Northwind Pharmaceuticals, Worksite Clinic

What’s Keeping You Up Tonight?

RipleyIt’s 3am. I’m up tending to our little English Bulldog, Ripley, as she endures a painful leg cramp. With my children mostly grown and the fears of storms and other terrors of the night (mostly) a thing of the past, I’m reminded that the night can still hold the boogeyman for each of us.

Why is it that things always seem worse at night? The darkness and shadows seem to conspire against our most rational thoughts and sow doubts that can seem overwhelming. The problems we faced during the day seem to magnify, sometimes reaching epic heights (or depths) depending on our frame of mind. Unfortunately, there are many who lose their battle with the demons that emerge in the darkness. My heart goes out to those who have struggled or are struggling with complete hopelessness. This post is not about the darkest tendencies that confront us in the middle of the night.

As human beings, we all struggle with things from time to time. Those feelings often emerge fiercely in the night:

  • Isolation
  • Frustration
  • Disappointment
  • Feeling Overwhelmed/Trapped

As professionals, we experience the same feelings as we confront the challenges of our careers and businesses. The night can hit us hard as we face the deepest issues of our occupation:

  • Tough decisions
  • People issues
  • Financial difficulties
  • Losses (deals, people, money)
  • Personal/professional slights
  • Legal challenges

In the night, our mind takes these difficulties and distorts them. This isn’t to say they are not real challenges. They are very real. However, in the night, they always seem worse. If you ever find yourself in the darkness of the night, wondering how the heck you are going to deal with whatever is confronting you, here are a few things to remember:

  1. The dawn will come and the world will look different when it does. Annie had it right when she told us “the sun will come out tomorrow”.
  2. It is very difficult to make a good decision when you are feeling exhausted, stressed and overwhelmed. You must find a way to rest your mind and body. Even if you can’t seem to sleep, remind yourself that you are in no condition to make a decision. Recognize your frame of mind and delay action.
  3. Count your blessings. Yes, they are there. Gratitude, no matter how small, sows the seeds of hope. Find the good things and focus on them. Your family. Your health. The opportunities before you. Your talents. Anything and everything for which you are grateful – no matter how small. Warning: this process can become infectious and you may find yourself equally sleepless from a wave of creativity that emerges as you embrace your gifts.
  4. You may be alone physically in this moment, but you are not alone. You are not the first to experience this moment and there is someone who cares. We are built to be social. No one wants to walk through things alone. Belonging is a critical part of our experience. To what do you belong? Your family. A club. A company. Embrace your belonging and remind yourself frequently.
  5. Write it down. The act of physically writing your thoughts, challenges or barriers can help purge them or bring them into perspective. The same is true of your list of blessings and gifts. Write it down. The mind/pen connection is profound and writing it out will trigger creativity that may have been forgotten. I suppose the same may be true for the keyboard though I’ve always been a pen and paper guy in those moments.
  6. Look for beauty. A person. A place. A picture. A painting. Staring at something you find beautiful triggers positive energy and hope. It may be part of counting your blessings or it may simply be the joy of admiration.
  7. Read something inspirational. Repeat.

What works for you when these moments appear? I know I’m not alone…:)

Sweet dreams!

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