Wednesday, February 21, 2018

It Took Several Months To Transition, But I'm Finally On A First Shift Schedule. Yay!

Tomorrow is kind of a big day for me. For the first time since we moved into our home over the Summer of 2012, I'll be acclimating to a first shift schedule. It's been a process. One that I've taken in tiny steps. In the past, I've attempted to relinquish my third shift sleep schedule cold turkey. It didn't work out. Within a couple of days, I threw my hands up. Threw in the white flag. Then, in October, I got smart took Lisa's advice. I made the decision to slowly transition.

I know the final transition that begins tomorrow will probably suck for a few days, but...

Back in 2012, we only had Coco. Staying up on the overnight to do work was fairly easy. On the overnight hours, I would tackle work stuff that required complete focus. As in little or no distractions. At the time, I had taken on too many clients who wanted written pieces. When I write, I need quiet. Working on the overnight was the best solution.

The following year, we launched Bodacious Biscuit Love. On top of my obnoxious workload, I was also baking homemade dog treats almost every day. Most of the time, I'd bake on the overnight while working from the kitchen table.

In 2014, Sophie joined our family. Then, in 2015, Lobo joined our family. On occasion, we were also fostering kittens that needed to be bottle fed 'round the clock. The daytime hours got noisier and noisier. And, we were in full swing with participating in events most weekends during the warm weather months.

I continued working a third shift schedule. When Lisa got up for work around 3:30, a hot breakfast and her coffee were waiting for her. I packed her lunch. Then, after the kids were taken out and had their breakfast, I crawled into bed. Most mornings, I'd be asleep by 6 a.m. I set my alarm for 10 a.m.

This was all prior to Lisa getting her promotion at work last Spring. Before her promotion, most days she'd be out of work by 2:30. Sometimes earlier. We always ate dinner early. Then, I'd lay down and nap for an hour or so. My short naps would get me through the overnight hours.

That was my routine. 

Willa joined our family last March. My schedule changed a bit. When Lisa got her promotion, the end of May, that's when things really changed. She gets out later. Some days, she doesn't arrive home from work until 5, 6 and even 7. Because of that, we now eat dinner later and I'm not able to catch a quick nap before working on the overnight.

Even though we had made a considerable amount of changes on the Bodacious Biscuit Love end of things since launching and I shed quite a few clients, I still had enough work to keep me busy on the overnight. The kids were in a routine. I didn't want to disturb that.

I thought I would be okay without the naps, but I was wrong. I started dozing off in the middle of writing a blog column. Or, I'd stare at my monitor. Writer's block. Lots of it. In addition, the kids would bark at every little noise they heard, especially Lobo. And, during the Summer months, I wasn't getting solid sleep in the morning.

I was in a constant state of sleep deprivation.

The only viable solution was to get back to a first shift schedule. I tried. Cold turkey. Epic fail. The biggest issue was not being able to fall asleep before midnight.

Lisa knew I was struggling. She suggested I transition slowly. Baby steps. When my body adjusted to the first step, move onto the next.

In October, I started sleeping for a couple of hours on the overnight. At first, I'd sleep in the wee hours between 1-3. When Lisa left for work, I crawled into bed. Instead of setting my alarm for 10, I switched it to 8.

That took a while to get used to because I was breaking up my sleep time. Sleep for 2 hours. Get up, make Lisa's breakfast, coffee, and lunch. Then, sleep for another 2 hours.

I was still tired a lot, but not nearly as bad. 

Eventually, my body adjusted. In the weeks that followed, I added more sleep time on the overnight. I finally reached the point where I was falling asleep around 10 p.m. By the time Lisa got up for work, I was wide awake. I felt rested. However, I was still going back to bed after she left for work.

I knew my body was ready to take the last step towards the end of January. I was having a hard time falling back to sleep for those 2 hours after Lisa left for work. When I finally managed to doze off, I would toss and turn and wake up at least a half-dozen times.

My body no longer needed those 2 hours of sleep.

I was ready to take the last step, but I put it off a bit. I was hesitant. The kids have become accustomed to sleeping in bed with me in the morning. When I thought about not crawling into bed and snuggling with them, I was plagued with guilt.

The push I needed to take that last step presented itself on Monday. Our upstairs neighbor friend, who is also our landlord, is having some work done in her home. It has to get done. The house will be insulated on March 5th.

It was postponed from December. 

The contractor doing the work will be starting between 7-7:30 in the morning. The work being done will take close to 2 weeks.

That was the fire I needed under my ass.

This morning, I crawled into bed after Lisa left for work. It was the last time I'd be doing this. I felt sad. I love snuggling with all of the kids in the morning and snoozing with them. I didn't sleep. I lingered.

Tomorrow, I won't be going back to bed after Lisa leaves. 

Although it tugs at my heartstrings, I know the kids will be fine with it. They'll adjust.

On the flip end, this is what I've needed to do for a long time. Being in a constant state of sleep deprivation isn't healthy. Mentally. Physically. Emotionally. It has affected me in every realm of my existence.

I've lost count how many times people have said, "I don't know how you function on such little sleep..."  At the time, I was only getting about 3 hours of sleep a day.

Truthfully, I wasn't functioning. I was just existing. Some days, it took every ounce of my being to bake biscuits or write a blog column or make dinner.

Keeping that from the world took effort as well. It was exhausting all the way around.

I'm excited to have finally transitioned to a first shift schedule. Granted, getting up at 3 in the morning is a bit early, but now that I'm falling asleep around 9:30 - 10:00 p.m. and getting between 5-6 hours of solid sleep, I feel more rested and energized than I have in years.

An extra bonus will be having a few hours added to my workday.

I raise my coffee cup.

To new beginnings.

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