End of the World Syndrome
... is a real thing. And usually flares between 2 and 3 a.m.
This week’s newsletter is sponsored by… a human condition that I refer to as End of the World Syndrome. (Feel free to call it EOTWS for short.)
You’ll recognize this syndrome when you wake up, can’t get back to sleep, and proceed to think about every single problem in the world. For me, End of the World Syndrome strikes around 2 am, after I’ve been deeply asleep but wake up at a crucial moment of my REM cycle. Try as I might to return to that blissful slumber, it’s no use. I’m WIDE AWAKE.
It’s during this witching hour that all concerns of the day (and really… of all previous days, and sometimes even previous lifetimes) start downloading.
It’s no shock I often suffer from EOTWS. I come from a long line of sufferers. My dad called it “the dark nights of the soul.” My mom didn’t have a name for it, she just called it annoying.
I actually thought of writing about EOTWS a few weeks ago when I was in Spain. But I thought, “How can I write about End of the World Syndrome” while in my favorite place on earth, doing what I love? That just didn’t feel right.
Yet, let’s be real. It doesn’t matter if you’re on a dream vacation, on board the Love Boat, or in your own cozy bed. EOTWS can strike anytime.
And anything can trigger it.
Take last week, for example. My car had been making a lot of noise, so I took it to my trusted mechanic, who told me my two mufflers were shot, and it’d be a cool 1700 to fix the problem. (For the record, I was like, My car has TWO mufflers? But that’s another story.)
Well, at 2 a.m., my twin muffler situation popped in my head, leading me to wonder what was next with my 2011 FORD. Since I’m obviously an expert in cars, I started to think about all of the other parts of the car that might go next. Pretty soon I wondered my way into a real life headache. When the headache continued for 10 or so minutes, my worrying changed to the stroke, aneurysm, blood clot, or brain tumor (my old stand by) that I was sure I was having. It’s always a brain tumor, isn’t it?
By 2:30, my headache was now behind my eyes, soI decided it wasn’t a tumor, but I was actually going blind and I’d probably be unable to see by morning. Which of course reminded me of the Little House episode where Mary went blind. Then - Little House fans, you know what’s coming next- I thought of the fire at the blind school. (Which, hello, was one of the most horrifying moments of my childhood.)
And if you’re wondering, of course I got up to check the burners on the stove.
Back in bed, now 2:45… I wondered how I’d write if I were blind. Which of course led back to the $1700 and counting car tab and the recurrent question on every freelancer’s mind, how do I get more clients?
In other words, my twin mufflers were effectively leading me to my doom.
Raise your hand if you can relate.
I thought so.
Which leads me to…
What I’d Rather Be Talking About this week: figuring out a way to put that stupid doomsday voice in its place, so we can sleep at night, enjoy our lives, and do the great things we’re all here to do.
Because, while life isn’t perfect, and does come with its share of bumps in the road, things usually aren’t as bad as we make them out to be in our heads. Especially at 2:00 in the morning.
So, how about we focus on some good stuff.
Okay, first let’s take the bull by the horns, and find some tools to take EOTWS in the form of a few sleep podcasts. Here are three: Nothing Much Happens, Sleep Wave, or if you’re into true crime and also want to sleep (which personally sounds like a conflict of interest, but…) True Crime Sleep Stories.
Is looking for work keeping you up at night? Then listen to this week’s HER Money with Jean Chatzky, “Everyone’s Hiring - Why Can’t You Find a Job?”
Finally, sleep and everything else are easier if we feel good. Find out how to live healthier in Habits & Hustle’s “Health Hacks You Can Start Today.”
Want quick, daily YouTube inspiration? Then check out YouTuber & author Amy Landino’s daily Good Morning Mantras and start each day on the right foot. If you’d rather get a whole book full of mantras, try her book, 365 Days of Good Morning Good Life. For the record, Amy is serious about helping you get a good life. Amy promises her YouTube Channel, @AmyTV is the place “where we come together to help you go after the life you want!”
Next, “The Secrets of a 102 Year-Old Doctor for Keeping A Sharp Mind.” First of all, this woman is lovely, and the interviewer is great as well. Second, you’ll love her common sense approach to health and life. If you do nothing else today, please watch the video to find out her secrets to keeping your mind sharp and body healthy. (PLEASE.) Watch this video.
While I’m not promoting late night shopping, I guess bargain hunting is better than staring at the ceiling on sleepless nights. Right? Since Memorial Day is right around the corner, I found 3 great lists with what you need to know about upcoming deals: check out these early deals if you need a mattress or TV, Today Show Memorial Day deals, or if you’re familiar with this site called Amazon, check out these deals.
I’ve loved the online company Holstee, for many years. Their motto is, “Inspiration and tools to help you live a more meaningful life.” They sell products (journals, posters, mugs, paper) with inspirational mantras that are unique and impactful. I ordered this poster in English and Spanish years ago, and have ordered it again and again for gifts. (Fyi, the poster is actually called The Holstee Manifesto that got the company started.) A great message.
If you’re still wondering how to deal with the monsters that come out to play at 2 a.m., here’s a great article from Self with some ideas.
AND ON A SERIOUS NOTE
It’s true, 2 a.m. can be a challenging time if we let those doomsday thoughts into our noggins. But so can noon or 8 p.m. Time doesn’t really matter when it comes to letting one problem expand into a complete life disaster.
That’s why we need to keep things in perspective and remember that life is FULL OF problems. There will always be problems.
And while I don’t have a magic solution, I do know one thing - we can either be our own best allies, or our own worst enemies. So… maybe a good way of stomping out EOTWS is to take charge of those thoughts when they strike and show them who’s boss. For every doomsday situation that pops into your head, flip the script and come up with five outcomes that are absolutely amazing.
Because really, how many of your imagined worst case scenarios have actually come true?
I’m no neuroscientist, but I bet that if we feed our brains with more positive thoughts… our brains will start to feel a whole lot better and those negative worries will crop up less often.
It’s worth a try, isn’t it?
Because, as the Holstee Manifesto says, THIS IS YOUR LIFE… don’t we owe it to ourselves to make it the best it can be?