Saturday, August 16, 2008

Thoughts on media fasts, simplicity, and the frugality of sleep

Let me begin by saying that school is starting again. I am in the process of radically turning over my persona, my daily schedule, and my budget, and so I am a bit - how can we say it? Off? (The turning over in my mind conjured up images of turning over the soil on a farm, and I hope it turns up the same kind of richness and freshness.)

I've spent the past week putting together my classroom, in itself a haven of minimalism and simplicity. I have my desks arranged simply, have 2 posters on my wall and a few quotes ("To be great is to be misunderstood" and "We read and write poetry because we are members of the human race") and a shelf full of books, and I am finished. I spent more of my time visiting with my colleagues, each in a tizzy over "getting their rooms ready," and chatting about life, love, and learning, trying to listen more than I spoke. It's been a quiet time for me, and a pleasant one, and a good transition with the coming onslought of teenagers which I have begun to look forward to.

And yet, and yet. When I come home from school, I am tired. I am drained. I am not used to being away for 8 hours, to waking up before 7 in the morning. I am not eating like I was at home, and I feel lost with my laundry undone and my dinner not started. So I come home, I do my chores, start my dinner, and I sit. I sit and stare at a wall, read a book, or work on some knitting, but I sit in the quiet. I want the quiet.

And so, there have been 3 days this week that I have not turned on my computer at all. That thought used to give me anxiety - I'd be so behind, I'd have to catch up, I'd miss something - but really in truth it's given me peace. When I had time last night, I turned my computer on, checked my RSS feeds and email, and was ready to turn it back off again. It's almost like breaking an addiction. When I've been away from it for a while, I craved it not more but less. It was a relief, since I'll have less time now, but a surprise. I just found an extra hour a day to read or exercise or swim. And I just found myself some peace.

And this week, what I'm most inclined to do with that extra hour is to sleep. In the afternoon with the sun streaming in, at 8 o'clock at night, whenever that hour turns up, I just want to stretch out and take a nap. I don't want to spend or go out or do anything that costs me money. And I couldn't be happier doing it.


Abby said...

Sleep is indeed frugal. It's been in the low to mid 90s the past two days (and today) and it's making my husband and I lazy and vaguely hibernation-prone.

We're trying to avoid cooking and so noshing on things throughout the day. It's very discombobulating.

I'm sure it will get better as your sleep schedule readjusts itself. But re-entry is hard.

And speaking as a Type-A personality, trapped in the body of someone with chronic fatigue, I am here to tell you you have to try to make it easier on yourself. Start planning to be tired for a couple weeks, maybe a month -- who knows?

Plan more fast meals that require little to no cooking. Pack your lunch the night before (if you don't already) so it's one less thing to do when you're bleary-eyed at 7 a.m. Try to figure out the most efficient way to get everything done and don't set the ceiling too high on what needs to be done in a given day. Otherwise you'll waste whatever energy you have on stress and worry.

Meanwhile, get lots of sleep, eat especially healthy for a week or two so that junk food doesn't make you extra logy, and try to just enjoy the ride.

Abby said...

I was recently gifted with an award. You're one of the five people I nominated in turn. You need to copy the image and nominate up to seven people in return (and link to the person who gave it to you)

Hope this brightens your early school year and have a great day!

Anonymous said...

Try a daily multivitamin. Really.

I work in an outdoor warehouse and sweat pints. It makes a noticeable difference.