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Busy Bodies

My girlfriend calls me “her sleepy human”.

She is right. With the alarm going off at 0500 hours during the week, I am usually lights out by 8 p.m. For months, I kept asking myself, my doctor, my therapist, why am I so exhausted? Why can I go to sleep and stay asleep for a solid 9, 10, 11 hours a night?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention state that an adult between the ages of 18 and 60 years old should sleep, well, for at least 7 hours per night. I spent hours researching how to improve sleep quality and even invested in a Garmin watch to track my sleep. Turns out, I am sleeping pretty well each night, even if I am sleeping for 10 hours.

And then, my therapist called me out. (I love when she does this). She said, “So, you get up at 5 a.m., you leave for work within an hour and a half of waking, you drive 47 miles in traffic to work. You work for 8 hours, and then you drive for another hour and a half home. For the last two years, you come home and work on Graduate school homework, papers, and research until you fall asleep.” She goes on… “You graduate with your Master’s Degree in December of 2022. And then, you start a non-profit organization that is growing quickly…”

“No wonder why you are exhausted.”

She went on to say, “I feel like your level of intensity when it comes to filling your time with things you believe are productive and therefore “good” is a 12/10. Maybe you can work at a level 8 intensity and then take a day a week to do things that aren’t intense; that aren’t work, school, or community related. Things that are just for you?”

She was right. This 24/7 go-go-go society has trained us all to believe that our worth as humans is based on productivity. Let me prove it to you.

It is a Sunday morning. Your weekly chores and house-keeping are complete. You are laying in bed and consider just staying there to watch an episode or two of your favorite television show. Two hours later, you are fully invested in the plot line, the characters, and you want more. BUT, you decide to turn the TV off, as you have this overwhelming feeling of guilt because, “how can you spend a whole day in bed when there is so much else you could be doing?”

This society has trained us to be busy bodies.

Get up each and every day, go to work, work overtime to prove you’re a dedicated employee, care for a family, find time for friends, pay bills, and sleep, until we die. It is a never-ending cycle. I learned through this conversation with my therapist that although I love keeping busy, learning, working, and engaging in community activism, I absolutely must learn to love down-time.

So, I tried it. Two weeks ago, I got up on a Saturday morning, did my morning chores, checked off the list some nagging house-keeping “to-do’s”, and by 4 p.m., I claimed the rest of Saturday and Sunday (in its entirety) to down-time in the form of whatever my heart desired. Saturday night, I read a really catchy title “Private” by James Paterson, before my eyes got heavy with sleep. Sunday morning, I woke up, and stayed in bed. I watched three episodes of the “Rookie” that I had been wanting to catch up on and then dabbled in a new video game I had purchased for my PlayStation 4.

I felt relaxed, but not tired. And when the feelings of guilt started to come, I took a deep breath and reminded myself that these simple moments of alone-time, doing things that I enjoy doing, are also part of life.

I went to bed Sunday night at 9:30 p.m. and I woke up feeling fully recharged and refreshed for the week ahead.

Now, I understand that we all do not have the luxury of taking entire days or weekends to spend doing the things that we love, but what if today, I challenge you to find an hour this week to crack open a book you’ve had sitting on your desk or nightstand for a year? What if you dedicated some time to catch up on your favorite television series or start a movie that you have been wanting to view? Play a video game? Work out? Meditate? Nap?

This society has trained us to be busy bodies.

But today, I challenge you to carve out even just a couple of minutes of time for you and you alone. Spend those minutes wisely on whatever will help you unwind, relax, and have fun. Because after all, this life is much more than getting up each day to go to work, care for a family, find time for friends, pay bills, and sleep, until we die.

Let me know what activity or lack thereof you choose this week for your “You” time. I can’t wait to hear them.

Until next time, my friends.


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Great reminder of taking care of ourselves and taking time for those simple moments Ashley!! Hard to get off the treadmill of life, but once it becomes part of our routine we understand how intrinsic it is and how much it actually enhances our productivity!

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