Recently I read that some of the recent research on sleep shows that we can bank extra sleep in preparation for a late night ahead but it takes our bodies two weeks to catch up. I find the blending of science and practicality fascinating in all kinds of ways.
What really struck me the most was that a small, tiny step towards something could make an impact.
Basically, by going to bed just ten or fifteen minutes early each evening for a couple of weeks allowed the body to more gracefully recover from a night of only a few hours of sleep.
It’s doubly fascinating to me because I used to hold tight to the adage “I’ll sleep when I’m dead”.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m all about working hard and making good use of time. I’m all about adventure and celebration. But one of the lessons I’ve learned over the last four years is that sleeping doesn’t mean I’m going to miss out on anything.
In fact, when I give my body adequate sleep, then it allows me to perform at the very tip-top of my game. (And continual shortage of sleep leads to all kinds of health problems, shortening life span. Ironic, huh??) Sleep is truly our body’s reset button. And how we restore.
We are here in bodily form and must give our bodies what is necessary for it to thrive: good food, lots of water and adequate sleep.But we aren’t just bodies. We are mind, emotions and soul, too.
The lesson I’ve learned about sleep calls me to extrapolate the research to other things. It got me to thinking about how our souls (and emotional stores) need bank, too.
Though we’d love to believe that our emotional health and soul lessons are all going to be in tip top shape and be predictable and controllable, life just doesn’t work that way, does it? We never know when some minor event will give us a flashback into less-than stellar time for our emotional or mental life or memories.
What if you could shore up for an event that was soul sucking? What if you could store up for an emotional shock? What if you could put enough emotional and soul bank aside so that when you encounter a person that is in a spiral, you don’t get sucked into it and can offer compassion?
What if you could take tiny steps towards adding to your personal banks? What if you could purposefully choose to shore up your soul? Your body’s bank, as we know, is filled with good foods, water, sleep and moving your body.
What would filling your emotional stores look like? How can you shore up your soul? What tiny pieces of self-care can move into adding bank? Think in tiny increments, like going to bed 10 minutes early for your body. Things that come to mind for me are:
- Walks in the sunshine.
- A gratitude practice.
- Noticing nature.
- Hugs. Kisses.
- Reading a good book.
- Finding humor in ourselves.
- Lounging in bed. Snuggling. Sex.
- Dinner by candlelight.
- Shared laughter.
So, here’s what I’m discovering and playing with….
If you live life at a full-out pace, filling it to the rim with busy, shorting yourself on sleep and buying into the belief that busy equals worthy or that you can sleep when you’re dead, then when you do have a late night or a challenging emotional event, it’s going to take time to recover.
However. If you find ways to shore up your body by caring for it, you recover faster. And, therefore, if you shore up your heart and your soul by caring for yourself, you bounce back more quickly, too.
What about you? What tiny steps toward self-care can you take that will shore up your mind, body, and soul?