Fatigue

Sometimes, though, I am not simply tired; I am something beyond it. That is a dangerous trigger.

I let myself get exhausted again. I really need to be more careful.

Last night we took the kids to see Christmas lights at our local botanical gardens. It's always a long walk at the garden, and it's hard to not stay longer than you mean to.

After that I stayed up doing whatever I was doing when I should have been sleeping. All of this is to say -- I am tired. Some degree of fatigue is normal for a mother of four, and that's fine. I am usually quite tired by the evening. Sometimes, though, I am not simply tired; I am something beyond it. That is a dangerous trigger.
There are a few culprits, including over-zealous physical activity, too much relational interaction, and lack of good-quality sleep.

I let myself get exhausted again. I really need to be more careful.

When I'm this tired, it's hard to focus. It's hard to think. It's hard to drive. I keep falling asleep as I type this. It is that hard to keep my eyes open, especially as I sit here doing nothing but pressing buttons.

A far away land with people and activities all of my own making keeps coming to mind. I go there when my eyes close sometimes, or I go somewhere else less rational. I go there with my eyes wide open also. It's only bits and pieces today. At times the worlds I make up are so very elaborate -- I might later swear that I've been to these places and have seen these people. (I might swear too that I haven't been to places I have because I can't always separate the two.) Usually, I don't even think about it. My mind just clicks on like turning on a TV.

So, we have a clean room -- it's one room, the family room, that stays relatively neat and has most of what we use or need for the entire day.

TV is one of my coping methods for this issue. Having a trusted TV channel running much of the day helps by keeping me partially focused on some story other than the one I will likely create in my mind. It gives me little chance to run off mentally when I'm apt to. We often have MeTV on all day for this purpose.

We watch MeTV over the air. It's a station showing all classic shows like I Love Lucy.

Another coping strategy is to organize what I can and worry much less (if at all) about what I can't. So, we have a clean room -- it's one room, the family room, that stays relatively neat and has most of what we use or need for the entire day. I spend most of my day in this one room of the house; I even sleep in here most nights. We study in here. We watch TV in here, and we eat in here too. Phone's in here; printer's in here; the Kindles are in here. Books, a whiteboard, and wall-mounted pencil sharpener. I live in this one room.

Job number 1 is self care which includes getting the proper amount of sleep each night.

I talk less. It sounds simple, but it's actually hard for me. I feel like I'm offending everyone around me when I begin to interact less -- and that might genuinely be the case. Still, it is better for me to be offensive in this way, than to keep going past my limits, spiral out of control and completely shutdown.

I rest when I'm tired. That's another one of those of course things, but it is worth mentioning. Practically, the children may have a quiet time -- just reading and building puzzles, while I rest a while. Depending on the time of day, I may let them watch a show or two (or a movie) on Netflix or PBSkids instead of having a quiet period. I'll take the relative quiet time to nap -- with one eye open so to speak -- or do some other pleasurable activity, any number of things that require a good degree of thinking.

These are all short-term, rescue measures. By the time I'm thinking about these coping strategies, I'm already dangerously over-worked. So, job 1 is self care -- getting proper sleep each night, scheduling appropriate alone time each week, finding help when I need it. Actually, that last one might say finding help before I need it just as well.

How does this effect our school? Glad you asked.

Generally, it doesn't. We have the entire day to do school. We usually try to do the bulk of our work in the morning hours, but it is not a problem to move school time to the afternoon.

Sometimes, I do adjust our school day according to my mood. We may do more independent work on a day when I am feeling overwhelmed and save the teacher-led parts of subjects like Language Arts for the next day. My youngest two may look at books together and/or play quietly in another room. Oftentimes though, on a day when it seems that everything is getting away from me, completing something, such as a math lesson, can give me a nice sense of accomplishment. I might even make a checklist just to cross that off it.

Sometimes, we make it to the end of the day, and we haven't looked at our text books or flashcards or anything. It's alright. We'll get to it tomorrow.