Sleep deprivation is one of the most challenging situations to finding your calm when faced with challenging situations.
Aside from advising you to make your sleep as much of a priority as possible – asking others to help you with your children so you can catch up on some sleep; sleeping while your children nap or go to school, having a rest when you can; meditating in an attempt to feel rested etc - I want to also focus on a mindfulness approach to dealing with the reality of sleep deprivation, because we all know that the above mentioned advice rarely is an option.
When we are feeling tired, we often go into resistance. We recognise how tired we are and we roll around in a story about how tired we are and how we never get any sleep (the missing out lens) and how we’re never going to be able to get through the day, and how we just want our children to co-operate.
We create this momentum of resistance, resistance and more resistance to being tired and experiencing life in this state. Your thoughts create how you feel, so what is it that you create by doing this? Being more tired, more irritable and less functional.
We get easily agitated and can go from 0 to 100 in a heartbeat because we feel too tired to fight or deal with the normal battle situations, yet we continue to try, making us feel even more angry and impatient.
We often try to function at the same level that we would if we had adequate amounts of sleep but the reality is we can’t actually function to the same capacity if we would if we’d had a good night’s sleep, so sometimes we need to cut ourselves a bit of slack.
So what’s the answer?
The answer is Allowance.
Allow yourself to be tired.
Acknowledge it, don't resist it.
Don't have a conversation about it, just allow yourself the sensation of being tired and feel it to its fullest in this current moment.
Where does tiredness sit in the body anyway? Where do you actually feel tiredness?
Allow yourself to feel it just as it is.
When you're looking at the 'chaos' around you (the reality that's different to the 'picture of how you think it 'should' be), just look at it.
Observe it. See it without resistance.
The house is messy - it's stuff on a floor.
There's a bill - it's a piece of paper. It will come and go.
Look at it. Really see it there. The price, the works.
Watch and listen to the sounds that come from your kids screaming, yelling and fighting. It’s just sound.
Feel the chaos around you.
Then, Surrender. Allow it to be there. Watch it around you. This is the art of acceptance.
Sometimes what we do, is go into a panic mode. We try to do more, be more and have more. When we are feeling tired, the answer isn’t to do more. It’s to slow down. Allow yourself to be in the moment, instead of resisting it and needing to fix it straight away.
Even when you’re in a moment where you literally do have to take action to stop danger from occurring or just need to get something done, be deliberate about it. Focus on the thing that you are doing with all of the five senses.
When we can allow chaos to be unfolding around us and be in a state of surrender and allowance, often that peace of mind will help you to feel lighter and less consumed by it all, and THEN you start to just systematically work on whatever is happening in THAT moment.
Often what we're trying to do during our 'stacking' moments that cause overwhelm, is fix everything that doesn't even need fixing. In fact, most of the time, you don't even know what's going to even be a problem.
We worry the kids will fight forever or be in this stage forever.
We worry that bill won't get paid.
We think about ALL the housework we have to do instead of just the next task.
We think about the past and what has already happened and we focus on the future.
Just focus on right now.
Where are you? The answer is always here.
How do you know you're here?
Because of what you see, hear, touch, taste, smell.
This is reality. Everything else is judgement.
Come back to one or all of the 5 senses and try to take the labels and judgements away.
BE in the present moment without resistance, without fear and you will feel the overwhelm rise and pass away.
Are you overwhelmed with motherhood and the chaos a new baby can bring? We will help navigate the stress, depression and anger to find your calm. You're not alone, and it doesn't have to be this way. Our 28 Day Challenge is for parents raising babies and toddlers. Find out more information on our Find My Calm within the Chaos program here.