Meditation: Calm, Deep Sleep Length: 10 minutes Where: In my bed, Los Angeles How It Felt: Did the trick
So, as I wrote, I did choose another sleep session for yesterday’s meditation. I was asleep by the end, so that’s a positive! However, I woke up several times during the night feeling super anxious.
There are certainly some life reasons for this. Lots to get done on a tight schedule today, for one. It’s also been jarring to go from a busy, full household to an empty one so suddenly. Normally, that would feel normal, jumping from a houseguest to the next thing, no problem, but I think this past year has done a number on me. I’ve been in quarantine so long, socializing is a big deal now!
I’m starting to feel like a creature coming out of a dark cave after hibernation- I can’t stop squinting into the light!
I am a true introvert- a shy introvert at that, believe it or not- but I love people and wanted a big life, so I taught myself all the tips and tricks I could to get comfortable in social situations. I read books as a kid about being a good conversationalist (yep, I’m a nerd!), I balance my time out with my quiet time in so I don’t get burned out, I have a super extroverted husband I can count on to help carry the conversation when we are together, etc. I am genuinely fascinated by other humans (or I wouldn’t love acting so much), so I lean into that when I’m socializing. It’s a myth that all introverts are super quiet or hate being social- most of us just hate the banality of small talk.
My point is that I worked hard to get comfortable being very social, and I’ve never in my life just… stopped for a long time. It’s clear to me that some of these skills are muscles that need exercised regularly. It might take me awhile to get back into normal social shape!
A lot of my friends have discussed feeling this way, too, even the more extroverted ones. I went to a dinner not long ago with a few close friends- one I’ve known half my life!- and we laughed the whole night about how awkward we were all acting. Even my friend who was just visiting- the one I’ve known since I was twelve? I found myself losing the thread of the conversation with her more than once, like my brain just got tired of focusing on whatever we were saying.
It was weird!
So, what I think is happening now is that I’m just completely mentally wiped out from a very short, simple visit from a friend. Normally an evening alone would have restored my mind and reset my need for “alone time,” but now it’s like I need days and days of it. Thinking about running around today, to various appointments, Zoom calls, attending a virtual play, etc- I got overwhelmed somehow, like I wasn’t ready for life to start again.
Maybe, in general, I’m also a bit panicked about the bigger picture- life actually starting again. I’m so excited about so many things, but I think I’m aware on a deeper level that it won’t just be like flipping a switch. There are going to be some growing pains as the world starts up again. I won’t necessarily just be able to jump in full speed, however much I want to do that. There are mental health considerations here, likely for a lot of us. We will need to be a bit gentle until we get used to a steady flow of activity and social situations again.
To bring it back around the circle, I relearned a lesson I already learned: meditating during the day in a focused way helps my anxiety immeasurably. Those sleep meditations are nice, but they don’t do the same thing for my brain that a regular meditation does. I should not sacrifice those too often.
I can always meditate twice if I want to do a sleep one, too!
Love yourself, be gentle, be kind, friends!