In the middle of this series on self-care, ironically [or not] I got sick. In fact, for most of April, it seemed that as soon as I got well, I’d get sick again. The stomach flu. Some random stomach virus. A head cold.
I haven’t been that sick, or sick so frequently since I was working full-time while in graduate school. 10+ years ago. I mean, other than my adrenals being shot, my immune system usually functions exceptionally well.
Regardless, I felt a bit derailed.
At first I laughed
Mid-April, my friend Toni (over at Red Pen Travelers) announced that she was going to be participating in Elle Luna’s #The100DayProject. I joked that if I did such a thing, I was going to have to make it #100daysofsleep and laughed it off.
Remember how mentioned before that I’ve been learning to lean into changes incrementally, breaking larger self-care goals into smaller steps so that I can better develop habits that serve my health? The more I thought about this 100 day thing, the more it made sense. It certainly couldn’t hurt.
Inspired by the words of Mara Glatzel,
“It is no one else’s job to tend to our needs but our own…we are the sole beneficiaries of our hard work on our own behalf.”
“And, not only are you allowed, but this is your job and no one else’s. This is your patch of earth to tend.”
I decided it was time to start leaning into the necessary changes specifically related to my sleep habits so that I could aid my body’s healing. Specifically. In a way that could be tracked and measured. And thus, #100daysofbettersleep was born.
100 Days of Better Sleep
The first few nights, I tried something new every night. Going to bed earlier (I aimed for 9pm-9:30pm instead of 10pm-10:30pm). Using a weighted blanket (of course). Adding the Twilight app to my phone. Making sure my room was clean instead of cluttered. The kinds of things “sleep hygiene” is made of.
I have tried a few other activities as well: like a warm bath, a walk during the day, and using a rice sock to help me warm up when I was cold before bed. A cup of chamomile tea.
As each day progressed, I realized that while I will try a variety of things over the remainder of the 100 days, there seems to be something powerful about the routine. About choosing to not stay up playing on my phone. About crawling under that weighted blanket and allowing the relaxation it brings to wash over my body.
In a conversation with my husband, I made a comment about how I work from the time my feet hit the floor ’til the kids are in bed. And I don’t mean working on my business, although plenty of that happens, too. I mean all the other things that go into being a parent and orchestrating life.
Somewhere in those thoughts I realized that when I was pushing thru being sick, pushing thru feeling run down, pushing thru to whatever supposedly had to be done, I was scraping from the bottom of the barrel, depleting my own resources and health.
And I needed to STOP.
I needed to start paying attention more, taking notice of my sense of weariness or strength. Heeding my body’s cues to rest (not lazy!) and care for myself.
As I move forward with these new habits, I remind myself and encourage you to approach self-care with kindness. With gentleness. To take care of myself not because I “have-to” or because I “should”, but because I’m worth being cared for.
Again inspired by Mara Glatzel: I encourage myself to continue to develop these habits of self-care because “self-care is not a punishment“, even when it is inconvenient and/or hard work. (What’s more, self-care it not an atonement for all the ways I’ve failed at self-care in the past.)
The surprise of the snowball effect
One other thing that I’ve noticed is that somehow, purposing to make improvements in ONE area of self-care seems to be having an affect on other areas. I’m doing better eating food that really nurtures my body (doesn’t that sound better than “adhering to my dietary restrictions? haha) and being more consistent with the supplements and protocols my nutritionist has me on.
Almost like, somehow, there is a little bit of a snowball effect going on. I’m reminded of Brigitte Lyons‘ words at the QPS Summit this past weekend. She talked about how most of the time those big snowballs we think of when we talk about “the snowball effect” start very, very small and have to be gently nurtured. Apparently that metaphor works for other things, too… not just business growth and development.
Will you join me?
So I’ve committed myself to taking better care of myself. Not just in general, but in this very real and measurable way. I have every intention of looking back at the end of the 100 days and being able to see a difference in my habits, as well as reaping the rewards of better sleep (have you ever noticed how that manages to affect every other part of our lives?).
If you want to follow along with the [mostly] daily #100daysofbettersleep updates, follow me on Instagram.
Better still, take a picture of what YOU are doing to nurture your self-care habits, and post it with #100daysofbettersleep and tag me @lorasweightedblankets. I am excited to see what you’ve been working on!