When to pull yourself together

I’m exhausted today. Two long shifts at work with a rather late finish at nearly 1 am yesterday (or today, if you prefer). Not enough sleep, obviously. With the days getting longer again and the sun out all day, any attempt to even try and sleep some more is doomed to fail. Also, tomorrow I have an early shift, so there was no point in trying to sleep in today.

My brain feels muddled and hay fever has struck me down as well. It’s a beautiful spring day outside and I can barely get up from the sofa.

What a lovely day off…

Oddly, I still managed to get some stuff done. Such as laundry, making lunch for the next three days, dusting, and even ordering new glasses, which I’ve been putting off for weeks.

I keep thinking that I need to get up and go check on my motorbike because I really wanted to take it to work tomorrow. I really really do. It’s been such a long time since I rode my bike and I miss it. The weather is perfect right now. But I can’t move.

It seems a miracle that I managed to do as much as I did. This includes writing anything at all.

There is still time. I can still jump on my bicycle and visit the parking garage to check on my bike. I can still enjoy some sunshine and the warmth they bring. I can still buy some grapefruits.

That’s what I keep telling myself, even though I just want to take a nap.

The question is, do I need to pull myself together and go out to do what I feel I should (perhaps even must)? Or do I allow myself the rest my body clearly needs?

Will I regret not checking on my bike and therefore definitely not taking it to work tomorrow, instead of cycling as usual, which also provides a lot of enjoyment in weather like this?

Will I regret not getting up to get myself fresh grapefruit?

I could do one and not the other. If I decided to check on the bike, I have no excuse not to also go to the grocery store as it would be on the way home anyway. But since the garage is further away than the grocery store, I might still go to the latter and only have half the regrets when skipping on one but not both errands.

We all have arguments with ourselves very much like this all the time. We are tired or even exhausted and still have a bunch of things we want to do or could do or even need to do. We feel bad for being tired. We feel that we need to pull ourselves together and simply do what we must, and things will perhaps sort themselves out. We can always sleep later.

Or we want to avoid feeling guilty over the things we leave in favor of resting. We want to avoid regrets down the line.

Often it is really just about small things, a bunch of errands or chores. But bigger things can be involved as well, commitments, decisions, or people. I’m not going to get into the big questions of life, mind you. Not right now anyway.

The fact of the matter is my body tells me no. It needs rest. It doesn’t want to jump on a bicycle and ride anywhere. And I will survive not riding my motorbike to work tomorrow. I will also be able to do without a grapefruit tonight.

And perhaps, in an hour, I feel up for it after all.

We generally know when we are still capable of pulling ourselves together for one reason or another. We have enough energy left to do just that. But there are times, when it shouldn’t be necessary, and it shouldn’t leave us with feelings of guilt or regret either.

We shouldn’t ignore when we need a break or proper rest.

We’re always told to have healthy boundaries with the people in our lives. We must also have boundaries with ourselves, which includes recognizing our needs instead of pushing them away.

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