Last night I was tired and I realized something, I am not a good wife when I am exhausted.
Let alone the best version of me. I am only the sleepy version of me. Not focused on love or creating or thinking clearly. Not focused on anything other than a pillow and a dark, dark room. I am not able to show up as my best self or my wife self or my life coach-y self because I have completely ignored my actual Self. The one that needs food for fuel and sleep for rest.
The only thing I am when I am exhausted is tired. There is no space to be anything else, because my energy has been depleted. And I am not living a life I love when all I want out of that life is a pillow and a snooze button.
My personality is not Type A. It’s Type A plus. I have had a day planner since high school. I have lived a scheduled life since I was a teenager. Now that I have work I am passionate about and hubby I have a crush on (Yes, you can have a crush on your own husband. Try it. It’s fun.) *and* a business I am starting to run — my scheduled life has become my over- scheduled life.
So what do I do about this realization?
The first thing I did was talk to The Hubs. And I can proudly say that the first thing he said was “you must have an unconsidered thought driving you to all this action.”
An unconsidered thought. Genius.
You see why the crush? The man was born to be married to a Life Coach.
So I considered my thoughts and came to this — some part of me has a “scarcity mentality” about my life. Some part of me (the part that is driving all this action that is making me SO TIRED) thinks that I have to do more and more and more to succeed and be happy.
So the thought — “do more” is supposed to bring me a feeling of relief. But no matter how much I do, I don’t feel any relief, all I feel is tired.
Did you ever see the version of the movie “Sabrina” with Harrison Ford and Julia Ormond? My favorite scene in that movie is when she is taking a picture and asks him to try and he isn’t sure what to focus on and she says:
“More isn’t always better, Linus. Sometimes it’s just more.”
That movie came out in 1995 and I still remember that line. I believe God speaks to us in mysterious ways and sometimes he uses movies.
So I realized last night that what I need is to STOP. DOING. MORE.
And this morning when I woke up I decided I would write about self care. I even thought about writing about “Radical Self Care” because doesn’t that sound sexy? Let’s not just care for our selves — let’s get radical about it.
Except when I sat down to write I realized, it’s not so radical. It’s just basic. I can’t even begin to think about being radical, because I have to do simple things like sleep more every night.
Simple. Simple Self Care. Not so radical, not so sexy and let me be clear, simple is not necessarily easy.
Simple is — easy to understand but that doesn’t mean it’s easy to do.
Basic is “something that is fundamental; an essential ingredient, principle, procedure, etc.”
There is nothing radical about basic. And that’s what I need right now. And I bet my caboodles, you need that too.
So let’s get basic about Self Care together. I am starting with rest. My favorite definition of rest from dictionary.com “to refresh oneself, to be at ease and have tranquility or peace.”
We may think of rest as something our body needs, but our minds need rest as well. Being in the 21st Century, I like to think of the change from activity to rest as “rebooting” our mind and body just like we reboot the computer to refresh its settings.
Here are my top 3 tips to Refresh and Reboot:
- Schedule rest time. What I mean by this is if you keep a calendar of any kind, block time in it for YOU. You can define rest however you’d like. For me, sometimes it’s a nap, a romance novel, watching a movie while laying on the couch cuddling with The Hubs, other times its literally going to sleep earlier than the night before. Whatever is restful to you, schedule it. Make it an appointment with yourself. Even if it’s a half an hour block of time to sit. Just sit.
- Talk to someone you love and trust about your biggest worry. Yesterday, the biggest relief I experienced was in finding the root of my problem. Going to sleep earlier one day is not going to help me long term. Finding out why I continuously push myself farther and then doing something about that why will help me for years to come. This is rest for your mind and soul, just like sleep is rest for your body.
- Sleep. More. They say our bodies regenerate when they are sleeping and they also say the US is a sleep-deprived nation. A whole country of sleepy zombies cannot make wise decisions. Look at the news friends — we need to make better decisions.
So how do you sleep more?
Learn the elements of sleep hygiene — this is the practice of preparing your conditions for successful sleep.
Here are some Sleep Hygiene Basics.
- Decrease caffeine consumption. I am starting with one glass less. I typically have 1 caffeinated soda a day. Yesterday I had none. I am trying. We will see how today goes. I will get back to you.
- Darken the room. Make sure your curtains are closed, your electronic devices are not giving glaring lights that bother your eyes (i.e. I lovingly asked the hubs to turn his phone towards the wall when it’s charging at night. He is on call so it must be in the room, but we make it work.)
- Wake up at the same time every day. If you wake up at 6 am — do it every day. Even if you went to sleep at midnight the night before. Your body will ask for sleep the next day by making you sleepy and getting you onto a regular sleep schedule.
- Get sunlight in the morning. Sunlight tells your eyes it’s time to be awake. Artificial lighting at night interferes with our natural body clocks so we think we are supposed to be awake when we are not. Which leads me to…
- Turn off the computer, TV, iPad, <Insert Favorite Back-Lit Device Here> I am trying for an hour earlier. For me that would be at 10:30 pm. If you see me on Facebook after 10:30 pm — slap me. You have my permission.
For more information about sleep hygiene, visit the National Sleep Foundation and if you are having trouble sleeping beyond the basics, check if your insurance covers a Sleep Doctor. Most US insurance plans cover visiting a sleep specialist because it’s that important to our overall health.
I love action steps and that’s why I write about things you can do, but the most important thing you can do to love your life on purpose is to make the decision to do it.
Steal my mantra: “The more I rest, the better my life gets.”
Or make up a mantra of your own. Write it on a post it note where you can see it every day or share it here in the comments.
Decide that basic self care is a priority. Start with sleep.
Then we can move on to the radical fun stuff!
Did anyone say massage? I thought I heard facial too.
Are you getting enough rest? What are you going to do about it?
How do you refresh and re-boot? Do you need to be more consistent about prioritizing rest?
Originally published at ModernMarried.com. Download my free guide, “The Love Upgrade — 7 Steps to a 5 Star Marriage” and get more articles focused on creating a thriving life and marriage in your inbox.
Originally published at medium.com