Confessions of a Workaholic: A Word of Warning to my Fellow Sleep-Deprived Go-Getters
I woke up with a cold in the middle of July. It’s thirty-something degrees outside, my apartment is like a sauna, a cool breeze hasn’t been felt for at least a week, and I somehow managed to contract a full-blown cold. Surely this is the fault of the gross person who sneezed in my general vicinity this week. Or maybe some child with snot-glazed fingers took it upon himself to touch the handle of the grocery cart I used last Friday. Those things might actually be true. I don’t know for sure. What I do know is getting 5 hours of sleep in a 48 hour stretch and skipping my multivitamin probably didn’t help matters. While I refuse to take full responsibility on account of the people who unapologetically spread their germs all over the place, I have to admit, I’m probably partially responsible for my sniffling misery.
I shamefully confess I’ve been slacking on my self-care. I’ve spent so much time with my laptop over the past couple months, I may as well be shackled to it. I’ve got sixty-eleven writing jobs and projects going at any given time and there’s always some deadline hovering over my head. I’m not complaining. It’s been great for my bank account but not so great for my immune system. With only 24 hours in a day, I find myself having to say no to some things in order to get others done. Problem is, I’ve been saying no to a lot of the wrong things, namely the gym, food, vitamins and sleep.
Yes, I, who dubbed myself a squat goddess and pays far too much for a gym membership has not been to the gym consistently in weeks. I, who love food more than I love a lot of people, find myself forgetting to eat. I’ve been meaning to by a multivitamin for at least three months now but somehow forget every time I go to Shoppers Drug Mart. And sleep? Well I’ve managed to persuade myself that regularly running on four hours of sleep is perfectly reasonable. Newsflash: it’s not and my body is punishing me for it.
Here’s another newsflash for me and anyone else who needs to hear it: wealth is hardly worth it without health. That’s a tough pill for go-getters like me to swallow. We like success. We’re addicted to the hustle. If getting where we want to be means sleepless nights and a little indigestion, we’ll suffer. Pass the caffeine and the Zantac, thank you very much. I’m not knocking the value of all-nighters or a late dinner, but that lifestyle is not sustainable and eventually your body will put the brakes on and humble your over-zealous behind into slowing down.
Look, the world is not going to stop and you’re not going to fail if you say no to a few things to make sure you can eat properly and squeeze in some cardio. It’s ok to turn some things down, slow your pace a little and catch some Z’s to make sure your body isn’t going to conk out. I know that because some of the world’s most successful people make self-care a priority. Anna Wintour, editor of Vogue, plays tennis at 5:45 every morning. Ariana Huffington, founder of Huffington Post, makes a good night’s sleep a priority. (To be fair, she started doing this after breaking her cheekbone when she collapsed from exhaustion, but let’s learn from her mistakes, shall we?) Oprah, who needs no introduction, starts her day with meditation and exercise.
There’s no excuse. If some of the world’s wealthiest and most successful people can take time out of their lives for exercise and sleep, so can we. Taking care of your body and taking care of business should never be mutually exclusive. You don’t have to bring your hustle to a halt, but make room for the things that will keep your running smoothly so you don’t end up like me, burning through three rolls of tissues, two packs of Halls and a box of DayQuil in mid-July. Stay healthy, my friends.