Some of it has been outside of my control – just sleeplessness and insomnia. Add to the mix the fact that I’m a natural night-owl, and I tend to go to bed later than I should, given the time I need to be up again, and you can see where this is heading. When the alarm goes off in the morning, I’m still tired so I hit snooze a few times, find myself (unsurprisingly!) running late and decide to skip breakfast to make up some of that time, telling myself that a large latte when I get to work will be just as good. It isn’t as good though, and by mid-afternoon I’m barely functioning, and need a lot more caffeine to get me through to the end of the working day. When I get home, I’m so tired that I’ve dozed off in front of the TV for an hour or more…and…yup, you’ve guessed it, I’ve then ruined my sleep pattern because I’m wide awake when I should be winding down. Does any of that sound familiar? Have you found yourself in a similar pattern?
None of this is helpful when you’re trying to fit in a full day at work and a full evening of writing or blogging or tackling Amazon listings in the evening, as well as walking the pooch and giving him some quality playtime (oh and you know, running a house, cooking, cleaning, washing and all that jazz).
I already know how important sleep is – I’ve devoted all the actions and tips in Chapter 8 of the book to it. So why have I not taken my own advice? I guess it comes down to self-care. We have a long list of things we think are important – family, friends, our job, our pets. We then have a long list of things that might not be important but which need our attention – cleaning, cooking, washing, sorting out bills,…the list is endless. And because it’s endless, we rarely get time to look after ourselves. And then we find we’re exhausted, listless, lacking in motivation. On the rare occasions we do allow ourselves some time to re-energise, we often feel guilty – we feel as though we’re being selfish. Society has taught us that it’s all about the grafting, the beavering away, the selfless giving of ourselves.
But here’s the thing – if we haven’t spent time nourishing ourselves first – whether that’s through getting enough sleep, or getting a massage, or getting away for an afternoon at the beach – we don’t actually have anything to give.
I came across a quote from the wonderfully wise Maya Angelou which I think expresses it perfectly –
“I don’t trust people who don’t love themselves, and tell me ‘I love you.’…There is an African saying which is: Be careful when a naked person offers you a shirt.” – Maya Angelou
So I’m going to indulge in some eggstreme (sorry – but it IS Easter!) self-care – and allow myself to catch-up on sleep, to get into a good sleep routine and to enjoy a guilt-free day of walking the pooch, shooting the breeze with the family, and quite possibly demolishing a chocolate egg whilst reading a good book.
What are you going to include in your self-care prescription?