04/28/2014 04:19 pm ET | Updated Jun 28, 2014

Bed Camp

Life can be hectic and messy and sometimes moves way too fast. There are moments when I can't remember the last time I was alone with myself or when my mind was clear. Have you ever reached the point where you're not listening to what other people say because you're not even listening to yourself anymore?

When I get close to such a state, I take to my bed for what I call "bed camp." This is an entire day reserved just for me, at home, in bed. A day home from work or a weekend day when the family is out. A day alone with just me, with nothing to do but relax and focus on myself. No work, no bill paying, no laundry, no cleaning, no organizing, no calls or emails, no errands. No outside world. Just me alone with me. For a whole day. In bed.

I take these days very seriously and plan carefully for them, creating a tranquil sanctuary in my bedroom. Crisp fresh sheets are put on the bed the night before, extra pillows are added, an activity table is set with things I might like to do in bed -- books and movies or crafts. A soothing playlist is ready. I move in a comfortable chair. Meals and snacks are prepared the day before, to be eaten in bed, on a tray.

Dressing for the occasion is equally important. This is not my day for dirty hair, worn sweats, old socks and ragged underwear. I leave my frumpy slippers under the bed. Special loungewear is reserved just for bed camp days, and I always work in a favorite piece of jewelry and a special fragrance.

Every Bed Camp day is different, depending on what has sent me to my bed. Exhaustion breeds a day of soft jazz and lots of naps, with a long hot fragrant bath between nap number two and nap number three. Stress can lead me to a good novel, movies and/or an entire season of a favorite TV series, a craft project or a home beauty spa treatment -- anything to get my mind off whatever was causing the stress. And after all the winter holiday gatherings are over and the house guests have finally departed, a quiet day is so badly needed, it almost hurts.

What is common to all bed camp days is a clearing of my mind and a calming of my spirit. The world doesn't seem as harsh, and I can feel solutions to problems beginning to emerge, good energy making its way back. I feel nurtured and relaxed. A day well spent, taking care of me, and I can physically and mentally and spiritually feel the difference. I'd like to feel like this every day.

We do real harm to ourselves when we don't listen to our bodies when they cry out for relief. Stress just doesn't make us cranky and short-tempered. Serious health issues can result when we don't listen to what our bodies and mind need and let stress take over.

There's no question that getting enough sleep helps us perform and feel better. And once up, starting with a good breakfast and eating healthier during the rest of the day will support a higher level of energy and greater clarity of thought. Finding moments during the day for self-nurture, to meditate, go to the gym or a yoga class, read a chapter in a good book, or just be quiet and calm for a few moments, are equally important and should not be treated lightly or easily dismissed.

We must become our own best advocates. Our family and friends or co-workers might not even realize or appreciate the stress we're dealing with. We've become so good at covering it up, not sharing our needs, it's no wonder. At the end of the day, we're the only one who knows what we need and we're the best one to deliver.

For my guide to bed camp and and how I find moments every day to make life a bit easier, to find some time to nurture my soul, visit my blog at

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