I think its safe to say that work keeps a lot of us up at night. Stress over your next career move, worry about a big project deadline.. as an adult these are the things that go bump in the night.

I’m a notoriously good sleeper. I’m asleep before Adam’s head has hit the pillow after kissing me goodnight. Give me an 8 hour flight and I’ll be asleep before we’re off the tarmac.. the stewardess gently nudging me at landing. But lately, I’ve been waking up in the middle of the night consumed with thoughts of work.

I moved into a new role at the beginning of the summer and its been stressful as I transitioned into a more managerial position. Each week, without fail, come Wednesday or so and I’d start to get restless in the night. The sounds of sirens out my window not enough to drown out the noise inside my own head. Little things that I needed to add to my to-do list or bigger picture things like budget planning for 2020. And what’s worse is that first my brain would think of work and then it would veer into new (old) territory – that time I said the wrong thing to that person 7 years ago. The perfect comeback line I should have used on that ex-boyfriend. How it would have been best to stop at three tequila shots that time at that bar. You get the idea. It seems my transition at work was strangely digging up my entire past.

Joan Didion once said “I think we are well advised to keep on nodding terms with the people we used to be, whether we find them attractive company or not. Otherwise they turn up unannounced and surprise us, come hammering on the mind’s door at 4AM of a bad night and demand to know who deserted them, who betrayed them, who is going to make amends.” This summer has been the first time I truly understood her.

But then last week – something changed. I launched a project at work and was really happy with the results, then came home and had spent the evening feeling very excited about a side project I’ve been working on, thinking about how it perfectly combines some of my passions and will be a great creative outlet besides my full time career. That night I predictably woke in the dark, but this time – my mind was bright with ideas. I was back asleep before I knew it. I’ve been sleeping soundly ever since.

It turns out – you may need to shake your mind awake so that you can sleep. There’s always going to be things to be stressed about (career-wise or life-wise), but for me at least – once I managed to flip the script and think of all the possibilities of the future, the missteps of the past started to quiet down in my head. Here’s to a solid eight hours.

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