My brain shifts from a world of dreams to wakefulness. It’s completely black outside my eyelids; I can tell without opening either of them’ Knowing I’m on my left side, it would require more than opening them quickly to see the time on the clock. It would require a 180 degree change of direction, and the energy to do that and then opening my eyes to see whatever the time is will make the escaping possibility of returning to sleep impossible.
The warmth of the comforter and the radiating heat from my body at rest makes the lure of remaining in status quo most desirable. However, with the brain now engaged, thoughts of the day ahead mixed with the events of the night before, sleep is slipping fast. As the time can’t be known for sure without breaking the darkness, I roll over and look to see the time; 4:50 a.m. Ten minutes to make the transition to full consciousness complete with covers thrown off, feet on the floor and the body upright instead of reclined.
I have found a contrast in how my body responds both to periods of employment and unemployment. When employed as is the case now, my routine is usually to start writing a blog at 5:00a.m., surf the net at 5:45a.m., shower at 6:00a.m. and out the door at 6:30a.m. for the 1 hour drive to work. That schedule gives me 1/2 hour of ‘me’ time at work before I officially start at 8:00a.m, or is useful in the event of detours, accidents, unforeseen delays of some manner.
At times in my life when I was unemployed, my brain must have had less of a reason to prompt the body to rise, for I remember waking up closer to 8:00 on a regular basis. I haven’t slept until 8:00a.m. for at least 15 years – not even on a weekend or day off.
Should you be currently unemployed, do you find by chance that while your body may be at rest in bed, in what otherwise might be an entirely blissful existence, your brain in full consciousness can disrupt that harmonious state? You know, your thoughts unprompted turn within seconds to what you know you should do but probably won’t to look for work and so the second thing that arrives are feelings of guilt leading to lower self-esteem? And you’ve only been awake for 15 seconds? And it’s early in the morning when you’ve got every right to be slumbering and dozing; time which should be yours to enjoy guilt-free?
Worry and stress can do this to a person. You can find your sleeping patterns thrown off significantly if you are waking up way too early, and then without any real reason for staying awake, turning to sleep during the day to slip back into a deep guiltless sleep where their conscious thought gets turned off, and the stress of unemployment is lost for a time.
Of course sleep mid-afternoon or even prolonged periods of inaction can throw a routine of solid, deep sleep in which you get energy for the entire day ahead out the window. And therefore you might experience night after night of fitful sleeping; then taking a bath at 2:30a.m. to try to soothe your body to sleep, or pills to chemically shut down the brain, alcohol to dull clear thought and sleep.
Problem is that pills, booze – even the bath provide short-term solutions and you soon return to wakefulness and the stress of unemployment, now coupled of course with the guilt of turning to these things to try to escape.
It is routine that can possible help you combat the lack of quality sleep, lessen the guilt of unemployment and give you cause to feel good again about yourself. Working people do have routine; they get up at a set time, shower, dress, eat, pack lunches, do dishes, make beds, listen to the news and get out the door.
So if you are unemployed, you can wake at a set time, shower, dress, eat, do your dishes, make the bed so you don’t fall back in it, get your take on the news. Then you can get out the door if your day demands it, or you can scour the internet for jobs, update your resume, get your references, go to a computer class, check your email. If indeed job searching is a full-time job, don’t do this job in your pyjamas. Treat your job search like your full-time job and tackle it head on.
Maybe put on some lively music just as you step into the shower so as you exit, you’ve got something to keep you moving. No sad songs mind about losing some boy or girl, regretting the one you lost. Dare I suggest it, even disco at 7:00a.m. would be preferably so your mind is active, not starting the day mournfully singing a hurting song.
Scheduling your day before it dawns is a good strategy so your brain upon waking switches to what’s on the menu for the day instead of guilt over another day of the unknown and open calendar.
If you engage yourself, make the job search a project as one of my peers suggests, you’ll find at day’s end your brain has been occupied and the little grey cells firing. Then you’ll find perhaps that the seduction of a warm bed and guilt-free sleep is blissfully anticipated indeed.