Throughout my mental healthy journey, I’ve learned a lot of things. But I’ve had to unlearn even more. In the next coming week(s) I’ll be posting blogs about the top three things I’ve had to unlearn. I hope you’ll learn a little something from them.
I’ve had to unlearn the mantra, “Sleep is the cousin of death.” Obviously, you need sleep. But I never knew how important sleep actually was until I didn’t get any. Last year I went a week with an average of 3-4 hours of sleep a night and couldn’t function properly at work. I was depressed, anxious, angry and felt physically ill. If sleep is the cousin of death, then hello darkness my old friend. Sleep should be a necessity, not a luxury.
For years I wanted to be THAT girl. The girl that did it all, or at least tried to. I envied women who were booked back to back to back. Who woke up and went to the gym, then went to work, then volunteered, then went to happy hour and still had time for a bubble bath, book and wine at night. All while having an All-Star lineup of bootycalls on deck or being married with a kid. I soon realized that some of these women were still unhappy, and that most of these women didn’t actually exist.
Still, I felt that I had wasted so much of my life being a loser that I had to overcompensate until I caught up to the person I thought I should be at my age. It got to the point where I couldn’t sit in my living room and just chill out, because I felt guilty about it. I couldn’t focus on one thing at a time, I had focus on 3 and still have 3 more things going on in the background. The worst part was I wasn’t doing anything impactful a lot of the times, I was just staying busy for the sake of being busy. Then, came the “self-care” movement, which basically told me that everything I just learned to do was WRONG.
I’ve since learned that even the busiest, most successful people give themselves a break. I’ve (re)learned quality over quantity. To not feel bad for stepping away from your desk. To stop what you’re doing when you’re feeling overwhelmed. That no job is worth your sanity. That it is OK and sometimes necessary to absolutely nothing. And that sleep is actually the cousin of … productivity, happiness and health.