As an intern in the emergency room, Joey was always on autopilot. He felt like he ran from room to room trying to manage crises, follow protocol, and stay out of the way of the doctors. He loved what he did, but he was always going. He didn’t have time to think about what he was going to eat for dinner, let alone what he was feeling. When he got home after his shift, his mind would race, and he would recount every patient and doctor interaction that he had that day. He was mentally and physically exhausted. So why couldn’t he sleep?
As the CEO of a startup, Sandy often felt that the success of the company was in her hands. Her time management skills made her highly efficient, and she was able to accomplish more in a day than her employees would be able to in a week. On the outside, it seemed that she could manage any employee, any team and the board of directors without breaking a sweat. When she would get home at night, she felt like her brain was complete mush. As soon as her head hit the pillow at night, she was out cold. More nights than not, she would wake up at 3 A.M. completely panicked about her to-do list for the next day and the following week.
When we move through our day on autopilot, our brain doesn’t have time to process what it needs to process. This can lead to insomnia, brain fog or disturbing dreams. Our mind is like any other organ; it needs time to rest and recover. Pushing through fatigue leads to lowered focus and efficiency.
1. Check-in with yourself throughout the day: Ask yourself questions like what am I feeling? What do I need? When was the last time I ate or drank water?
2. Do something relaxing daily: This could be reading a book, listening to music, taking a walk, meditating or even taking a bath.
3. Do something just for you: Often people are so busy taking care of others and tasks, that they forget about themselves. You can do something as simple as really sitting down and slowly eating and enjoying your meal.
4. Make time to process: Sit down with no noise and just do nothing. What is your mind trying to process? What happened during the day that perhaps you didn’t notice or have time to attend too?
Write it out
If you still have a hard time sleeping or find yourself waking up in the middle of the night, write it out. Write what is making you anxious. Is it something that can wait until tomorrow? Can you write out a quick plan to resolve what is on your mind? If you can’t come up with an idea, is it because it is something out of your control? If it is out of your control, try to accept that it is out of your control and let it go.
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Although I am a registered clinical psychologist with the Hong Kong Society of Counseling and Psychology, I am not a licensed psychologist or any other type of licensed therapist in the United States. The information I am providing here is educational and informational. This social media page does not provide professional advice, nor does it create a professional-client relationship or any other type of relationship between us. You should always consult your own licensed mental health professional before making any changes regarding your mental health. My goal is to educate, guide, consult, and empower you regarding your mental health journey. Always consult your licensed mental healthcare provider(s) and never disregard or delay medical advice based on information posted on this page or post.