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How to Prioritize Rest/Yourself

by LP 4 months ago in how to
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When we talk about prioritizing rest, we tend to lean towards a conversation of finding ways to incorporate rest because we pride ourselves on being so busy. Are we addicted to being busy?

How to Prioritize Rest/Yourself
Photo by Max Duzij on Unsplash

Sleep was never my top priority. I was never over-tired in any way, but I was just always excited for my day. Daytime was for being awake! When I was little I would jump out of bed to hang out with my mom as she got ready for work. My dad usually got up early himself, so that was just something I’ve always known. My sister was the one to sleep in, more than the rest of us, so she held the ‘typical teenager’ status in our house. I think I remember the first time I really ‘slept-in’, for my standards anyway. I had a sleepover in my parents' basement when I was in grade 11 and slept in until 11 am. I remember thinking that the clock must be wrong!

So, this is how I was my whole life. Up and at it! Staying busy.

Over 5 or 6 years ago my Adderall prescription became an addiction. It’s difficult to look back and pinpoint the initial timeline where the addiction really took off. But if I am being honest, it was very attached to my ability to stay busy. I definitely didn’t notice it right away or even really consider it to be an issue.

October 2020 is when I stopped. Because of an unrelated health scare, I cut myself off cold-turkey.

During this time, and especially at its worst, sleep was different. It started gradually. I would lose a night here or there. Pop another pill (or two) in the morning and head off for my day. As the years went by and the addiction got stronger, it eventually became extreme. Multiple nights a week. Sometimes being able to fall asleep for a few hours by 6 am. Mornings were emotional havoc. The ‘pop-and-go’ routine I had enabled wasn’t quite doing the trick like it used to. And the effects were lasting longer and longer into the night.

Losing sleep really was such a strange sensation. The 8-9 hours of nighttime would go by quite fast. It was all a blur, for many reasons. Reasons that were easy for me to ignore in the face of addiction. But also, reasons that would eventually catch up with me and affect my mental health.

Reasons you can try to ignore your sleep problems:

1. You can hide it or work around it - At least to a point, just being tired is a good way to brush it off. We all have secrets.

2. Stimulation and addiction - Automatically generated distractions and excuses. Just as much in play with “bad habits” as substance issues.

3. Ego - Convincing yourself is the first and the last step. Meaning, people often allow themselves a lot more lenience than they will allow others. It doesn’t take much to tell yourself that whatever you're doing, whenever you are doing it, is fine.

Side note: “Reasons you can try to ignore your sleep problems”. Replace the word “sleep” with "bad habits". Tailor this process to your life.


What are the loops of cause and effect that generate my problems?

Can I truly face my self, my choices, and my life rationally?

In what areas can I instil change?

Do I actually want to reconnect with my inner power and help myself?

I knew I was depressed before quitting. I also knew that it wasn’t simply my addiction that was the source of my depression. But facing it head-on without the excuses and distractions from stimulants was a whole other level of reality that I needed to acknowledge. And although I didn’t feel prepared, I also felt that, for me, that was just another excuse. I felt this overwhelming need to get my life back on track, met with a just as powerful of an urge to keep strolling down the same damn path.

Addiction can be this. You can see both paths so clearly. And you may want your old path or a new path. You can imagine the idolized life you had and could have again. There's a tomorrow you can imagine. But the force of that bad habit is pulling you in different directions. These paths are the choices we have to face in life. Making choices that allow you to wake up, feeling refreshed in the tomorrow of your future.

This is my own story and a very short part of it at that. By no means is this the only addiction story. Addiction is many things. I recognize that quitting anything cold-turkey is not an option for the majority of people struggling with the disease of addiction. What works for one is never the only solution. But, what works for one can hopefully help inspire new solutions.

I hold unlimited gratitude for the specifics of my personal situation and unlimited empathy for people struggling in any way in their own life. I believe in you!

Reasons to put your sleep schedule first A.K.A. Reasons to put yourself first:

1. Honesty - The lifeblood of living in the moment. You don’t have anything to hide and you can allow yourself to live authentically.

2. Health and energy - We all know the saying ‘health is wealth’, let yourself experience the lucidity of this practice by giving your body what it asks for.

3. Empathy - Allowing yourself to learn, grow and change lets you see new paths and opportunities from outside your own bubble.

P.S. - Blackout curtains are essential.

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