FINALLY THE FINAL DAY OF March 2020 — The COVID Diaries: Staying Sane in a Time That’s Not

 

Dear Diary,

IT’S FINALLY THE FINAL DAY OF MARCH.

I don’t say things like “egads!”, Diary, because people who say that are a billionty years old, but I FEEL like I’m a billionty years old after surviving March 2020, so

EGADS! WE DID IT!

And now we head into April which VeryPossiblyLikely will be even longer than March, BUT WE ARE NOT GOING TO WORRY ABOUT THAT RIGHT NOW. We are just going to take a deep breath, Diary, high five each other (from a safe distance), and worry only about one day at a time. Or when we can’t do one day at a time, we’ll decrease our goals to one hour at a time. One minute at a time is also an acceptable increment. 

These photographs have zero to do with this diary entry, but I took them on a walk and they make me happy, so VOILA! Here they are.

I’ve been experimenting with sleep since we entered self-isolation on March 16th. 

It’s a Top Contender for Ways to Stay Sane in a Time That’s Not. 

For years, I’ve read the articles and seen the studies on Sleep Deprivation in the Western World, our unhealthy obsession with cramming an increasing number of activities into each day, our harmful attempt to build a sense of self-worth on the items we’ve checked off our infinite “to do” lists, and how, really, we and our children would be psychologically better off if we could slow our breakneck speed and get the rest our minds and bodies desperately need. 

For years, I’ve seen the suggestion — and the data that support it — to set a bedtime and a wake time and stick to it. Consistently. Instead of running at a deficit during the week and trying to make up for it by sleeping in on weekends. And I’ve seen the similar suggestion that we head to bed at a regular time and then allow our bodies to wake up when they’re ready, instead of to the blast of the alarm.

But ALSO, HAHAHAHAHA!, I have children. And jobs. And appointments. And children. And errands. And social engagements. And flights to catch. And children. 

So a Regular, Reliable Sleep Schedule was only a fantasy. 

A pipe dream.

A mirage. Something that appeared real at a great distance but impossible to capture in reality. 

“The world would have to stop for me to have a consistent bedtime, much less Adequate Rest every night,” I thought.

But then the world DID stop.

And I have no place to be other than home for the indefinite future.

And my babies only wake me up every 4th or 5th night at this point.

So I’ve been experimenting.

For the first ten days, I went to bed by 9:30pm and set my alarm for 8am. 

The last five or so, I’ve gone to bed by 9:30pm and set no alarm at all. I’m waking up between 8:30 and 9:30am, well rested. 

WELL RESTED.

As in, I don’t feel drunk on exhaustion every morning. Or dread upon hearing the alarm. Or intense and overwhelming stress at all the To Do’s on the docket for the day. Or nausea at the thought of leaving my bed. 

It’s weird.

Lovely. But strange.

Now, I still have to take medication to fall asleep (thanks, Depression!), and that medication is aided significantly by CBD balm which I swear is a miracle product, and I wear earplugs because of the aforementioned children, but all things considered, IT’S BEEN A DELIGHT.

So much so that I’ve started to wonder how I’ll ever manage to go back to the Way Things Were.

So much so that I’ve wondered not just Which Things This Crisis Is Highlighting in Our Broken Society That Simply Cannot Continue (*ahem* I’m looking at you, healthcare-for-profit *ahem*) but also Which Things This Crisis Is Highlighting in ME That Simply Cannot Continue. 

I have no answers yet, Diary. I suspect it will take a Very Long Time before any of us really understand the ramifications of what’s happening currently. 

But I do know I’m in a better mental space for allowing myself to rest.

Finally.

Also, Diary? Here’s a picture of an alpaca.

I can see it from my house.

With Love,

 

 

 

P.S. We have another  missive from our sweet and kind Fairy Message Mother:

You are loved.

True truth.

You are.

ABOUT BETH WOOLSEY I'm a writer. And a mess. And mouthy, brave, and strong. I believe we all belong to each other. I believe in the long way 'round. And I believe, always, in grace in the grime and wonder in the wild of a life lived off course from what was, once, a perfectly good plan.
3 comments
  1. Alpacas are good. Sleep is good. Your photos are beautiful.

  2. Does staying up until 2:30 am and then sleeping until 10 count?

    Also, that’s one heck of a charming alpaca!

  3. Good morning dear fellow traveler. Thanks for the celebration of THIS morning.

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