We need self-compassion for those long days. The trouble with long days is not having to deal with one long day. Most of us can grit our teeth, and bear down, as we push through a day with little sleep, and lots of obligations. You know the days I am talking about. You drink a little more caffeine, eat a little more food, and grumble to yourself and others. It’s not pretty, but we tend to make it to the finish line with enough of our sanity to spread on a sandwich.
Long Days Are Contagious
The real trouble with long days is that they are contagious. After a long day, our autonomic nervous system is active. Our bodies are a little warmer, and something about this overwrought feeling makes it hard to get to sleep. And so, one long day turns in to two, and so on and so forth. It is not too long before we are burned out, and although we may be able to get out of bed and to work, this kind of unhealthy cycle tends to affect our relationships negatively.
The Effect Of Long Days On Your Mood
A long time ago, they ran a sleep study on astronauts in space because what else are you going to do out there? Check the weather? “It’s still black, and full of stars!” “Thanks, Kevin!” So, each day they were deprived of more sleep, and they measured the effects of this condition. The results are pretty funny, if you know what to look for. Basically, they acknowledge that you still have enough cognitive function to perform basic tasks and some higher level ones with as little as 5 hours of sleep. However, they also mentioned that there would be some mood dysregulation. That’s right! You are surviving on 5 hours of sleep, but letting loose on every innocent person, who gives you the slightest reason. The moral of this story is that too many long days have consequences.
Self-Compassion For Long Days
So, how can we practice self-compassion for long days? First, acknowledge that you are experiencing a long day, and the physiological effects it is having on your body. Second, take more breaks to help you recover from the extra stress. It will be easier to shutdown at the end of the day, if you have practiced shutting down throughout it. Third, when it is time to go to bed, notice how you feel. Name it. Make room for it. Notice how you have come by it naturally, and allow these feelings to pass, as you drift off to sleep. Give yourself some extra time to rest, as it will probably take you longer to fall asleep. Finally, do your very best to allocate time over the next day or two to take it easy, and rest. We would all like to pretend that long days never happened because they stink, and effect productivity. Nevertheless, if you want to be happy and well you are better served by honoring your experience, and bringing compassion to it.
365 Days Of Self-Compassion. Day 260. In The Books.