Confession: I struggle with insomnia. I consider myself a night owl, so when I get in bed and I’m not completely exhausted, my thoughts usually swirl in my head until the wee hours, making it impossible to sleep. Recently I had stomach pain that made it hard for me to fall asleep, and the next day I had a headache, so I went two nights without getting much rest.
I am naturally a worrier, but even when I’m just excited for things, I get too caught up in my thoughts and what might be that I can’t fall asleep. I also have vivid and sometimes strange dreams when I do fall asleep, so overall I have a complicated relationship with my bed. I toss and turn a lot before I fall asleep, and I have to be in complete darkness in a cool environment. Summer is coming and that means way less sleep for me, which isn’t good considering how busy I am.
What helps me, though, is writing it down. My brain powers up at night, so if I never write down my feelings, I feel as if I will forget something important and therefore I stay awake longer. I don’t deal with stress well, and I have bad muscle tension, which I get treated at the chiropractor or the hot springs. I’m starting to relax more as I get older because nothing ever turns out as bad as it does during those late bouts of insomnia.
My fiancé and I are getting prepared for my move to Korea, and I’m in the process of looking for a job. I still have to get documents ready for my visa, and I need to do some wedding planning when I go to America in July. I am also studying for the JLPT which is in a few weeks, and I am also studying Korean as much as I can. To top it all off, I have a full time job as a teacher, which is always crazy and unpredictable, and I am a Master’s student. Looking at it this way, it’s no wonder I have a hard time sleeping.
Thankfully, no major problems have come up in regards to any of that, and I am excited about wedding plans, doing interior design (adding lots more bookshelves in my life!) and moving to a new and exciting place that I fall in love with every time I go back. I think it’s easier for me to imagine what it will be like going back to America for a few weeks since I’ve already done it before, but reverse culture shock always hits me pretty hard. I can also imagine how I will need to be patient with myself as I adapt to South Korea and becoming part of a new family because I’ve lived with a family in Japan before.
However, no matter how much I prepare in my mind, I know things are going to surprise me. The best way to prepare myself is to remind myself of all the things I’m looking forward to and all the things I want myself to remember. This way, I can look back on my own words when I’m going through those stages of adaptation and growth. As the saying goes, no pain, no gain!
Change is inevitable and it’s usually for the best. We grow the most when we face unfamiliar situations, and I know no matter what, I will have people who support me. I am feeling much better after talking with friends and writing down my feelings, so I encourage you to do the same, though I hope you don’t have insomnia as badly as I do. I have a lot of great things to look forward to in the coming months, and by Christmas things should settle down. This year has already gone by so quickly…
Tonight I look forward to reading a good book, settling into bed, ignoring the crazy thoughts, and just letting sleep come.