I was reminded today about the importance of rest in our daily lives. Perhaps it came to the forefront of my mind because I had a very productive day and now I’m feeling a bit depleted. These feelings made me recall a workbook I began a few months back called The Self-Esteem Workbook.
I was strongly encouraged years ago by my therapist at the time to do the above mentioned workbook. Unfortunately, I put it off for quite some time. Then, a few months ago, I decided to crack it open and give it my all. It’s important to note that this is a workbook and not just a book. It really does require work. You write in it, you practice it, you re-evaluate yourself; it’s work. They even note in the beginning that you should “resist the tendency to read through [the] book quickly. Instead, commit now to applying and mastering each skill before moving on to try the next one.”
The first topic the book speaks about is the importance of a healthy body in improving one’s mental health. The book puts it simply, “You can’t ignore your body and expect to feel good.” It outlines the importance of exercise, healthy eating, and proper sleep. Obviously, none of these topics are cutting edge concepts. There are countless studies supporting the simple fact that our bodies (and our minds) need these approaches to thrive. The workbook then has you lay out a written plan for yourself in an effort to better care for your body before trying to work on your mental health. I wrote my plan. I attempted my plan. I cut corners on my plan. Then, I forgot my plan. Then, because it told me to not go on in the workbook until I applied and mastered each skill, I stopped the book.
Sadly, it’s not the first time I’ve stopped something because it got too hard. I’m sure I’m not alone in this department. While I need improvement in all of these categories, sleep seems to be the easiest one to adjust and yet I stay up way too late every night. I’m already a grouch as it is in the morning, the last thing I need to add to my morning routine is sleep deprivation.
When I was at my absolute worst about not getting to bed at a decent hour, I saw what a huge impact it had on my family, particularly my children. They became the brunt of my irritable behavior and tired body. I found myself yelling at them more often. It was really a sad discovery to see the negative impact my sleep choices had on my mood and, as collateral damage, my family.
So, I’m reminding myself again, and perhaps others that may need to hear it, that an appropriate amount of sleep and regularity in your sleep pattern is crucial to your body, your mental health, and those you come in contact with. Trying to skip on sleep to accomplish one more thing, or watch one more show, or check Facebook one more time will eventually catch up with you and the results aren’t pretty.
I love how Jeffrey R. Holland, an American educator and religious leader, put it in a recent address: “…watch for the stress indicators in yourself and in others you may be able to help. As with your automobile, be alert to rising temperatures, excessive speed, or a tank low on fuel…Fatigue is the common enemy of us all—so slow down, rest up, replenish, and refill. Physicians promise us that if we do not take time to be well, we most assuredly will take time later on to be ill.”
So, I’m going to recommit myself to improving my aerobic exercise, my eating practices, and my sleep hygiene. Who knows? I may just make it to the next chapter before the end of the year? Of course, to do so, I need to wrap this post up and bid you all goodnight.