I’m tired of being tired

I’m tired, y’all.

stress photo

I’m the type of person who will hold it when I need to use the restroom so that I can start a load of laundry in the washer and get my dirty dishes out of my lunchbox so that my time in the bathroom is not wasted. As if taking care of something as basic as peeing is a waste of time if I’m not also doing something productive. I’m the type of person who can’t read a book anymore. I have to be taking a bath and reading, or driving and listening to an audiobook, for me to feel like I’m not wasting time by doing something as indulgent as reading a book without accomplishing anything else at the same time.

When I scroll through my Facebook memories, I see that I have been tired for years. When I was in elementary, middle, and high school, I was tired. During college, I was tired. I got married, entered grad school, had a part-time job, and was tired. I got divorced and I was tired. I moved into my own place and had my first full-time job, and I was tired. I moved again and got a new job and had a freelance side business and I was tired. I worked on my exercise and diet habits, lost a bunch of weight, got married, tried to have a baby for 18 months, gained weight, stopped talking to my mom, got on antidepressants, realized I was in an abusive and controlling relationship, moved out, got divorced, stopped talking to my dad, and I WAS TIRED.

September 28-29, 2018 I completed a Ragnar Relay race and I was tired. Like, really really tired. I got 3 hours of sleep on Thursday night, 2 hours of sleep on Friday night, and various naps in a van during a two day 200-ish-mile race. Also my book was due to the publisher on October 1. And I was tired.

Now, the race is over, I have an extension to finish the book so I feel confident in what I hand in to my publisher, and I am looking forward to finally not being so tired.

But there’s one problem: I don’t know how to not be tired.

Overworking myself is not a temporary season of my life. It’s habit I’ve developed since childhood. It’s instinct. I’m always going, going, going, taking on new projects, trying to creatively solve problems, and looking ahead to the next to-do.

It’s exhausting.

I keep hearing stories of people in their 30s and 40s having strokes or heart attacks brought on by stress and I know without a doubt, that could be me. I know I need to slow down, to rest, to be still, to stop being so damn tired. So I’m going to learn.

Decision fatigue

One of the reasons it’s so taxing and exhausting to have so much going on all the time is because of a little thing called decision fatigue. Just having a bunch of stuff to think and make decisions about is a mental stressor. Something as seemingly simple as choosing what to wear in the morning can throw your whole day off if you open your closet to face a bunch of options. We get paralyzed by the decision. It’s one more thing to do.

Gina from This Family’s Journey writes about decision fatigue and how simplifying your life can help reduce stress and boost overall productivity since your brain doesn’t have to have so many tabs open just to make the basic decisions of the day anymore. I recommend you check out her post! (Her email to me was in my inbox for nearly a month, marked unread five different times, while I waited for the motivation to write a post about this topic.)

Reducing my stress impact

I am dedicating the next 6 months toward learning new “lower impact” habits to reduce the stress in my life, focusing on the following areas:

  1. Rest
  2. Food
  3. Movement
  4. Schedule
  5. Creativity
  6. Home
  7. Finances
  8. Work
  9. Social media

If you are also tired of being tired, stay tuned. I’ll be blogging my way through this process as I start over from scratch to learn the basics of human existence. How to eat things that make me feel good, how to get enough sleep to feel good, how to create a home that makes me feel good, and how to do work that makes me (you guessed it) feel good. I want to feel good.

PS. I’m on Facebook hiatus, so follow me on Instagram @caitlinfisherauthor for social media updates.

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My not-so-minimalist bathroom

Hi, I’m Caitlin, and I am a recovered Just-In-Case-A-Holic.

I took the opportunity to remove everything from my bathroom while I was cleaning it, so I could take an honest look at what I had.  My findings astounded me.

I am ashamed.

How about those four brand-new deodorants? The two packs of makeup remover cloths when I hardly wear any makeup? Four bars of soap that came with me when I moved out of my ex-husband’s apartment.  Two brand new bottles of body wash for my boyfriend, two for me, plus one for each of us that was in the shower? Five tubes of toothpaste?

This has to stop.

I quickly began to sort, based on what I would keep, what I would transfer to someone else or to the donate box, and what I could toss.  Tossing was easy — old cosmetics and a hairbrush.  The transfer/donate pile got the his & hers body washes, lotion, one of those bottles of baby oil, and some other odds and ends (like my two extra pairs of tweezers).

The stuff I kept got sorted further still — would its home be the shower, the medicine cabinet, under the sink in the vanity, or in the “bathroom” bin on my bedroom shelf?  Shower and medicine cabinet stuff got put away, and here’s the rest of what made the cut:

Much better. I also left out the kitty litter scoop and toilet bowl brush. Those are givens. Plus, I didn’t want them on my bed.

The clear tote box is my “refill” box, with deodorants, soaps, contact lenses, and toothpaste.  I vow to not buy any more of those things until I use up what’s in this box.  Purple box has the overflow that I use semi-regularly but doesn’t fit in the bathroom, so it stays on my bedroom shelf — it has a hairdryer, flat iron, cotton balls, and various hair and makeup odds and ends in the zip bag.  Pink polka dot box has lady stuff in it.  The white-lid container is for kitty litter (the litter box is in the bathroom), and the small cup is a shaving kit I got as a gift for my boyfriend.

Here’s how the finished bathroom looks:

Daily things —  dental hygiene stuff, face stuff, hairbrush.

Shower stuff — his & hers body washes (to be replaced with a single bar of soap upon their demise), shampoo and conditioner, face wash, shaving cream.

In the vanity — refills, lady stuff, kitty litter stuff, extra toilet paper, and cleaning stuff.

One more step toward just enough. I would like to be rid of the excess soaps and toothpastes before I move again, so I’ll be sure to work my way through this stash before I go buying anything new.

I love how clean and light my bathroom is when I don’t have clutter all over it.  How do you keep your bathroom free of clutter and just-in-case items?

Giving it away

A big part of why I have accumulated Too Much Stuff is that I spent money on it, or someone else did, and I feel guilty throwing away something that I bought (or someone bought for me).  Many times I decide to start a new hobby, or home business, and then I get bored, or it’s too much work, or I otherwise stop.  I feel like a failure, and there’s all this Stuff everywhere that reminds me of my tired hobbies.  I promise myself I will pick up again, really make some earrings, really book some home parties to sell my products, really get back in the (metaphorical) studio to do some paintings, really buy a domain name to sell those paintings, really make that quilt, and so on and so forth.

This has to stop.

I am going to focus on one artistic hobby: Painting.

I will not buy any jewelry making kits. I will not buy a sewing machine. I will not buy tissue paper in every color of the rainbow. I will not buy any new painting supplies, until I legitimately need to replace something in my supplies.  When I buy new things, there will be a one in/one out rule — I will toss one item for every item that gets added to the collection.

Today, I am putting into the mail a box full of my in-home party demo items, to send to another consultant in the in-home party business I attempted and have thus far basically failed at.  All I ask is that she reimburse me for shipping.  She’s getting hundreds of dollars of product, product I bought… and I really don’t care! I just want it to be gone!  I don’t want to move it anymore!

Today, I gave away a box of craft items.  Tissue paper, glue sticks, markers, crayons, colored pencils, card stock, ribbon, pipe cleaners, cake decorating items, and more.  I gave the whole box (a very nice craft caddy box with compartments and lots of storage) to my boss’s sister with the caveat that I never wanted to see the stuff again.  She happily left with her new craft items to go home and organize them in her own craft area.

Awesome. Two huge areas of my room, gone, donated, just poof! And I don’t care.  I learned from my mistakes — no more impulse purchases, no more “I’ll get around to it” projects… I tossed all my old high school and college tee shirts because I hadn’t made a quilt out of them yet and I didn’t trust myself to actually, truly get around to it.  Bye bye, stuff!

Un-plug

Hi, my name is Caitlin, and I have an iPhone.  There are so many apps for that.  My phone gives me a daily barrage of information about people that I really don’t need to know.   I wake up in the night and check my phone.  This has to stop.

I am constantly connected.  Facebook is my biggest vice.  I upload photos, share a dozen statuses a day, comment and like people’s posts, share funny photos, and exchange messages with people.

Facebook began as a way to keep in touch, not a means of being constantly connected.  I would like to get back to Facebook basics.  I won’t delete it, because it is my sole means of communication with several people, and I do use it to keep in touch with people from my past and present, but I need to cut back.  Seriously.

Today, I went to all of my “Close Friends” pages, and switched off the “Close Friends” feature that sends their every status update, link share, and photo upload to my notifications and my handy dandy iPhone.  Now I will only get an update when someone actually interacts with me.

Along with Facebook are Twitter and Foursquare.  I downloaded Foursquare to save $10 on my vet bill last time I took my cat in for an exam.  Seemed pretty awesome, free $10!  Then I started adding my friends, and now my phone lights up all day with updates about where these people are.  I don’t need to know that information.  I deleted the app.  I do not care if my childhood friend is at his apartment, at the grocery store, at his apartment, at his grandpa’s house, at his apartment, at the convenience mart, at his apartment at any and every possible moment of the day.

Twitter is a source of entertainment that may soon go away for me as well, but I’ll keep it for now.  It keeps me in the loop of my best friend and sister when I’m not talking to them regularly, and that’s nice.  But do I really need it? No, I don’t.  But I’ll save it for another day.

Back to Facebook! I challenge myself to only post one status update per day, for a week. I will see how that goes.  People might think I died.