Sleep Deprived and Caffeine Dependant

Posted by piphunt on June 6, 2011 in Fitness |

I often feel exhausted, and frustrated by this exhaustion. Instead of taking a deep breath and taking a break, I often blame myself. What is the matter with me? Why can’t I keep up? Am I not eating the right foods? I believe that if I get the best possible nutrition I will be able to keep pace with everyone else. But what is this pace? And who are everyone else? With what standard am I measuring myself ?

When I take a step back from the frustration and evaluate the bigger picture, I’m a pretty damn busy person. My average day consists of riding a bicycle in some form, either commuting to work (13.7 miles each way), or mountain biking, or a combination. Then there’s Crossfit, which is my actual “workout”. Throw in work, training at the gym after “work”, and weekends full of running, hiking, mountain biking,  stand up paddle boarding and keeping my pantry stocked with healthy snacks and meals, I’m stuffing a lot into my days. O, and a social life, I try to fit that in too.

 

Who then, am I comparing myself to when I am frustrated about being tired? I’m not really sure. We live in a world that is go, go, go. One that has replaced sleep with caffeine, nutritious food with convenient food, and healthy exercise with fads claiming “five minute abs”. As a society, we just don’t have time. Which leads me to my next question, is it me that is “abnormally” tired, or is it the cultural expectations? I was reading a story on NPR earlier today which raised a valuable point: “‘It’s a combination of driving ourselves and having high expectations of ourselves, but also of society making a lot of demands on us, so they kind of add up to give us insufficient time to sleep,'” (psychologist Harris Lieberman). Instead of heading to bed early enough to get 7-8 hours of sleep before the next day, we stay up late, watching t.v., catching up on work, trying to check things off of our never-ending to-do lists and wake up reaching for that first cup of coffee before we even think about breakfast. This definitely isn’t healthy or sustainable. It’s just plain mean to our bodies.

 

What can you do to change this? What is on your to-do list?  What do you have to do right now? What can wait? Is it time for a rest day? What can you do in your life to sleep more, stress less, and still enjoy life? I think this is where  we (as Americans) need to take a chapter out of the Italian’s guide to life, and learn how to just sit down and relax. As I write this, I have images of myself running through Sicilian streets as little, old men flag me down, waving their arms, yelling at me from across the street, “slow down, have a coffee, take a break! You, little lady, are working much too hard.”

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