This past week I’ve needed a lot of grace.
I’ll be the first to admit that I have very high expectations for myself. I expect a lot of myself.
I’ve been told that I’m pretty hard of myself at times. I think that’s the result of being a child of a perfectionist and a high achiever.
As you know I quit my job and my last shift ended last Sunday morning, so last weeks plan was to start getting my body and life back to normal.
I had planned to go to bed and get up at the same time every day and that I would get back into my exercise routine in full swing. Monday started out well… but then came Tuesday and I was exhausted. I truly didn’t have the energy to exercise so I listened to my body and took the day off. But my exercise schedule only allowed me to have two days off that week and Tuesday would be day two, so that would mean I would need to exercise everyday for the rest of the week to get my 5 days in.
But Wednesday found myself just as exhausted, if not more. It was like my body was finally allowing itself to feel all the exhaustion- like it was given a safe space to stop fighting the shift work life and allow itself to finally fully rest.
So on Wednesday I felt terrible and was really hard on myself to get this exercise in but I also felt torn because I knew my body just needed the rest. So what do I choose? My determination or self care?
Wednesday afternoon came around and I had my peer group meeting for the class I’m taking to get my coaching license. Once a week we meet and coach one another, practicing the skills we learn in class. There are three of us so one week one coaches, one observes and takes notes and the third is the client.
Last week was my turn to be the client and I had prayed about what to talk about, as our teachers wanted this to be a real issue, and I felt God ask me to talk about my health- I could talk about quitting shift work and the journey I’m now on to get my body back into health.
So I was in the hot seat on Wednesday and I’m chatting away about quitting my job, my health issues, my recent diagnosis and the reasons for leaving work. I explained how I was struggling to get my exercise in and that I had set up this schedule but that my body seemed to be really fighting my mindset.
Then my peer coach said to me… “Sounds like you don’t have a lot of grace for yourself right now.”
Wow. That hit me.
I’m the all about grace girl. I’m always telling people to have grace for themselves and to show grace to others. How did I miss that?
We are always so perceptive when it comes to others but not always to ourselves, right?
So I was challenged in that moment to give grace a foothold. I needed to change my perception. I needed to allow myself the grace to just be. My body needs rest.
So at the end of the call I decided I needed to be easier on myself and needed to allow myself to actually rest. So things I focused on instead were:
- My sleep routine. I stuck to going to bed at the same time (though there were nights where insomnia wouldn’t let me fall asleep when I wanted to) and didn’t set an alarm. I just let my body wake up naturally.
- I focused on drinking lots of water.
- I tried really hard to make healthy food choices.
- I am working on developing a routine throughout the day to keep myself focused and productive while being unemployed (and being on lockdown).
- I also wanted to focus on my circadian rhythm. I researched about circadian rhythm and wanted to implement some of their suggestions to get this back on track. I learned about Light Therapy and have started to try to incorporate more opportunities to be outside and in the light during the day so that my body lowers its melatonin during the day so that it only produces it when it gets darker/later in the day so my body knows when to go to sleep.
Did you know that if you work one awake, overnight shift your body needs 4 days to recover?
It’s been really interesting learning about my body during this week. My body seems to fall asleep between 10-11 pm and wake up generally between 7-8am naturally.
I also realized my body doesn’t love my mattress. In the past, I only slept on it half the time because when I was on night shifts I would sleep on the couch as my bedroom is at the front of my apartment which is on one of the main streets in town and it's pretty loud during the day. So last night I slept in my spare bedroom (experiment) and realized I love that bed more. So today I am switching my beds. I like projects and keeping busy so that will help me today.
So, I’m learning. I’m learning about what it looks like to find rest in this season.
The timing makes me laugh a little that I’m on this journey during a lockdown. God knew I needed this.
I hope I continue to offer myself grace in this rest season and allow myself to fully rest so that I have more to give once lockdown is lifted. I also hope my body finds what it’s looking for.
I really love finding God in the little things and at this moment I’m listening to Joyce Meyers' podcast, as I write this she’s talking about “Your Body is God's Home,” and she’s talking about the importance of rest and sleep. I hear you God, I’m listening.
As always, thanks for spending some of your Monday with me,