30 Days of Thanks: How to Have Gratitude When You're Bone Tired and Haven't Slept in Weeks
Having an attitude of gratitude can lift your spirits even when you're running on fumes.
It’s 3:45 am. I’m sitting on the floor, back up against the bed eating a fun pack of Skittles. Why do they call this a fun pack when it’s really just a tease? It doesn’t matter. It’s gross that I’m eating candy in the middle of the night. It’s also gross that my leg hair, which I just caught a glimpse of, is long enough to lie down, maybe even comb. Yup, there are a lot of things happening in this moment that are the opposite of attractive, things that would probably gross the common person out, things, let’s just say, that would never support me in getting a rose from the The Bachelor. But that’s not what I’m going for. Attractive, that is. No, I’m going for something more basic, something called survival.
Yes, of course, I’m being dramatic, but how can I help it? I haven’t slept in what feels like months, but in actuality, weeks. And believe me, I’m not trying to down play that; “weeks” with an “s” is a long unit of time. Why the bad attitude? My 8-month old baby daughter is teething and waking often through the night. And I am a natural-born insomniac who struggles to get back to sleep after waking. These things together are clashing against my general well-being, giving me an average of a few hours of sleep a night, with expectations to meet for work during the day and another child to raise.
But this story of severe sleep-deprivation is as old as time for a parent. This is how it sometimes goes, this baby phase. Some handle it better than others. Some lucky sons of guns escape it altogether. And here I am, too tired to move, eating Skittles from one of many fun packs that I hoarded from the bowl on the counter at the bank.
Even as I sit here, exhausted and feeling strung out, I realize that things could be worse, much worse. This lack of sleep makes my head cloudy, depletes my energy and makes me less productive. But I can’t make it a bigger deal than it is. Thank goodness the baby’s healthy, and we’re all doing fine. And then I held that thought. Other than this lack-of-sleep hiccup, we really are all doing just fine. And though I may have started off feeling upset about this severe exhaustion, and even though I really am bone tired, I am reminded that there’s always something for which to be grateful in every instance. Negatives can be turned into positives. Even right here and now, at 3:50 in the morning. And so, I start to get thankful…
I am thankful for this time of severe sleep deprivation as it helps me to appreciate the value and luxury of a full eight hours of sleep, which I’ve learned to accept that I may not see until baby girl goes to college.
I am thankful that I only have the fun pack size of Skittles, even though I think it’s dumb, because the last thing I need is a cavity and two extra pounds in Skittle-weight. I’m also thankful for the “S” stamped on every single Skittle, because that’s a lot of work, dude.
I am thankful for seeing the hair on my legs to remind me to reclaim dignity with a razor tomorrow morning.
I am thankful for my husband’s snoring and what sounds like sleep apnea right now because though it feels like he’s just throwing his sleep in my face, it makes me feel better knowing one of us is getting a good night’s rest. P.S. I’m also thankful for the existence of sarcasm.
I am thankful that my baby has fallen back to sleep. She looks like an angel sleeping in her crib even if she didn’t inspire that comparison 10 minutes ago.
As I slowly started to name the little and yes, somewhat inane things for which I’m grateful in this moment, my general feeling of gratitude get stronger, and it leads me to realize the abundance of blessings in my life. My body, which was formerly tense and achy, is now feeling relaxed, and I feel downright lucky to be sitting here, awake, contemplating all the things for which I am thankful.
I am thankful for the amazing, little person who gives me the reason to be awake right now. Thankful, I could be the one to comfort her when she wakes in the night.
I am thankful to be her mom. I couldn’t be more in love.
I am thankful for my son, my family, friends and all the love and happiness in my life.
I am thankful for my health. Thankful for this life!
It’s true what they say that having gratitude is the key to happiness and abundance in life. In a matter of minutes, I went from feeling depleted and discouraged to feeling euphoric with gratitude. I will always strive to be grateful, whether I’ve slept in two weeks or not, for things big and small. Sometimes all it takes is being thankful for a bag of Skittles…
There’s so much to be thankful for, we can’t fit them all into one post! Check out BabyZone’s 30 Days of Thanks page to see all the things—great and small—that we can be grateful for each day.
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