Saturday, May 16, 2015

Life and Exhaustion

One of the hardest things about becoming a parent is the exhaustion. I have a lovely, but energetic, nearly two year old daughter, who is learning (slowly) to sleep through the night. I also teach violin and viola (part-time), write (as often as I have energy and time), play in local symphony orchestras, exercise (mostly walks in the park with my little girl), spend time with my husband, and keep our apartment from disastrous levels of messiness. Some days (or weeks. or months) I can feel overwhelmed.

It's hard to fight exhaustion when you have so many responsibilities. No matter how I feel in the morning, my sweet little girls needs me. My students need their teacher. And I'm the type of person who wants to do the best job possible for everyone, and give as much as I can. So what to do when my baby has a difficult night and I don't get enough sleep, or when I have to work all weekend playing symphony concerts or assisting at students' performances?

It's tricky, and I don't have all the answers. I've been trying to go to bed earlier and develop healthy sleep habits. Among other things, I'm trying to watch less TV and spend less time on the internet. It's fun to read interesting articles online, but it also sucks into my time. Likewise with TV, and it's hard to watch it when I'm usually too tired to concentrate anyway. I've been avoiding caffeine in the late afternoons as well.

Mostly, though, I'm learning to try and let go of my excess stress. Stress and internal pressure drain away my emotional energy more than many of the physical tasks I do. I've often used techniques like awareness or deep breathing to calm my nerves before performances. Now I'm using these techniques to stay calm in high-stress life situations, from dealing with traffic, to handling difficult people, to staying calm when my little girl manages to coat herself and her new outfit in mud/spaghetti sauce/juice/all the things.

The truth is, I have a great life. I have a beautiful family, a job I love, and great outlets for my creativity. When I stop to think about it, I see how happy I am with everyone and everything in my life. That's why it's so important to stop, to think, and to take a deep breath. Exhaustion is a sign we need to rest, and an opportunity to reflect on what's important in our lives.

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