It turns out sleep is the route to all happiness. All those people who think it’s about money, friends, random acts of kindness and yoga are wrong. It’s about sleep. End of.
It’s been nearly a month since I wrote about sleep deprivation, anxiety and losing myself a little bit. Since writing that post I feel like a different woman. There are a few things that have led to this sudden upturn in happiness. Sleep (obviously) is the biggest factor. I have a whole other post to write about this but I don’t want to tempt fate just yet.
Another thing (and a big one) is friendship. When I wrote that post I had some messages from friends who I didn’t even realise read this blog. And then it was my birthday and I ended up going all slushy over all the amazing cards and presents I received. One friend (hi Natalie!) sent me a beautiful bouquet of flowers through the post and another (hi Katie) spent the day with me having lunch and a walk in the countryside. It helped me realise I’ve got a wonderful group of lovely people around me and I should probably snap out of it already.
I guess just knowing people still cared about me (I know *violins*) made a big difference. When you’re feeling low it’s easy to get locked into your own little bubble of darkness and it can feel rather lonely. To know other people were thinking of me jolted me out of that bubble.
My oldest friend sent me an ASOS voucher (hi Ellen!) and I spent it on this gorgeously comfy “I Want To Be A Unicorn” slouchy sweatshirt. I love it. I know I’ve said before that material things don’t buy happiness, but I don’t think that rule counts for jumpers that are so comfy it feels like you’re wearing a warm hug.
Feeling a bit more normal has helped me to appreciate all the little things in life that I’m usually pretty good at noticing, but haven’t done in a while. Like the smile on my kids’ faces when we go to the park. Or the rubbish jokes the NLM cracks on a daily basis. Or when I get up in the morning and the dishwasher has been emptied already and I get five extra minutes to enjoy a hot cup of Earl Grey.
Hitting a funk turned out to be a good thing, because it forced me to reassess parts of my lifestyle and tweak a few things. We joined a local health club and I’ve been going to the gym two nights a week. I’m not really a gym person but there’s a lot to be said for half an hour to clear your head on a running machine, followed by a long swim and an even longer session in the sauna.
Spending less time online has also helped – especially in the evening. I’m trying really hard to have a work cut-off point in the evening, so that I don’t end up sitting in front of my laptop and then going to bed, to inevitably lie awake with a buzzing brain. I’ve started reading books again at bedtime and being a bit kinder to myself in general. I am absolutely convinced this has made me a more patient, less stressed and shouty mum recently.
Really though, it’s all about sleep. And that, mainly, is down to the NLM and his amazing support over the past month. More on that another time. For now, here’s to sleep. Long live sleep!