sleep

One of the worst parts about not sleeping enough over a long period of time is how divorced from reality that level of exhaustion can make you feel. Going without any sleep can rapidly turn bad, making you more susceptible to getting sick or even causing you to hallucinate if you go long enough without just collapsing. Definitely not going to deny how awful all that can be or imply that just being chronically short on sleep is worse than getting zero sleep. I think it’s just a different kind of hell, though. One that varies based on how much sleep you’re missing out on, as compared to what you need to feel functional.

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The Benefits Of Rest

I’ve written many times about my relationship with sleep. While sleep and dreams and my ability to rest don’t occupy my mind as much as stories and tabletop roleplaying games do, they’re probably third or fourth highest on list. After all, I’ve been dealing with one kind of insomnia or another for over half my life and my experiences with it and relaxation in general have made me highly aware of the different kinds of rest you can get. This makes it easy to direct my time towards what I need in order to maintain high-function in periods of high stress or enduring periods of constant stress, but it also means that I tend to abuse this power at times when my stress levels are lower than my usual state.

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Imperfect Rest Is Better Than None

As I’ve been working on recovering from all the stress of the past few months and trying to find ways to still make progress on my goals without worsening my current degree of burnout, I’ve realized that my most restful days of late are days that include a mixture of actual rest, enjoyable activities, and moderate productivity. While I’ve always known this to some degree or another, I’ve never been able to nail down a formula for it. Experimentation over the last few weeks though, has had startlingly positive results. If I have enough rest and relaxation intermingled with a moderately busy day of self-directed activity, it is usually a net-restful day for me, even if I’m cleaning my apartment and doing all my laundry. If I can be a little productive on a day set aside to not need productivity while also engaging in restful occupation, it is usually quite restful.

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Bank The Coals For Tomorrow’s Efforts

Sometimes, on a day that is busy beyond measure, I find myself settling down at my computer to write a blog post with the thought tumbling through my head that, maybe, this would be a good day to skip this exercise. I am frequently full of eloquent and entirely reasonable justifications for why it would best for my mental health and physical well-being to skip a day. I constantly remind myself that I can always make up for lost time by writing an additional post some day in the future, when I have the energy to spare, or that I could simply allow myself to skip a day since there is no reason not to take days of rest when I feel the need. “Rest,” I tell myself, “and you will be better prepared for whatever comes your way tomorrow.”

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