After my first day at my new job, I slept.
I mean, it was more than just sleep. It was a cohesive period of time (meaning I didn’t wake up once), and I woke up feeling rested.
I expressed this to Corey, -how amazed I was that I had slept (and continued to sleep well during my first week of work). His response?
“What?” I said, “Idle hands what?”
“Idle hands are the devil’s plaything. You know.”
I tried wrapping my exhausted brain around this explanation.
Honestly, I think there is some truth in what he said. I have spent the last year, a little more, with relatively idle hands. No immediate purpose, or at least -not one that has required an ongoing intense physical and mental commitment. Of course, once could argue that this blog has acted as something of a mental commitment (hey, typing hands aren’t idle, right?), but I generally hadn’t been straying beyond the confines of the apartment.
I have been relaxing, which has been nice but I expect would be considered a bit idle.
In that time, things have been a little out of whack.
- trouble sleeping
- trouble expelling bursts of energy (or exercising at all)
- loneliness (because I spent most of my time alone)
- tense/anxious muscles and mind (including tension headaches)
- forgetting to eat/not feeling like eating at times
– no direction
I see these difficulties as a product of my relaxation… so I guess when they’ve overwhelmed me that would be the proverbial devil’s work.
Since beginning to work full time last week, I have noticed a huge change in these things.
- falling asleep easily and able to sleep all night
– being tired has helped counter-balance bursts of energy
– craving alone time/being home (now I’m around people constantly)
– more relaxed muscles, anxious thoughts more specifically directed at a situation (and fewer tension headaches)
– scheduled lunch is a great reminder, enough expelled energy for hunger
– a lot to do, but only a limited amount of time
It is a little bit like opposite land… and though it isn’t a perfect place, it is interesting being faced with the opposite problems I had before. Particularly things like having no alone time.
So does “doing nothing” really cause more harm than good? I mean, doctors were constantly telling me to avoid stress, but did I avoid too much? Based on how things have changed, I think Corey’s theory may be somewhat correct.
I think the trouble here is that there is no one definitive answer because the situation is constantly changing. With bipolar disorder, I feel like the amount of stress I can handle at any given time is within a range, it isn’t a constant amount. If I am experiencing a negative episode, my stress tolerance may be zero, but if I am feeling good and confident it may be a 10 for the day.
My body, too, can only tolerate so much… but that amount is determined by a million other things.
So how do I know where to draw that line? How do I know for sure when relaxation is doing more harm than good, or when work begins to tip the scale? And is there a way to do some kind of dance around the two to keep things relatively level?
I know that this new work situation has its own set of problems, but it seems to be bringing some things to the table that I definitely didn’t expect.