The end of the year: A time for reflection, change, and goal setting.
In January I posted a list of goals or resolutions for 2013. I’m pretty happy with how this year has gone. My overall focus was my personal Mental Health, and I feel like I’ve come a long way. We have continued with our “Farm Diet” and added some new food items to our routine. I’m yelling at my kids MUCH MUCH less, which is awesome. I’ve learned to let go of too-high expectations for myself. And I can honestly say that the single most important decision I made for my own personal health – physical as well as mental and emotional – is getting enough sleep on a regular basis.
Sleepless nights are part of a mother’s job (and some fathers too!), sometimes dragging on for years and years. But there comes a point when the kids are old enough to sleep all night, and maybe even to sleep in on the weekends (we’re not quite there yet)! My early birds wake up somewhere in the 6am hour almost without fail. But they do sleep all night – mostly.
It took a few weeks to get my body used to falling asleep by 10pm, but I was committed, and I did it. And then once I was getting 8-ish hours of sleep for about 2 or 3 months, I started waking up naturally about a half hour before my alarm. I think I finally got caught up, started getting enough sleep, and then my body adjusted itself to what it actually needs. So now I make sure that I have a minimum of 7.5 hours a night.
I feel like ME again. I feel like the fog has lifted from my head (I do still have mommy brain – that ditzyness that starts as pregnancy brain and then never really goes away), but my mental clarity is so much better. I feel like I’m able to enjoy my kids instead of being frustrated with them all the time. I don’t feel exhausted all day every day. I feel more human, less zombie.
I have noticed that the rare nights when I don’t get enough sleep (sick kids, unavoidable late nights, or girls’ nights out), I feel like my “old self” the next day – the grumpy, angry, easily frustrated mom that I don’t want to be.
I also took the “Orange Rhino Challenge” over the summer. I haven’t written much about it recently, because there hasn’t been much to say. My mood is so much better most of the time. I still have moments of frustration and times of yelling, but I don’t feel like it’s constant, or the norm. And I definitely feel the struggle to not yell when I haven’t had a good night’s sleep.
My point is : SLEEP is so important!!! Yes, there are seasons in life when you have to sacrifice sleep, and that’s why God invented coffee. But sometimes I think we just let the busyness of life rule us and we choose not to prioritize sleep. I have gone to bed many nights feeling like I still had things to do – unfolded laundry, dirty dishes, scattered toys. But I have chosen to make sleep a priority, and I (and my family) have really benefited from it.