What If You Cannot Start Your Day Perfectly

My bed has sensors and a microcontroller and networking. When I get up for the day, I can open the app and learn about my night. How much restful sleep, how much restless. How long it took me to fall asleep. Whether I met my proper circadian rhythm, spent enough time in bed, got enough restful sleep. The little computer runs through a calculation and gives me a “Sleep IQ” number.

My daughter is a therapist who numbers among her clients many people–especially teenagers–with anxiety problems often driven by the need to succeed. This number would push them even further along their spectrum. OMG, I didn’t get a 90. I’m a failure at sleep, too!

Yesterday I wrote about a way to orient yourself to a new day. It is good to have a discipline to help orient yourself to the new day.

But life happens. Sometimes you cannot hit the mark. Maybe you slept late because people came over to visit. Or there was a party. Or that chili you had for dinner talked to you all night.

Or, you have an early appointment. Or, you just feel like crap.

It’s like my Sleep IQ number. Yesterday I was 87; today I’m 60. But I still feel OK. If I look at the numbers one day at a time, I can feel good or let that low number ruin my day.

Or, I can look at a long term, say over a month or two, and realize that if I plotted those points on a graph they are actually pretty consistent.

I can get all worked up over missing a part of my morning routine and let it ruin my day.

Or, I can shrug and say “life happens” and make the best of the rest of the day. We learn to just go with the flow.

The goal is consistency over time. It is not being perfect every day. They tell me that Jesus was perfect every day (but he also lost his temper a few times). No one else has ever been recorded as being perfect every day. It certainly isn’t going to be me that breaks that string.

What has helped me learn this? One is consistent, but far from perfect, meditation practice. Another is Yoga. Another is this rural country boy learning to drive in Chicago rush hour traffic that screams along at about 5 miles per hour (8 kilometers per hour). You learn to slow your body rhythm and go with the flow. Your are better off at the end.

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