Are you well rested right now?
Sleep is so essential to women feeling good. I have interviewed many women about the impact of sleep on them, and what I hear is fairly consistent. Having enough sleep enables a women to feel good and not having enough deprives us of the capacity for joy. What would the world look like if every person had one good night's sleep?
I am going to run through five items to consider with regards to sleep:
1. Exercise - I know that I feel better and sleep better when I have taken the time to do some type of exercise. Even going for a walk for 20 minutes.
2. Food - Now food is two fold. What are you eating and when are you eating it? I feel best when I avoid white sugar and flours and also don't eat for two to three hours before bed. That late night carb binge always leaves me looking and feeling a little tired and puffy the next morning. Yes, ladies, that does include wine.
3. Neatness, safety and serenity of your bedroom - Is your bedroom a haven and a sanctuary where you can relax and retreat from the chaos of the day and feel peaceful and safe? Or, is it a disaster? Get your work papers out, clutter, put a flower, light a candle -- make it beautiful. You need your rest.
4. Noise and silence - Some women can sleep through anything and others need some quiet. Fans, earplus (the green lower decible ones) and your own soft music can mask sounds so your mind can slow down.
5. Bedtime routine - Remember how we all had bedtimes, story time and then lights out? That still works. Come up with a bedtime routine you like. Don't go from TV or the computer to bed because your body and mind need transition. Mine seems to need about an hour. A bath, some candle light and some relaxing book that is calming. Right now I am not sleeping as well as I could because I am reading an amazing mystery book that is mentally stimulating me versus relaxing me ... oh well. Also, if you and your partner wants to get intimate, get into bed early so you have energy versus hoping he'll change his mind.
Let's get to why I put "guilt" in quotes with the words feminine and yin before it. Women can feel or think they feel "guilty" for taking time for themselves and caring for themselves. Let's say laundry needs to get done and they are exhausted -- they feel "guilty" that they are being "selfish" for not doing for and caring for others.
I propose that it is not "guilt" women feel for self-care but we are feeling "uncomfortable", "unworthy", "anxious", "scared" or "nervous" doing something nice for themselves. But, we call it guilt. Most women's minds' tell us "do more, more, more. The sky will fall if all the dishes are not done." Between husbands and children, work and home, so many women feel pulled in multiple directions and the work seems to never be done.
Here is my challenge to you, the next time you feel "guilty" for stopping to enjoy a cup of tea, taking a nap or leaving a load of laundry undone, tell yourself , "Yin or Feminine guilt is a GOOD sign that I am doing something for myself." Rejoice and also ask yourself, "What am I really feeling?" You may feel a funny feeling in your stomach, you may even feel scared like something bad will happen because you are doing for yourself and not doing for others. After all, there is a great deal of pressure on women to mother the world.
Dr. Patricia Allen PhD, CBT and Author, advises women to change from full-time giving and nurturing mothers back into self-loving women who start putting their own needs first after children reach about eight to ten-years-old. A woman who self sacrifices for children who can do for themselves and healthy adults not only hurts her body in the long run, but also sets a poor example for her daughters and sons on how a woman needs to care for herself. I love the example I heard of a self-loving woman whose son started doing all his own laundry at age eight.
The best thing you can do for yourself, others and the world is take a moment for yourself. And, no matter how many moments you take for yourself, no matter how much money you spend or what you accomplish, you simply will be unable to enjoy it without adequate sleep.
If I am sleep deprived, everthing is muted, I feel like a zombie, my heart races and I have a low grade headache at the base of my skull. If I get barely enough, the headache is gone and my heart beats at a regular rate but I still feel a little zombie like. When I am tired, I also tend to make lousy food choices and will eat more unhealthily and then sleep worse the next night. It is a self perpetuating cycle.
With enough sleep, I feel great and cannot wait to live my day. With a wonderful little nap, I am super charged and ecstactic.
So, knowing that feminine or yin "guilt" isn't really guilt and also that it is a GOOD sign when you are taking care of your body, I pose two questions to you:
How well rested are you right now?
What is your secret to good sleep or your plan for better sleep (ie what guilt will you let go of so your body and spirit can feel better?