17 days left…

It feels like forever but in reality it’s only a snippet of the twelve weeks I’ve committed to working these particular two jobs. One ends soon and when it begins again it won’t be nearly as stressful (due to factors that cannot be discussed for the next seventeen days). I promise to dish later.

In the process of this, I’ve learned some things that I thought I ought to share. Here are my twelve lessons for twelve weeks.

1. Sleep – Sleep becomes you number one priority when you aren’t getting enough of it. Some people may exist well on five or six hours of sleep but I do not. If you are someone who needs eight and a half hours to really be rested, seven will not cover it. Don’t try.

2. Mental Space is really important – I used to talk about emotionally detoxing when I get home from work but I haven’t had time to do this and I can feel it. At various times it’s reduced me to grumpiness, confusion, slight bouts of rage, and even sobbing tears. Just like the fact that my body needs time to recharge, my brain needs time to recharge as well. Allowing myself to space out and letting my mind wander proves to be quite helpful.

3. Sugar will kill you dead – On the days where I’ve allowed my tiredness or grumpiness to justify indulgences in sugary treats I’ve felt a huge difference in how tired and grumpy I feel. Not only does it compound it, but it makes me sore, even more hungry, and even more sugar fiendish. Not good.

4. Aspartame will kill you dead – There are days where I just want a Diet Coke like a Zombie wants brains but unlike the protein zombies get from brains, I get nothing out of Diet Coke except for a headache. Aspartame gives me all the same symptoms as sugar but with the addition of a killer headache.

5. It’s okay to draw on yourself – I can’t possibly be the only one who does this. I have a temporary “tattoo” that I draw on myself when I’m feeling particularly stressed and trapped in a situation. Like right now. My right wrist reads, “Sempre Libera.” I may not feel mature enough to get a tattoo but this is what I would get if I were to get one.

6. You will be grumpy – There isn’t really any getting around it. My emotional defenses are down and I lack my usual patience. It’s okay but I have to learn to coexist with that impatience without going all zombie and biting someone’s head off.

7. Music = Therapy – There’s nothing like a strong driving beat and angsty lyrics to make me feel better.

8. It’s okay to crack – While it was really embarrassing to cry in front of co-workers, it’s okay. Despite the fact that I expect myself to show no signs of wear, others do not have that same expectation for me. I’m allowed to have a moment

9. It’s okay to stop for a minute – Yesterday I took the day off. Normally I wouldn’t do that but after the crying incident it was expected. It was really helpful. The times that I have taken to stop for a minute have been really valuable to my physical and mental health.

10. Sleep Mask! – Yep, I wear one. I probably look like a dumbass but what do I care? I don’t sleep well and wearing one helps me to not be waken up by light. I have a few of them that I cycle through and that I use for different occasions. One comes with me to work so that I can take an afternoon nap when I need one. It totally makes me that girl but I don’t care.

11. Ergonomics are super important – I’ve been in more pain lately because of this whole affair and so day job ordered an ergonomic evaluation for my desk space. They made some changes and now I am much more comfortable. Granted, they didn’t give me the arm chair and lap desk that I requested (some people!) but it’s helped a huge amount.

12. Caffeine? Not so much – I’ve never really been a coffee drinker (understatement! I hate coffee) but I am an avid tea drinker. At the start of the twelve weeks I tried to down as much caffeine as possible but it was only making me unable to sleep well at night (more so than usual). I can’t say that I’ve cut it out completely but I’ve limited it to 16oz of tea before noon.

So, those are my lessons for the moment. There are probably many more that I should be learning but you can only do so much in one day… as noted above.

What lessons have you learned from similar situations in your life?

P.S. My apologies to those who (like me) don’t like it when people change the format of how they write numbers. It just looks better that way in the title.

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