Antigua View

Sure, the water's nice...

I’ve got a week before I start my new job. I had entertained the idea of taking a short vacation — going away somewhere and being in a completely different place and mind set — but that was seriously stressing me out. I was stressing over booking a flight and finding a decent and affordable hotel. I was stressing over where to go that would be within a 4-hour travel time radius, but that was not a cruising port of call or resort destination, but also not a freezing winter destination (Montreal was on the short list). I was stressing over how to best enjoy traveling somewhere — and having only 3 days to do so, on a limited budget.

Yup. Planning a last-minute vacation was far too stressful.

The prospect of starting a new job is stressful enough, so I decided this was the week to take stock, get lots of little stuff done (replacing my windshield wipers, finally taking those three bags of clothing to Goodwill, shredding a huge worth of old bills and statements, etc.), and maybe do some things I enjoy… while also working out some of the practical issues associated with starting a new job: the commute, the clothing, the comfy work shoes.

I need to work out the best way to work my new commute (from northern NJ to Brooklyn) for the next few months, until I can afford to move to Brooklyn (or someplace closer to Brooklyn). I need to try the commute so I KNOW what to expect and don’t stress over the unknown, and then take a day and just explore the new ‘hood, walk across the bridge, take some pictures, get some food and maybe indulge in some chocolate at Jacques Torres.

Westie Yawn

This dog knows how to relax.

Relaxing is not a skill of mine, so planning to relax is also a bit of work. I haven’t had a refreshing night of sleep in more than two weeks. That’s all I really want. Instead, I’m maxing out at 4 hours a night and my body “sproings” awake, and won’t let me fall back to sleep. I can’t even nap; I’m just not tired enough during the day. Instead, around 2pm, I get cranky and hungry and headachey. Science tells us that one or two nights of sleep deprivation won’t harm us all that much, but that if it continues, you’re going to have some problems with cognition and memory and metabolism and, well, everything else. I’ve been having the problems with cognition — and spelling and hand-eye coordination. Earlier in the week, I couldn’t spell “Greece” or “Switzerland” properly, wrote “buy” when I meant “bye”, used the wrong tenses all over the place… this might not be a big deal for most people… but I don’t do that. When my friends and co-workers started noticing it, I knew it was a problem. I got a, “Man, you really are losing it.” That was awesome.

However, since I received a gift certificate to Bliss as a going-away gift from work, I decided this was the time to schedule a few hours of pampering and relaxation: a long massage, a pedicure they guarantee will cure “Franken-feet” (winter feet + climbing feet = Franken-feet) and maybe a third treat — but the massage and pedicure are scheduled. It feels really good to have that on the horizon.

Between that and getting back into a regular running routine, I’ll meet my physical de-stressing needs. Unwinding mentally is another matter entirely, but that’s where I’m hoping some good sleep will help.

I asked friends for their relaxation suggestions. Several suggested a massage, one suggested a sauna, one suggested drinks… and I’ll do the massage and maybe a drink, but probably not the sauna. I think sleep and doing little things that make me happy (reading, baking, taking a bubble bath, spending some time with friends) will do me a world of good.

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