Anyone else suddenly very good at math when calculating how many hours until you have to be at work?
So many times I’ve woken up at three in the morning to a completely alert brain and a tired body, trying to will myself back to sleep for those precious few more hours, but I couldn’t (occasionally there was alcohol involved… Usually.).
During those times my brain had to remind me about that terribly embarrassing moment from fifth grade. Or it casually thumbed through a lifetime of bad decisions. “Hey, remember when you sewed that anarchy badge onto your backpack in high school? You were such a tool.” Or it had to wonder, “if so-and-so says that shit about HER, what does she say about YOU? Do you think they make fun of you when you’re not around?”
Sigh. The good ol’ witching hour re-hash. The perfect time for you to reflect on stupid shit. I think everyone does it at some point, and it used to happen to me a lot.
And then something changed: I found a cure.
A cure that you don’t have to smoke, drink, or otherwise ingest. Though you probably could if you were feeling frisky.
That cure is… chalkboard paint.
Just kidding. I don’t want anyone drinking chalkboard paint. (If you try it, please post pictures online so I can make fun of you.)
But for me the “cure” for counting sheep (or rather, past transgressions) started with a 3am epiphany, as it were.
“Ok, enough. I’m gonna chalkboard paint that fuggin’ cabinet and hang it on the wall. Right now.” And so I slipped out of bed (a fluffy pup took my place), grabbed some paintbrushes, and got to work.
That was summer of last year, and since then I’ve decided that if my brain isn’t letting me sleep, it’s because said brain needs some exercise. Instead of tossing and turning, I’ll read something, make something, write something, cook something, or otherwise DO something. I’ll sleep when I’m dead, and until then I’m gonna botch a few Pinterest projects.
And then I realized that I don’t have to do things instead of sleep. I do things to let myself sleep. If I do this in my waking hours, I won’t be awake during my sleeping hours.
I have the luxury of working from home, but as part of that I stare at a screen all day. It is my belief that people weren’t made to do this, and after a few months of healing from surgery, I realized the cure for restlessness was, and always has been, getting my hands dirty. Shutting the laptop (which yes, means that The Cares gets updated less, sorry), going outside, planting some herbs, repurposing thrift store finds, building a table. Taking a run with my man. Getting my ass off that couch, away from those screens, and actually using both my body and my brain until I’m so tired that restlessness isn’t an option.
Have you ever noticed when children (or fur children) spend a whole day playing that they sleep like the dead? It’s possible for grownups, too. I promise. Or for those of us 20-somethings who look like grownups but feel like 16-year-olds who sew badges on our backpacks.
Go forth. Shut your laptop. Get off the couch. Go learn to make paper cranes, or check out a concert, or master a new recipe.
Go find your chalkboard paint, and rest easy, friend.
[image via cargo collective]