I’m tired today. I’ve been staying up too late at night lately and I find that my body has these weird time set points regarding sleep. I first noticed this in college and I’m really seeing it come up again now.

If I’m in bed by 10 pm I can usually fall asleep by 11 pm. But if I miss falling asleep by 11 pm I’m up until 1 am staring at the ceiling no matter how tired I am. Then, if I miss the 1 am deadline of sleep then I’m up until 3 am.

It’s pretty brutal.

Last night I missed the 11 pm deadline and I was awake until 1 am totally exhausted but unable to sleep. Then, at  4 am after a mere 3 hours of sleep, my phone rang with a wrong number. 15 minutes later my daughter woke up with a bad dream and needed me. Then I was awake until 6:30 am when I got about 30 minutes of sleep.

So, again, I’m tired today and I’m focusing on how to get through it with the least drama and the most peace and staying on my food plan. It’s always so much harder to stay on my food plan when I’m sick or tired.

I did my errands after dropping off the kids at school this morning and came home. I have 35 papers to grade for my students and a list a mile long of chores to do, but I went up to bed at 11 am and tried to take a nap. Wouldn’t you know it, I couldn’t sleep. So I read a book for about an hour or so and then gave up and returned to slowly getting things done.

I’ve stayed on my food plan today, turning to my rock solid staples in order to avoid any pitfalls. It’s amazing how much comfort I can find in the routine of knowing that these foods have gotten me through in the past and so they will get me through today.

Sometimes I panic a little and before I’ve eaten I fear that what I am going to eat won’t be enough. This usually results in me throwing extra food in my lunch bag or an extra bar into my purse but the truth is I rarely need it. If I just give myself a chance, I’m fine.

It’s almost laughable how often I have to remind myself of that: If I just give myself a chance, I’m fine. I’ve graded 5 papers this afternoon and I plan to do 2 or 3 more later today.

Part of my disease of being a compulsive eater is that I tend to go “all or nothing” with everything I encounter. Exercise everyday or never. Grade all the papers now or I’m a lazy jerk.

You probably know the thinking.

I’d like to get all the papers graded by the time I go to bed on Friday night, because I’m leaving for the Thanksgiving holiday on Saturday morning and I’d like to have them behind me, but I’m not going to batter myself in order to get them finished. They’ll get finished when they get finished.

I’m starting to have a little more faith in myself that things will get done and I don’t have to knock myself out to do them. I have a lot of historical evidence to support that idea. The Christmas after I graduated from college I went back to my school during vacation to visit with my friends who hadn’t graduated. I told my family I’d be home on a Monday night. When I arrived home on that Monday night I was really sad that I had had to leave and wished out loud that I could have stayed longer. My sister asked me why I hadn’t stayed longer since I didn’t have to be back at graduate school until the following week. My mother said, without looking up from what she was doing, “Because she said she’d be home Monday night so she came home Monday night.”

At the time it floored me. But she was right. It’s still true. When I say I’m going to do something, I do it. Sometimes it gets me into trouble because I’m too rigid about it and I need to allow myself flexibility. But, for the most part, it keeps me honest, and I like that. After all these years I think I can begin to trust myself that if I plan to get the papers graded by Friday night I’ll figure out a way to make that happen and I don’t have to ride myself too hard about it in the meantime.

Especially, when it means that by giving myself a break from the internal taskmaster I can get through my day with grace.

I plan to go to yoga tonight as planned even though I’m tired. It’s will make me feel good and I don’t have to push myself to the max while I’m there. But with being sick last week and missing out I feel the need to move and stretch and get connected to my body again.

Then tonight, the agenda is sleep.

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