Jul 262012

No, I’m not letting go of this blog…

Assuming you’re reading this at the time of posting; yes, there was a reasonable break in posting, for a variety of reasons.
For those who end up reading this AFTER the time of posting, on some sort of archival plunge; yes, I know that seems to happen a fair amount. ;-)

Stress is a funny thing.

Most people constantly complain about “being stressed”, but what these people usually mean is that they have:

a) too much stress upon them

b) the wrong KIND of stress upon them

This makes much more sense to me than simply saying “I am stressed” because, frankly, we are ALWAYS stressed; the main changes are simply volume and type.

This relates pretty well with how people in The Movement usually “test” their movements in the Gym (as well as other things…) It’s an attempt to assess how we are reacting to a certain type of stress (the movement) and a certain volume (loading, speed, amount of work etc). It is used to attempt to maximise the constructive stress-load at a given time, while minimising exposure to less useful stress types or reductive stress loads. (That’s how I see it, in a nutshell.)

That’s not really what I want to talk about today though. Physical stresses, I mean. I want to talk more about mental stress relating to physical stress.

I’ve spoken before about distress you can’t justify avoiding and I want to expand my thoughts on that a bit.

A variety of decisions in my life come together to limit my sleep quantity and quality quite significantly. I have tried many approaches to address this, with little success. It all comes down to my having to choose one (or both) of two options to address the problem with a high probability of success:

  • Ignore my daughter when she wakes up at night and let her “cry it out” (ugh).
  • Go to bed much earlier, sacrificing the primary time I get to spend around my wife on any given work day.

Basically, neither of those options is acceptable to me. Such is life.

So, now what?

Experimentation continues, but on a different track. I am testing out an attitude change which I hope will bear fruit.

Instead of attempting to improve sleep quality, I am attempting to improve my relaxation pre-bedtime, with the simplest step I can think of: Letting go.

Letting go of what exactly? Letting go of worry. Letting go of the thought “I should go to bed soon, since there’s not much time left to sleep.”

What makes me think this will help? I observed (among other things) that on the occasions that I have cigars in the evening, I usually wake up feeling surprisingly refreshed, even with limited sleep time and multiple wakings from Violet.

Obviously, the nicotine could contribute (especially as I do not smoke cigarettes and cigars are VERY occasional), but I think perhaps the ritual and letting go of worries could significantly help.

Starting with Simple

I can think of many other things that could help along the lines of this concept. For instance:

  • Meditation.
  • (Minimal Effective Amount of) Alcohol consumption in the afternoon/evening.
  • More cigars.
  • Time management of tasks (finish tasks earlier in the evening to give more “free” time).
  • So on and so forth…

Everything has its associated cost/benefit prediction and some are options that I may explore more in the future. For now, however, I’ll start at the beginning: simply making the attempt to not worry about the issue. It may not solve it, but perhaps reduce the stress hormones associated to more manageable levels and result in a better state upon waking.

Or… maybe not! Sometimes you just don’t know until you test. (Spotting a theme?) I’ll let you know how I go!

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