Sunday, April 13, 2014

Simplify: Not That Simple! (But one thing you can start TODAY)

It turns out, simplifying one's life is not that simple.

It's one thing to say, "Get rid of half your stuff"... and would definitely lead to a simpler, easier to maintain lifestyle. Thing is, paring down your stuff takes time. Then you have to do something with it -- donate it all? Yard sale? Sell it online? All these things take time, planning, organization.

There's a huge limit on my time and energy these days... with three kids, meals, chores, activities, and just the basics of keeping a household running (somewhat) smoothly, there is very little time OR energy left over. I guess this whole simplifying thing is a process -- a  long one, with a bunch of steps. It can seem a bit intimidating at the outset (like exercising! which I'm also not doing much of these days!)...

However, there is one thing you (and I) can start doing TODAY that requires no advance planning, no tools or research, and no real adjustments of the schedule. Yet it's something that makes a HUGE difference in your life. Are you ready for it?...

GET. MORE. SLEEP.



I know. Who has time? Well let's put it this way: when you sacrifice sleep for anything else -- whether it's work, or chores, or TV, or reading, or (gasp!) social media -- you are not getting any further ahead. You're actually taking a step BACK, because the next day is wrecked: your energy is low, you're not as productive, you'll be more stressed out. None of these are good for you, but the solution is actually pretty straightforward:

Get more sleep.

That's it. It's that SIMPLE (see what I did there?). Go to bed an hour earlier than you usually would for one week. See what happens.

I can tell you that for the past week or so, I've been staying up way too late, and I am feeling it in very real ways in my 'daytime' life. After supper is the chaos of kids' bedtimes. By 8:30 we're back in the kitchen cleaning, packing lunches and backpacks, getting things ready for the next day. Then there's tending to the garden (at least, the plants in my furnace room). Around 9:30 pm, I'm getting in the shower... and then instead of just going to bed, I flip on the TV and check my email (I need ME TIME!) and before I know it, it's way past the time that I should have gotten to sleep.

I know I'm not getting enough sleep because:

  • I'm not sleeping well at night. Oh the irony! I'm not getting to bed at the right time, and it's throwing my whole night off. I can't get to sleep as easily, and I'm tossing and turning. (Yes - I know exercise would help here too... one thing at a time people.)
  • I'm yawning a lot. People who get enough sleep don't do this.
  • I'm hitting <snooze> a lot. People who are well rested don't need an alarm clock to wake them up.
  • I'm eating more junk food. I eat out of boredom, mindless entertainment, to pep myself up when I'm feeling low and energy is waning. (It doesn't work)
  • I lose my cool far too easily. When I'm not tired from lack of sleep, I can keep my emotions in check and maintain a pretty even keel. (Shut up Hubs, nobody asked you. ;))
  • My eyes are heavy, and I'm doing that thing where your eyes glaze over and you stare off into space. You don't do this when you're getting enough sleep!
So... I'm getting real again, and making a decision to turn off the stuff, and shut myself down an hour earlier, starting tonight. Yes, I need me time... but I need sleep more, because lack of sleep is affecting everything else.

How about you... are you doing any of the things from the list above? Are you getting enough sleep?? What would happen if you went to bed an hour earlier than usual for the next week? Want to try it with me?