Stressed Out?

We are nearing the end of a school year and a long season of busyness. This is leaving many of us sleep-deprived, stressed, and even depressed about a variety of things. Here are a few reasons why:

  1. You don’t have adequate rest.
  2. You aren’t enjoying moments.
  3. You aren’t getting enough sleep.

(Yes, sleep and rest are two very different things, and we need both to live calm lives.)

Here are several ways you can de-stress your life as we approach a new season, starting with obvious ideas and going into deeper strategies.

1. Get some sleep.

Yes, you need it, and coffee won’t solve all your problems for you. Our society seems to be tired all the timeand it isn’t healthy. Tonight, try beginning your “going to sleep” routine a little earlier. Tidy up your room, lie in bed and read something, and let yourself calm down.

2. Slow down.

Stop rushing. Plan ahead. Do some things slowly. Think about what you’re doing. Think about your life. Think outside of your life. 

3. Pray.

Let it out. Tell God. Your prayer life doesn’t have to be all about asking God, you can just tell Him things sometimes. Explain how you feel and why you feel it. Ask Him to help you.

4. Talk to someone.

Call up a friend. Text someone. FaceTime your family. Just please, don’t post something depressing on Facebook. Find people you can unload on, and let them unload on you. Talk things out together.

5. Take a walk.

When’s the last time you took a walk, and it wasn’t to get somewhere? If your answer is yesterday or today, you probably don’t need to hear this. But if you can’t think of the last time, then just go! Listen to nature or the cars or whatever you hear outside. Use it as time to think through things.

6. Read a book.

Have you ever felt like reading a book took you out of your own situation? That may just be what you need right now. I don’t think it’s healthy to run from your life or your problems, but it’s certainly helpful to take a break now and then. (Here’s a shameless plug for you: if you’re looking for reading material, my book The Fantastical Journey of Gavryn Wickert comes out in August – hopefully. Here’s an update on it.)

7. Do nothing.

Just sit for a few seconds and hit pause. You might be surprised how much you need it.



Tiredness Culture: What it is and How You Can Fight It

You probably heard someone say that they were tired today. Or maybe you told someone you were tired today. The reason this is so easy to predict is because people are constantly letting everyone know how tired they are. This is what I call Tiredness Culture. And (not to blame teens for everything) young people are even more prone to this than adults.

Tiredness culture is based on five principles:

  1. I am tired.
  2. I need to let others know I am tired.
  3. Everyone else is tired. (justification)
  4. They need to let me know they’re tired.
  5. The cure is not sleep, the cure is coffee.

This is one of the three things in our society that annoys me the most (the others being liberalism and NASCAR which are pretty much the same thing because they both go around in circles making a lot of noise). It annoys me because it becomes so redundant over time, and it’s never a surprise to hear someone say “I’m tired” as soon as you begin conversing or even as soon as they enter the room. Don’t misunderstand; I know that sometimes it’s hard to fall asleep and sometimes you have too much work to get done, so you inevitably wake up tired. But the level of redundancy is rising so quickly that the only thing more predictable for you to say is “um.”

Another evidence of the plague of tiredness is the rabid thirst for coffee. People of every background and economic status share their coffee conversion stories. Sadly, many of these stories begin with “I hated coffee, but in my freshman year in college…”

How to End Tiredness Culture

If you want to join me in the exhausting work of ending tiredness culture, here is what you can do.

Don’t drink coffee, or just drink decaf.

A little coffee may be good for you, but most people drinking bucketloads of it are damaging their tiredness receptors and making themselves feel even more tired when they aren’t loading themselves up with the drug of caffeine. In order to stop this, we must end the drinking of coffee for solely energetic (or lack thereof) reasons and promote the use of decaf ground and water-strained dirt for those who pretend they actually like coffee.

Don’t tell people you’re tired.

Don’t go around announcing your own tiredness. Everyone already knows you are tired because you are breathing and look generally like a human. Contribute to an actual conversation by talking about what you are reading or watching or thinking about. Don’t be redundant.

Don’t acknowledge others when they say they are tired.

If you do acknowledge them, do it solely to let them know how redundant their common refrain is. Be sure to sound very judgmental and make them feel ashamed of admitting they feel the way everyone else does.

Get sleep.

Please, people. Get your rest! Don’t stay up until 3 am! Not everyone must be a morning person, but every person must get out of bed in the morning. I’m not the best example of sleeping habits (I tend to get around seven hours), but seven is better than six and eight is better than seven and nine is slothful; don’t sleep nine hours.

Conclusion & Disclaimer

If you decide to take up the tiring work of combatting tiredness culture, email me so I can send you a Starbucks BOGO you’ll need for all the people you’ll be correcting!

Disclaimer: This post was written tongue-in-cheek, but I am only half joking. Tiredness culture is a real thing that annoys me to my core. Much of the advice and thoughts above are truly heartfelt.

Trouble Sleeping? 10 Tips for You

Do you have trouble sleeping? So do I. The bad thing about this is that your body is probably happy to stay asleep once you’ve gotten there, and there can be a temptation to skip your morning activities and head straight to work or school. So I have gathered tips from all over the web to help you get some shut-eye.

Throughout the day…

#1: Exercise

Exercising in the morning or afternoon greatly affects your quantity and quality of sleep.

#2: Read (Before Bed)

Reading for a few minutes before you turn out the light can help calm you down from a long day and give your brain something to think about before you nod off.

#3: Journal (Before Bed)

Let your thoughts flow, writing down what’s occupying your mind. This will help you stop thinking about them as much.

#4: Have an Evening Ritual

An evening ritual is a set of habits that will help you calm down and prepare for sleep. Also, after a time of sticking with roughly the same order, the ritual will tell your brain to prepare for sleep as you do it.

Last minute fixes…

#5: Imagine…

Imagine that you are sitting on a beach. You can feel the sand underneath you, and you can see the sun in the distance slowly starting to set. The waves pulse on the shore, and you see people taking walks up and down the pier.
Doing things like visualizing a pleasant place can help you fall asleep. You can try things like beaches, forests, rivers, or mountains.

#6: Be A Statue

Freeze your body into place once you’ve found a comfortable position to sleep. Scratch an itch if you need to, but focus on staying deathly still. This method works well in tandem with #5.

#7: Tell A Story

Tell a happy story to yourself. It can be real or imaginary. Don’t worry about the quality of the story, just get your mind thinking about something other than sleep.

Things to remember…

#8: Don’t Get In Bed Unless You’re Tired

Trying to fall asleep before you’re tired usually just makes it longer until you feel like sleeping. If you’re in bed, and you have trouble sleeping, think about taking a cue from some of the great thinkers of the past; that is, just get out of bed and do something useful! When you’re tired, get back in bed and sleep.

#9: Don’t Think About Sleep

Do anything you can to get your mind off of sleep. Thinking about it will only keep you up.

#10: Pray

God grants sleep to those He loves. Pray and ask God for sleep, and if that doesn’t work, He might have something He wants you to resolve.

Bonus: This article on sleep from Wikipedia will put anyone to sleep.

Questions: What things have helped you fall asleep? Why do you think sleeplessness is becoming more of a problem in America?

Hope it helps!