Rev. Kate J Meyer, LPC
My last blog on Ed took a lot out of me. That, combined with the blur that was September, is why you're just now receiving a new post.
Today I slept fourteen hours. In a row. Without difficulty. Without Melatonin or any other sleep aid. Fourteen. Hours. And yes, all hours technically were today since I was up until midnight and slept until 2 p.m.
When I finally woke and processed the time, thoughts of guilt immediately flooded my mind. I had planned to get up with enough time to be productive around the house before going to church. And then, after church, be more productive first at the grocery store and then at home. Obviously by two in the afternoon, church was long over; but also, the house remained dirty, the fridge empty, and, to top it all off, I did NOT wake refreshed. That just seems wrong.
I could go into a long explanation of why I think I slept that long, but I'm guessing you'd find that boring. It also is not why I am writing this blog.
I'm writing this blog because the productivity quotient in our culture has reached the point that allowing one's body to recover through sleep creates feelings of guilt.
The bottom line is, my body clearly needed that sleep or I would not have been able to sleep that long without trying. True, I've always required 8+ hours (9.5 seems to be my optimal) to function at my best; but fourteen is excessive even for me.
So, as I tried to shake off sleep and find some sort of sustenance--especially since I'd not eaten anything in about eighteen hours--I also talked myself out of the guilt trying to steal away the recovery.
We often allow ourselves to be pushed beyond our limits: physically, emotionally, spiritually. Even things we want to do can become things that push us too far. If we pay attention, though, we begin to discover there is a little voice that tries to slow us down, tries to warn us that if we don't refuel trouble is just over the horizon. Too often, though, we push right past it.
What is your little voice telling you? In what area of your life are you in danger of pushing too far? If you do, will you need something as innocuous as fourteen hours of sleep to begin to recover, or will you need something more extreme?
Listen to your body. Listen to that little voice. Tune out the shoulds. Tune out the shame. Tune out the guilt. Listen to that little voice trying to save you from self-destruction. Trust me, you'll be glad you did.
And, in case you're wondering, the dust bunnies have been banished, the carpeted floors deodorized and vacuumed, and the refrigerator is restocked.