Sleeping Lion
Photo by William Warby

On Friday, after a not so busy day at work, I walked over to my favorite spa in the city for an overdue facial. Near the end, while my esthetician was giving me a scalp massage, she said to me, “You’re not sleeping very well!”

Normally, I’m wary of when non-scientific people make claims about my well-being. Such dismissed declarations include warnings of the lines growing on my neck and my hereditary dark circles. But I wasn’t so this time, because for at least several months now, it is a rare thing that I wake feeling rested even though I give myself 7-8 hours to sleep each night. My dreams, if remembered, are stressful, scary or sad. I’ve woken up crying from my dreams more than once. All of this leads me to feel very strongly that my subconscious is not a happy place to be right now.

It doesn’t matter if a person gets 10 or 11 hours of sleep, she told me; if their mind keeps going and going while they are sleeping, they won’t sleep deeply and won’t get the rest they need. Her advice to me? Think positive. Well, that’s easier said than done.

I’m a contingent worker at a very large financial institution working at a job I am over-qualified for. I have no job security and most people there mistake me for being a banker, something I could be capable of doing. It’s an ego crusher to know that even by appearances, it looks like I should be doing more than I actually am and then knowing that my reality far matches my skills and qualifications.

At 29 years of age, I am still living with my parents. After living on my own in a beautiful, spacious apartment in Miami for 5 years, to know that at this stage in my life I am still not capable of being independent is humiliating. Both of these aspects also force me to stall personal goals; marriage and family, even if I was certain I wanted them right now, are not an option if I cannot reliably provide for them. I’ve also gained 20 pounds that I’m struggling to lose and feeling down does nothing to help me feel positive that weight will come off as quickly as I’d like.

Trying to Think Positive

Since I am now stressed out about the fact that I am stressed out when I sleep, finding “solutions” to my worries is a top priority. Very hard to do when you’re already Negative Nancy. Here is the best I can do to ease my mind:

1. The Job Market/Economy

I have no control over this, it is true. What could I do to make the most of situation? For starters, I should be grateful that I have any source of income, period. There are plenty of people out there with families to support who aren’t bringing anything home. I am not one of them.

Secondly, my job is technically part-time. I could take advantage of that status to free up my schedule and use that time toward activities that would make me happier like exercising, reading or even applying to jobs, as futile as that may be; at least I’d know I was still trying. I could even apply for programs overseas to get some international experience that I am in much need of.

Finally, SAVE SAVE SAVE! Save money for all the dreams I have. My dream home, another vacation, or even to decorate my own place once I get it (and I will get it!). There are plenty of short-term and long-term goals I could meet with this. Really, I’m quite fortunate to be employed at all.

2. Living at Home

Yes, quite humbling, but it has its benefits. My parents’ new extension to the house gives me the best living spaces on our property. From apartment searching, I’ve got a GREAT place for free that could easily be going for at least $1500 a month in this city. Quite a bargain! Living here allow me to continue saving for the goals I have in mind.

Speaking of which, what would I do with my lease if I was living on my own and decided to go overseas for a few months? It would be a nuisance to sublet or lose money paying rent for a place I wasn’t going to be using. Better to wait on that until I decide what avenue I want to take. If I still live at home, the world is still easily my oyster!

3. Marriage and Family

I still have plenty of time. Period. It’s true, the uncertainty of the bad economy raises anxiety as to how much longer my mediocre job situation will continue but the only thing I really need to focus on is that marriage should happen if you love the person and want to spend the rest of your life with him/her. Everything else will fall into place after that. And not being financially ready now only gives me more time to make sure I choose the right person for me. I’m not a patient person but when it comes to lifelong commitment, it’s better to wait and be absolutely sure than to rush and feel uneasy.

4. A few extra pounds

I’m doing a lot to work on this: counting my calories, watching what I eat, cutting back on alcohol intake. I need to do more when it comes to exercising and I need to find activities that I enjoy doing. It will happen if I trust the process, stick with it, and not beat myself up if I fall off course. I had a recent vacation that slowed me down but that’s what vacations do and I wasn’t going to skip lobster stew and blueberry pie knowing I wouldn’t be back here for it for over a year. It’s important to enjoy life, too, and I did. Good for me!

Have any more tips to share? Anything that can help me sleep better would be greatly appreciated. Please comment below.

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