Building Your Resilience in 2023 Begins with Sleep
As you begin this new year, check in with your body and mind. Are you feeling centered and energized? Or, have you noticed that there is a pernicious weariness that accompanies you each day. You are not just a little sleepy, you are exhausted. It just doesn’t seem possible to fully recharge your batteries, or to ‘bounce back’ after a particularly busy period. If this feels true for you, you are not alone. Feeling exhausted, or losing your resilience, is one of the most common complaints I hear from the busy professionals who attend my workshops and retreats.
And what do you know about how you show up for your life when you aren’t feeling rested? Are you less patient? More likely to make a mistake? Less likely to embody compassion? You simply cannot live well when your body and mind are longing for rest. And when there are many days and weeks of feeling this exhaustion, it depletes your resilience. You are no longer capable of just bouncing back.
The ability to cultivate resilience is a multi-faceted practice, but it all begins with quality sleep. Over decades of working with professionals, I have found that the most common culprits interfering with your sleep can be significantly diminished if you are able to take 3 steps:
- Turn off all electronics at least one hour before you go to bed. The light from computers and phones stimulates the brain preventing it from beginning to relax and prepare for sleep.
- Leave all electronics outside the bedroom. Trying to sleep with your phone or laptop inches from your head sends the signal that the brain should stay on ‘high alert’ waiting for the next ding or notification icon. This is true even if it is turned off.
- When you are in bed, pay attention to the sensations of your breath. When your mind is pulled away from the breath and begins to go over your ‘to do’ list, or begins replaying a conversation, be consistent about letting it go for now, and returning your attention to your breath. Be patient with yourself but keep practicing in this way. You are training your mind to ease into sleep rather than worrying the night away.
These simple mindfulness steps are not easy. You may have conditioned yourself to be connected 24/7 but the toll on your brain and body is not sustainable, and the first place you may notice the effects is in poor sleep. Sleep is when you recharge so you can be at your best-your brain and your cells need this time to cultivate resilience and prepare you for the next day. Be patient with yourself and keep working on these steps until they become your nighttime regime.