I have had a couple of things I have been working on, don’t have anything I feel ready to publish just yet, but ran across this from Center for Greater Good on how getting enough sleep is good for your relationships.
There are so many places where therapists talk about taking care of your mental health and end up talking about taking care of your physical health. Eating right, getting some exercise, and sleeping are all helpful. We know that the brain, the organ of thought and emotion, depends on proper care to work properly. In addition to the physical and obvious benefits of good nutrition, exercise, and sleep, there’s also the benefits in terms of a sense of self-efficacy– the sense that “I can do something that works.” In the case of self-care, this also dovetails nicely with self-soothing or self-nurturing, take your pick for what you want to call it.
There are times of extreme emergency when we can’t take a time out to self-nurture or self-soothe, but these are relatively rare. Even if I’m freaking out about taxes on April 14, I can still file an extension. I just need to get over my freakout before the extension expires. If I have a lifestyle that depends on the creation of crisis after crisis, that’s another conversation for a different time.
Many years ago, when AIDS was still a death sentence, I learned about some research that found that one group of women who were diagnosed with AIDS lived about six weeks after diagnosis. Given the nature of the disease, this was a shockingly short time, even before there were any medications. What further investigation showed was that these women were so busy taking care of others that they wouldn’t go to the doctor to get any help for themselves until they were nearly dead. The point here is that adequate self-care is also helpful to other people in your life. Taking care of yourself adequately means there’s less strain on others who might otherwise have to care for you, and you also have a greater capacity to help others in your life who you may wish to nurture.
For now, just recognize that when you take good care of yourself, you are also improving your ability to have good relationships and over all health. Self-care is not selfish.
The site from which the image was taken has some good tips on healthy sleep as well.