Growing up, my mom would always tell me, “Before you try to go clean someone else’s house, you must first take time to clean your own.”
Well, family, it’s cleaning time.
This month I would like to go over five tips that we can use to help take better care of ourselves. These are the tools that I used to become a better me and continually use when I’m feeling pressured.
Before we can adequately take care of others – friends. parents, spouses, and children – it is imperative we take care of ourselves. Many parents can particularly relate.
As parents, we spend much of our time worrying about our children and doing the following:
- Preparing meals
- Assisting with homework (well in the COVID-19 pandemic, first teaching the schoolwork then doing homework)
- Being a chauffeur
- Fixing boo-boos
- Healing emotional wounds
- The list goes on …
As parents, we wear so many hats and I have found that we do not take the time we need to effectively care for ourselves. So, I began to ask myself, “how can I properly take care of my Fearsome Five (yes I have five children … whew chile) if I am running on fumes?”
There were times I would find myself exhausted, barely having enough energy to fake a smile.
One day after work, I sat in my car, in my driveway in prayer, something that almost became a ritual, and I had an epiphany: I realized that the very vehicle I was sitting in would not be able to take me to my desired destinations if I failed to fill up with gas.
How could I become the parent I desired to be if I did not have the energy to keep up? I realized I needed more fuel, which led to me seeking more rest.
This week I want to start with a real obvious point, one we have particular difficult with…
Everyone’s body is different and needs different amounts of sleep. The range of sleep hours our bodies require falls somewhere between 7-10 hours. During sleep our bodies are renewed, healing happens. Our heart and blood vessels are repaired, our brain’s ability to improve our problem-solving skills increases and our general mood becomes better when we get adequate rest. When we get ample rest, we will find our mental and physical health and overall quality of life improve.
Sleep, or lack thereof, causes me to be mean and get angry at things that do not matter. My body gets achy and I find it difficult to focus sometimes, even slipping into an inappropriate nap, not even realizing I fell asleep (science refers to that as micro-sleep).
Sleep even affects hunger. When our bodies are not well-rested, we will find that we eat more. Health eating is a topic I will discuss later this month, but when studying I was taken aback by the many different areas sleep deficiency affects. I am just going to list them:
1. Fertility: While sleeping, all parts of our bodies are restored and that also applies to our hormones.
2. Immune System: People who tend to sleep less than 7 hours are more likely to develop a cold compare to those who sleep 8 or more hours.
3. Risk-taking behavior: When we are sleep-deprived we are more inclined to take risks focusing on the short-term effects vs. the long-term outcome of our behavior.
4. Depression often leading to Suicide: Many mental health issues are linked to the quality of sleep. People who sleep the required amount designed for their body tend to have better coping skills.
5. Obesity: People who sleep less tend to weigh significantly more than those who get adequate rest.
6. Driving Ability: Sleep deficiency harms our driving as much, or more than, being drunk.
Sleep deficiency is not only harmful to you – it can cause destruction on a grand scale, from tragic accidents and shipwrecks, to violence in the workplace and nuclear reactor meltdowns.
This most important thing you can do when you
are responsible for others is take care of
So, get your rest.
Sleep beautifully, you deserve it.
I love you.
It’s time to rise!