If you follow me on Instagram, you’ll know that I recently had breast reduction surgery. If you want to read more about my reduction journey, including why I would want one, my reaction to inappropriate things people said about it, and what I look like now, I wrote a blog called thirty-two-gee.
The night before my surgery could also be compared to the night before l left for vacation last February. Full of excitement, a little anxious about getting up in time, and wondering if I packed everything I needed.
What will the weather be like?
Did I remember to pack my toothbrush?
Where can I get a toothbrush if I forget mine?
The specific worries were different, but the core feelings were the same.
Whether you’re getting up tomorrow to go under the knife or you’re flying to Disney World, you’re probably not going to have your normal night’s sleep. I’ve put together a few tips that I’ve incorporated into my own routine to stay sane during the nights leading up to a big event.
1. GO TO BED WHEN YOU'RE TIRED
When tomorrow is a big day, it’s natural to want to go to bed early. Especially if you have to be up early. But if you’re an insomniac or a hardcore bedtime thinker like I am, going to bed too early could result in a lot of lying in bed wide awake, worrying or thinking.
Changing your bedtime routine can result in throwing off your whole sleep-wake cycle. Treat the night before a big event like any other night, and go to bed when you’re ready to fall asleep, not when you think you should fall asleep.
2. MAKE A TO-DO LIST
If you’re afraid you’ll forget it, write it down! Make a list of all the things you need to do in the morning, and go to bed knowing the list is waiting for you when you’re well-rested and ready for it. You should not be lying in bed making lists. Get them out of your head and onto paper so you can sleep soundly.
3. FOCUS ON REST, NOT SLEEP
The following is an exerpt from The CALM+COZY Podcast, Episode 6 on rest:
The words “rest” and “sleep” are often used synonymously, but they are two very different words, each with their own importance. Sleep is an act that involves your entire body entering into a state that is no longer awake. Rest is ceasing movement in order to relax, refresh, and recover strength.
Both words can have the same end result, but rest is a mindful and voluntary act that is done while you are awake. It involves being still while the world around you is not.
The words of the day are: rest + being still.
The struggle that consumes a person with insomnia and bedtime anxiety is that they can’t sleep. Sleep is the ultimate goal, and yet every effort they make only places sleep on a pedestal, and pushes it further away. Get sleep as the goal out of your head, and focus instead on rest.
Tonight I will rest.
This is your new mantra. Say it to yourself often.
4. DON'T CLOCK-WATCH
Set your alarm, even two if you’re worried about missing the first one, and then turn the clocks around. If you wake up in the middle of the night, don’t check the time. It doesn’t matter. It will only make you more anxious. If you wake up before your alarm, rest until your alarm rings. Remember rest? It’s important too!
5. STAY POSITIVE
It might feel normal to think of all the things that could go wrong tomorrow, but it’s not going to help you. Think of all the things that will go well the next day. I’ve had general anesthesia before, but I was still nervous about it this time around. When I let myself go there, I started thinking all the scary thoughts. So, whenever my thoughts started getting dark, I came up with a happy thought and I repeated it to myself often. It’s going to be a good day, and I’m going to wake up feeling great!
And guess what!? I woke up in a lot of pain and feeling like I was gonna puke, BUT it still wasn’t so bad! I made it, and I was on my way to recovery.
NERVOUS VS. EXCITED
My nerves were so much worse the day before surgery because I was letting my negative thoughts take over. The day I spent in the hospital was so much more enjoyable for me because I was relaxed and positive. I focused on the outcome and it calmed my nerves.
Motivational speaker, Mel Robbins, talks about nerves in her book, The Five Second Rule. She says instead of using the word “nervous” tell yourself you’re excited. They’re the same feeling physically, but excitement is more positive.
Whenever someone asked how I was feeling about my surgery, I said, “I’m excited!” And on the actual day, I was pleasantly surprised at how calm I felt, despite the fact that I was about to have half my boobs chopped off!