Most nights, I sleep all night. Like waking up feeling refreshed and ready to take on the day sleep. Other nights, like tonight, I wake up a few hours before I want to.
Here are 10 things that keep me up and how I handle them:
- Not giving myself enough time to reflect or process life. Sometimes my schedule is so packed that I’m literally running from meeting to meeting, until I pass out. When that happens I find myself up in the middle of the night processing…
- Excitement and/or nerves about a big presentation. I’m an extreme introvert, so anytime I have to give a big presentation it literally sucks the life out of me and I have to recharge. I’m so consumed with doing well that there is little room or space in my mind or heart for anything else. My secret is to over prepare, which usually happens until the morning before the big presentation.
- Travel. I don’t want to oversleep, or miss my flight due to crazy Chicago traffic. I set two alarms and then I think about what I’ve packed, making sure I didn’t forget anything.
- Energy feels off with certain people. I try to pay attention to my intuition. Sometimes I meet people and something just doesn’t feel right. I try to process what may be causing that feeling and a course of action to either confirm or get rid of the apprehension I may be feeling.
- Big, next lifetime challenges. Poverty, mass incarceration, mental health stigmas, high homicide rates. There are certain challenges in our society that keep me up or wake me up early because they cause so much suffering and it’s not something that has a quick & easy fix.
- Comparisons. I read somewhere that comparison is the thief of joy. Sometimes I find myself “counting” other people’s successes, material goods, degrees, grants. It’s hard not to in our social media rich world. The cure for comparison is to count your own blessings. As humans we may find ourselves comparing ourselves, our projects, our lives to others. It’s important to snap out of it!
- Other people’s problems. I’m super sensitive. When people that I know go through struggles, I care deeply. I interact with so many people, and a large number of people have easy access to me. Sometimes people call me to “dump.” To spill out all of their emotions and problems. I listen. I try to provide solutions. But that doesn’t remove the sting or the feeling of being overwhelmed. Because of that, I try to build in self care regularly. Time to “purge” any negative thinking and time to focus on my challenges…
- New exciting ideas. Epiphanies wake me up. I’m never far from my phone or notebook so that I can capture things and then I’m usually able to go back to sleep.
- Thinking about the future. I don’t dwell on the past, but sometimes I can get stuck thinking about the future. I have to remind myself to be present.
- Love. When my husband travels for work or when I travel, we often end up talking in the wee hours of the morning. He’s also a night owl, so I often find myself up, hanging out with him.