Is it just me or does anyone else sometimes struggle to call it a day and go to sleep? I’m not just talking about issues getting to sleep and all the necessary sleep hygiene. I’m talking about making the call to stop waking life, leave all your living worries behind and simply end your day.
I usually wake excited and energised for the day ahead. If I don’t, a strong coffee gets me going. I admit to being a ‘striver’, type A high achiever and I’m not necessarily proud of it. It can be a suffering. I use my mindfulness to keep it in check and stay balanced. But I do like my innate driver and ability to create purpose and meaning to my everyday with tasks and daily ambitions.
However, this natural propensity towards ‘doing’ means that ‘not doing’ can feel unnatural, awkward and sometimes even painful. This is when ending the day can be tough. I wonder if anyone relates? Some days I am tired, I lack the vitality to try new things or get challenging problems solved. Some days I am sleep deprived. It is these days when I get stuck. I feel low and slow and lost as to what to do. Obviously, the thing to do is nothing. What is called for in these conditions is a day of rest, no pressure nor expectation and most likely a very early night.
There is no shame in going to bed very early when in this state. I have worked out that when this way of being happens to me, there is nothing to work out. All my inner and outer world problems need not be solved, and my body is allowed to clock off and sleep.
It doesn’t really matter why one gets in this way. But what matters is a radical acceptance of how you are (tired, exhausted, lack lustre for life in general), an awareness of the great need to chill (and not do, push, strive) and then a self-compassionate discipline to end the day if needed or continue your day in a state of not pushing.
I personally really respond to sleep. If I lack it, I feel wretched, get a face of cold sores and eventually end up in a state of ‘bleh.’ So, for me, a remedy of sleep is really useful. I find that if I put myself to bed, and even while it is still light, that this is far more affective long-term than staying up reading, watching tv or meditating. Sometimes ending the day is the most skilful thing you can do for yourself (and probably those around you).
If making the decision to end the day and putting yourself to sleep is hard try mindfully giving yourself permission to do so. Remind yourself that you don’t need to do anything right now, that in this state there’s nothing to be achieved and that ending the day may be the most skilful way of managing yourself. Take faith that with sleep and time off living you will reawaken with the ability to return to you daily life restored and maybe even empowered.
There is so much we don’t understand about ourselves that is unconscious, and in particular, when it comes to the workings on of the mind. There may be a bizzilion brain reason why ending the day is needed. You don’t need to know all that, simply recognise the need to end the day and meet it with as little harm as possible and good faith that this need is transient and you will be back to your normal capable self after your sleep. If for some reason a need to end the day repeats itself consecutively it could be a mood disorder and in this case please see your GP.