It was a day about a year ago when I had only one thought in my mind. “This tiredness will never pass.”
Couple of months earlier I had stopped breastfeeding our second child. Right after that I started to sleep more and tried to get rid of my massive sleep dept that I had gained during the baby years.
But I was still exhausted. Will I ever feel refreshed again! I thought in my misery.
I was frustrated because I felt that my body was screaming for more exercise and our family diet needed more healthy food. But I was just too tired to do anything else than run the daily family and work routines.
When we were spending a simple holiday on our boat home last summer I made a plan. I will overcome my tiredness for good!
I continued making sleeping my first priority. I also decided to add some exercising to my mornings.
I started to woke up 6 am four times a week and went for a 30-40-minute morning walk or a run alone before my husband and the girls woke up.
I also tried to keep our family life as simple as possible. And I kept on going bed at the same time with the children.
Little by little my tiredness started to fade away and I started to have more energy.
Finally during last Christmas holiday I felt it. I woke up one morning, stood up and said to my husband: “Now it´s gone! Now I´ve slept enough! My sleep debt is gone! I´m not tired anymore!”
That day I went to the library and borrowed a pile of recipe books and decided that during the forthcoming year I would learn to make new kind of healthy but delicious food to our family. You’ve seen some of those already, like overnight oats, smoothies and raw seed crackers.
I felt so good!
Last winter I thought a lot about the main themes of saimaalife.com. What do I think are the most important things for wellbeing and happiness?
Patience and compassion. Those two always seemed to pop up.
Together they can be quite powerful tool for better wellbeing, both physically and mentally.
We are more and more impatient nowadays. We want fast results and preferably as easy as possible. But getting sustainable results take time. It´s like loosing your weight; if you have gained extra 10 kg over past 10 years, you can´t expect them to disappear permanently after six months of hard work. Or if you´ve been exhausted for years, you just don´t get your energy levels back to normal no matter how much you’d sleep during a month or two. A human body and mind just don’t work like that.
One crucial thing you need is patience. You need to work patiently for a long period of time to get yourself permanently back in balance again. Period.
But how to become more patient?
I´ve learned that practicing self-compassion can help a lot!
Did I went to bed last year every single evening at the same time with our children? No way! Watching TV and laying on the couch was just too comfortable occasionally. Many times actually.
Did I woke up 6 am 4 times a week every single week last autumn? I did not! Sometimes it was twice, sometimes zero.
“The old me” would have given up after failing to meet the goals that I had set to myself.
“The new me” kept on trying in spite of temporary (and often several) setbacks. All thanks to self-compassion that I´ve been practicing now for a couple of years.
Kristin Neff´s book: Self-Compassion; Stop Beating Yourself Up and Leave Insecurity Behind has inspired me to do so.
So instead of criticizing myself for being lazy, I´ve learned to become more compassionate towards myself. After setbacks I´ve said to myself things like “This week has been tough. Just sleep longer now and try again next week”.
By developing more positive and encouraging attitude towards myself I have not only felt better after setbacks but I´ve been able to keep on trying. And by trying long enough I’ve developed this new morning routine of mine that helps me to get more energy for daily life as a working mother.
There´s a saying good things come slow. It is so true!
A year ago there were no morning excercices in my life at all. Now most of the times I do wake up 6 am 4 times a week and have my morning walk or run or my yoga practice that takes about an hour.
And if I don´t do it, it´s ok. Then I rest and sleep some more and try again next morning. Or next week.