Between concentrated stress such as the worry of cramming for exams and the hard physical labour of road work, I've heard it said that of these two, mental exhaustion could initiate the greater fatigue ‐ lack of sleep being one.
I know studying or working at something I like is often energising, and I will feel pleasantly tired upon completion of the task. The tension I create from social separation gets me brooding from missing attention when friends are not always available. Then I wonder if I should entertain loneliness and let all that become me and my story. Rather than treating it as a reality, which does nothing else except divert me from a sense of presence and inner stillness, it's better to contain loneliness and depression as simply mental challenges. I delay sleep when anxiety about something often turns out to be my overreaction or resistance to what is, for example, a disparaging remark. I can accept it or brood about it, feel upset and lethargic until sleep gets the upper hand.
And sleep, of course, is the ultimate de-stressor. Judging by how many people stay awake too long, trapped in a web of avoidance of rest of any kind, tossing and turning most of the night with a painful memory of a past event for which resistance allows it to crop up in a future reality. Now an interview requires preparation that seems overwhelming. Apprehensive, I will lay there in the wee hours of morning realising I forgot about relaxing ‐ this wonderful precursor to sleep.
A personal strategy may be perceived as a fix for sleeplessness, but my commitment to homework reflects how much I feel about the importance of my health. Audio resources can induce deep relaxation. I've used Eli Bay's exercises for many years along with forest sounds or synthesised music. I've prepared for self-care such as having a place where I won't be interrupted or distracted and still set aside time for a daily thirty-minute walk. Sometimes I will stop and do absolutely nothing conscious of me and my world. By accepting my situation right now here where I am I let thoughts flow without censoring them. I remind myself that I am not my mind but rather a child of a universal consciousness. I am comforted. I can move towards the imminence that past and future don't exist ‐ only this moment. Then I look up at the ceiling and begin to accept and enjoy the night sounds around me, the lights dancing on the wall, my breathing, I say a few times: