So You Slept Terribly and You're Exhausted. Now What?

You know those days when you wake up and feel like crap? And unfortunately, no matter how many sleep-hygiene blogs you reference, in your present reality, it’s too late. You went to bed too late. You ate too much. Maybe you drank too much. But either way this morning you feel like a zombie-fied version of you. And you have that big presentation at work. Or that hot date. Or both.

I had that exact kind of day last week. The night prior, I had taught a class, thrown a small dinner party, and ended up getting a little tweaked out about taxes, causing some pre-bed stress. I ended up getting about 7 hours that night but it wasn't good quality and it wasn't enough. I was tired.

Daylight Savings hit me hard. I had a headache and that puffy-face-feeling to match, and needed to teach a yoga class at 8:30.

Since this isn’t my first low-quality sleep, big-day-ahead rodeo, I had some tricks up my sleeve and I used them. And they worked! So today, I offer the below list as balm for those days when you have to power through and perhaps even slightly against the desires of your sleepy bod and groggy mind. 

WATER | Do not let coffee be the first thing that passes your lips. I know it’s tempting, but caffeine on a day when your adrenals are already zapped isn’t the best idea. Load up on the aqua. And the tea. I had a full glass of water, a mug of some decaf tea actually made with He Shou Wu – a superfood powder I'm loving these days, and then I did indulge in some bulletproof coffee that I carried with me and drank at the yoga studio. Try to keep the coffee to 1 cup though. If you hit that afternoon dip – go for water, tea, and other more hydrating beverages.  It will help break the cycle for the following evening. 

HEALING SOUND | Incorporate some sort of healing in your morning if possible. Listen to a gong or singing bowl track on your commute. Obviously if you’re riding the metro or taking an uber a nice little mini catnap with eyes closed as you listen is a great idea. But even if you’re driving or walking, let the ears soak up that powerful and healing vibration. I love listening to the White Sun II ‘Healing Gong’ track myself but you can find a ton on youtube and even Spotify.

MOVE | Prioritize movement but with less intensity. Walking is great to get things flowing, moving, and to give yourself a dose of energy without too much zing. Yoga is also great. If you have time mid-morning or afternoon at work, take a little walk outside. Even if it’s freezing or raining or really hot. There’s something about seeing the sky, breathing in outside air, and just moving your bones that will help. Now after work, if you are truly exhausted, do not push yourself to go to that Zumba or Soulcycle class. Do it another day! Try some yin at home, go on a longer walk, or give yourself grace- day.

BREATHE | Deepen your breath. More breath = more energy. It really is that simple. There are so many wonderful breathing practices. I'm a big fan of the Dirgha breath (or 3-part) breath. To learn more about energizing and healing breath practices, join my workshop next Thursday Eve in Georgetown, called "Beauty and the Breath." 

HUNT FOR THE SILVER LINING | Stay Positive. Easier said than done on days like this. I know. Trust me. But if you get into a gloom-and-doom rut, chances are you’re going to stay there. Watch something funny on youtube, listen to a song you just love, write a gratitude list that’s perhaps a bit more of a perspective stretch than usual (I’m breathing, I’m alive, I can read…etc), or do some other thing that can quickly call in some joy.

Ultimately, it's essential to honor where you’re at, and make your adjustments. The good news is, you can just have a day where you’re tired, and then you move on. And while you may be powerless in terms of taking a 4 hour nap, you do likely have control over your evening. Cancel plans if you need to in a way of honoring your body. Try to actually go to bed before you did the past night. And please, for goodness sakes, don't finish your taxes at 11:15 PM.