Friday, 9 May 2014

Rest is a Weapon

This is the new motto in my group of friends, and as the universe always does so beautifully, it backed it up with more and more for me to take note of.  

Recently, a woman in one of my circle groups, who runs her own business, has two very young children, and who is always sleep deprived, shared with us a gem from Arianna Huffington, the co-founder of the Huffington Post and author of numerous books.  It is an interview with her about the impact the lack of sleep had on her and her research into it.  She describes herself as a sleep evangelist.  She literally talks about sleeping our way to the top of the corporation!

Now, my relationship with sleep has always been a bit of a battle.  I absolutely LOVE my sleep, but to get my self to bed on time is a whole different matter.  Almost every night, it's the same story!!  "Tonight", I declare to exhausted morning self, "I will get into bed early!" And I truly mean it. I've even gone as far as pleading with the angels to help me get into bed early! :-)  And then most nights, when it comes to it, I just don't manage it.  There is always something I am busy with and 'have' to finish, whether it is tidying up the kitchen after putting the kids to bed, checking and signing their homework or quickly checking through emails, searching the net, or reading my book, writing, blogging ...  Plus, I hate leaving something undone and not finished.  I think I am also a bit of a night owl to be honest. Often, at eight thirty in the evening when my hubby says he's off to bed, I feel a kind of horror or panic, because it is 'still so early' and there's lots I still want to do. It probably also stems from not getting to do my things from about one in the afternoon when I fetch my children from school until about eight at night, and so there is an urgency to get stuff done when they have gone to bed.   As a result, I am often sleep deprived, feel it, look it and then always complain about it to myself in my morning pages!! Same story, different day. 

Yet my mother on the other hand, makes sure she gets enough rest and I have watched her this last year and a half and how the amount of rest she has, has helped her physically cope with the stress and angst of losing my dad.  She has not been ill with flu or any kind of bug in the last couple of years and I firmly believe it is because she gives her body the rest it needs. Even when she was visiting my dad in hospital everyday for five months, in among all the bugs there and especially with my dad having contracted more than one super bug.  I on the other hand, have been ill countless times and I know it is always because I have not had enough sleep, so where I cannot honour my body's needs, it forces me to rest when I am pushing it too hard, and it is always with a cold!!  According to Louise Hay, a cold is when there is too much going on in one's life and mind.  Well that fits the picture for me most times.  

So I love what Arianna had to say in this interview and her new book, "Thrive." Take a look. 

I have also added two other questions she was asked in another interview and her response to those because I think they are very powerful.  
You've described yourself as a "sleep evangelist"...  How has it improved your life?
Since I renewed my estranged relationship with sleep, it improved my life immeasurably. I feel more creative, less stressed, and more productive. Sleep is now a major editorial focus for us at the Huffington Post, and we also have two nap rooms that are constantly booked. And last year I gave all my friends the same Christmas gift -- a Pottery Barn alarm clock, so they could stop using the excuse that they needed their very tempting and sleep-depriving iPhone by their bed to wake them up in the morning! 

How amazing is that?  A nap room?!  I think it is ingenious and so honouring of our lives and that we might just need a nap to function properly and be more creative today!  So forward thinking.  In a video clip of Elizabeth Gilbert's home, she takes us through her amazing 'skybrary' where she has done a lot of her writing and there in the one corner is a huge king size bed for when a nap is needed when her creativity is low.
And then this comparison blew me away ...
So it’s about changing our priorities?I was looking at my phone and saw that it was 95% charged and I thought, we are so much more conscious about how charged our phones are versus how charged we are. It’s too bad we don’t have the same kind of indicator to show how depleted we are. We have a million ways to recharge our phones, portable chargers, cables, extra battery packs, but look at how we treat ourselves. Our own energy has to be below 5% before we figure out that we need to sleep, to recharge, to take a break. That has to change.
So my wise body always speaks for me when I just cannot let go of the doing, and forces me to rest.  Why can't I just acknowledge and allow myself the rest to recharge like I do with everything else?  This last week I have been more conscious of getting into bed even twenty minutes earlier and allowing my body the rest it needs so that I can function better the next day, even just in my relationships!

Rest has become my new weapon!