Aug 25 2014

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5 Tell-tale Signs You are in Need of a “Collapse”

5 Tell-tale Signs You Need to Take a Collapse

5 Tell-tale Signs You are in Need of a “Collapse”

If you haven't figured out by the title of my blog (Realing in life), I like to make up words. As I was sitting around the table with my kids, we were all pretty wiped out from being out all morning. We were talking about what needed to do for the rest of the day. The dread was palpable. We talked, almost like a fantasy, about taking a nap. I told them, I don't need a nap, I need a collapse. I felt the exhaustion from the day, but I was only joking about it. Soon, it was apparent that I did, indeed, need to take a collapse.

Collapse Defined

The dictionary definition

1: to fall or shrink together abruptly and completely : fall into a jumbled or flattened mass through the force of external pressure

2: to break down completely : disintegrate

3: to cave or fall in or give way

4: to suddenly lose force, significance, effectiveness, or worth

5: to break down in vital energy, stamina, or self-control through exhaustion or disease; especially to fall helpless or unconscious.

These definitions are all verb definitions. I am using this word as a noun. Here is my definition:

col·lapse noun \kə-ˈlaps\

a well needed rest taken before exhaustion causes yelling, fipping out, and literal collapse in a heap

Nap is not a strong enough word. Sleeping is not necessary, but time out and rest are key here.

5 Tell-tale Signs You are in Need of a “Collapse”

  1. The eye twitch — I get this eye twitch when I am not getting enough rest. Maybe you have another “sign” other than an eye twitch. The twitch is telling for me. By itself, it means I should make extra effort to get to bed earlier.
  2. Yelling at children — At the time, I thought my commanding voice was justified. In reality, I was out of control. Yes, the child was not making the right choice. The way I responded was not either. (If you ever want to know how it sounds, have a 4-year-old girl in your house. She can repeat the exact tone and volume to an older brother or sister within hours of the first modeling. Imitation, in this way, did not feel like flattery.)
  3. The Mental build up of impossible to-do's — If the list of “must do's” is looming, a collapse may feel like the wrong action step, but the impossible list is exactly that: impossible. A post-collapse reevaluation is the best cure. Yes, some of those things are going to have to be punted for another time or (gasp!) removed from the list.
  4. Feeling more than tired — Like the eye twitch, it's hitting a physical limit of resources. Sure, you might be able to push through this time or today. This is not a good way to do life. Eventually, your body will force a collapse in the form of sickness.
  5. You envy small children who are forced to take naps — Oh, the irony of children and naps. They fight it. To a child, it is offensive and a trump-card punishment threat. I don't remember feeling that way as a child. As an adult, I have longed for naps when it was not possible to take one. The envy of a forced name has gripped my heart a time or two (or a thousand) over the years. The thing is that we can take a collapse if we need it. (For some, it will take outside resources, creativity, and a huge helping of humility. It can be done, really. Get some help and advice on how to make that happen. I wish I had asked more especially when my kids were little.)

Take a Collapse

This is not a call to escape from responsibilities. This is a call to give yourself permission to be a living, breathing human who needs to take breaks. As I tell my kids, when they need to take a nap, “You don't have to sleep, but you have to be horizontal.” When I force a nap on my older children, they are not allowed to read or do anything but be still. Sleep and rest are not entirely the same things. If dreams come, great. If not, you can have the extra help you need to press through your day.


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