The quiet hours

03 March 2020 | Columns

Elizabeth Joseph

I love those hours when it’s just you and your thoughts. It used to be the morning hours between 04:00 and 05:00. Now it’s in the evening.

After I’ve done a full day’s work, the buck doesn’t stop there. Then it’s making sure the house is clean, the clothes are in the washer and the kitchen smells of food.

I then have to tend to my studies as well as catch up on my reading because I believe that that is the only quiet time I actually get.

Kudos to the mothers doing more than that and still finding time to do that little thing they love.

Someone taught me a great lesson once when I was complaining about my plate being too full and that I am tired.

She said you have 24 hours in a day and you only work nine of those. Your body only needs six to seven hours of sleep.

If you’re aiming for seven to nine hours of sleep each night, a sleep calculator can help you figure out what time to go to bed based on your wake-up time. Ideally, you’ll want to wake up at the end of your sleep cycle, which is when you’re most likely to feel the most rested.

A good night’s sleep is essential to good health. If you’re having trouble falling asleep or staying asleep, like me, consider talking to your doctor. They can help determine if there’s an underlying cause.

So, there’s about eight hours during your full day that can either go unaccounted for or be used for something productive.

With all these things I have keeping my hands full, somehow I don’t feel like it’s enough, maybe because I am my own worst critic. But what if I can do more?

What if there is more to do that doesn’t directly benefit me? Would I even take it on? Would you?

Stay with me, I’m onto something.

Sometimes it’s not necessarily the ‘hard work’ we think we do that makes us tired, it’s the amount of stress and energy we give. It’s the constant thinking and worrying about whether or not you will essentially be able to do the said task.

I worry. I worry too much and that is where most of my anxiety stems from, because, before I even start a project, I already envision what the end result might be.

Recently I attended a session called Lean In Circles and there I picked up the most valuable piece of advice in my journey to self-actualisation.

“Learn to fail, because if you don’t, when you do, it will kill you.” This was said by Esperance Luvindao. What a woman! I realised that being too afraid of failure can disable you. It can cause you to not even start something in the first place.

This was me all my life. It is incredible how many chains fear can put on you. You don’t start anything. You don’t finish anything either, and then comes the frustration with yourself. I can go on and on about this, but this column is about those quiet moments during the morning or night where you are at absolute peace with yourself.

We go through enough turmoil and adversity as it is to not have those few minutes to ourselves.

If you are like me, always inclined to place others above yourself, you will appreciate alone time more and more each time you have it.

In the wise words of Charles Richards: “Don’t be fooled by the calendar. There are only as many days in the year as you make use of”.

C’est la vie. Take it one day at a time and remember that you can cram as many things as possible into your day and still be great at every single one of those things.

Be good and fair to yourself, and others.

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