It has been a completely draining couple of weeks at our house. My husband is in the middle of a launch for a client. He got a cold that all of us proceeded to share. And now the baby is cutting a tooth, and this tooth is giving her all kinds of problems and fits and fevers.
Sleep has been elusive, short, and fitful. Coffee has been hot, strong, and full.
It’s weeks like this that make me want to say no to all of the things and sit in my messy living room until I have a minute to tweeze my eyebrows and find a shirt and pants combo that isn’t stained with sweet potato.
Meanwhile, in a half a date night last week (yes, we got in half a date night) we watched Yes Man (or rather we watched half of it). And in case you haven’t seen it, the main character is invited to seminar where you have to say yes to every opportunity that comes your way.
And here I am, talking about our yeses and nos and thinking about the movie and also my reality of so little sleep. Where do I invest my yes? Where do I say no?
When I am in a season of little sleep, it’s tempting to shut down completely. But with a husband, little people, a job, and meals to cook, I can’t just stop all the things until I get caught up on sleep. And some things about my life are super life giving and I need those more than ever when I’m feeling oh so very empty.
So how do I know what to say yes to when I’m so. stinkin’. tired? How do I know what to say no to? How do I sort it out when I can’t even keep my eyes open to read this whole blog post?
In the middle of this season of littles, here are some tips and simple things to do when you’re in a season of little sleep.
5 Simple Things to Do When You’re in a Season of Little Sleep
Know your mission.
I’m kind of all about this right now. Does whatever the thing is take away from or add to your mission? Even if it feels neutral or not related to your mission, it will take away times and attention. So use your mission statement to your advantage. Thoughtfully look at it and say “does this xyz increase my ability to be on mission?”
Work the circles.
You should have a small number of people you say yes to with almost no thought. Husband. Sister. Couple of close friends. Kids. You know, ‘your people’. This is your inner circle. When they ask for something, you should be able to give them a reasonable yes. That yes may not be this week when you’re not sleeping. But when you’re a little more rested, absolutely.
(Of course there are exceptions to this and even these people make completely unreasonable requests sometimes so don’t throw your yeses around like glitter.)
Say No more than you say Yes.
Remember that yes and no are the opposite sides of the same coin. People outside of your inner circles should get more nos. So hand out nos to those people like parade candy. No, work associate, I can’t cover for you. No, friend of a friend’s roomate’s cousin, I won’t look for that textbook in storage. Saying no to other people is actually saying yes more to being home, being rested, being with your family. Give nos out to other people while you rest and recover.
Look for little things to be thankful for and say yes to that.
Sometimes, when I am just straight up sleep deprived I forget to say yes to anything that doesn’t get me directly from A to B. I have no energy for a detour. I have no mental or emotional capacity to be willy nilly. But willy nilly can be super life giving. Letting my kids paint is super messy and my gut reaction when I’m exhausted is no – no to the extra mess, no to the management, just no. But my kids will paint for HOURS if the paper stack doesn’t run out. And water colors have yet to stain something that can’t be saved.
I’m so THANKFUL for a few quiet hours where I can meander around and do something or nothing with just a little bit of quiet. And to get to that yes, I have to remember and be thankful for something small – the quiet that comes from some watercolor paints.
Get some rest.
Listen, I have lost a lot of sleep over the last three years, so I don’t say this lightly. This exhausted season may last through the next tooth cutting, the stuffy nose, or the growth spurt. Or it may last through the colic, the baby phase, or until they leave for college (just kidding, Dear God, please let me be kidding). Don’t think you’ll be handing out best yeses in your exhausted state. None of us are at our best when we’re running our sleep tanks on E. So try to keep big decisions to a minimum and get to a (even ever so slightly) more rested phase where you can see things a little more clearly.
Would you add any tips to this? How do you make it through a sleep deprived season?