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REST: The Physical And Soul Care Of Good Rest!

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I think most people know or have heard how important a good night's sleep is. It's listed in the top 5 things to do for optimal health, but I would venture to say it could easily hold the title for that number one spot. I think anyone who has ever felt sleep deprived would agree, when you're tired, absolutely everything feels like it doesn't matter in the moment except getting to lay down and close your eyes. I have personally walked through the months of sleep deprivation that a mom experiences with a newborn, 4 times. I have also experienced it when my female hormones decided to go haywire, when my schedule and to do list were overloaded, and even as the mother of teens and adult children that you stay awake worried for. Bottom line, there are a multitude of ways to find yourself in this place, especially in a world that never stops and technology that is always drawing you in and keeping you connected.

This week on my social media pages I have been talking about taking action to achieve the changes, dreams, and results you want. I absolutely believe in the power of action and doing what it takes to make something happen. That said, I also believe that you must have adequate rest to be able to take sustainable action towards a goal.

In the physical realm, rest and deep sleep are required for the body to be able to produce hormones necessary to repair tissue, bones, and muscles. Deep sleep reinforces the immune response, increases blood flow through the body, creating a “fresh” blood supply, and also even helps to produce the testosterone we need. Each of the sleep cycles is important to a good night's sleep and the recovery effect we need to feel rested and rejuvenated. Each cycle takes about 90-120 minutes, which is why it's important to get around 8 hours of sleep to allow the body time to go through each cycle fully.

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Getting good sleep takes some preparation and forethought. Some of the easiest things you can do to ensure good sleep is limiting caffeine intake late in the day, avoiding stimulating activities close to bedtime and turning off screens at least an hour before your desired sleep time. A few additional things I like to do include taking a warm bath, a skincare routine, my favorite pajamas, my favorite essential oils, and a cup of hot tea. You can also add things like ultra soft sheets, diffusers for essential oils, soft music or meditations, and self care oil massage or dry brushing. Whatever your preference, the important thing is to create a nighttime routine and stick with it. This signals to your body a rhythm and reminds it that it's time to slow down and rest. There are a few supplements I take as well to aid in my sleep and that is Pureencapsulations Magnesium and Pureencapsulations Inositol powder. There are many options out there if you have trouble sleeping or lowering your cortisol levels when it's time to sleep. I personally recommend and have worked with my functional medicine doctor to decide what supplements were best for me. While many are over the counter and available to anyone, it is still a good idea to work with an FM physician to look at your personal labs and decide what will work best for your sleep cycle.

Now for the best part. Rest as soul care. Another aspect of “rest” is living in a state of peace. Living in a way that doesn't keep you in adrenal fatigue, and stressed to the max with each day. Choosing to say no and not overcommit when you know it will interfere with how you can function over all, and how you can keep your healthy habits, including rest, intact. One of the deeper issues behind this, I think especially as women, is that we feel the world will not be ok if we don’t do everything for everyone every time we are asked. Maybe it feels good to be needed and included, maybe it feels scary to miss out on something. For whatever reason, we often say yes to too much, thereby saying no to things like adequate rest and peace of mind. I know very well what it's like to be in high demand. I was a working mom of 4 for many years. I also volunteered places and tried to be a good wife, daughter, friend, and even squeeze in early morning workouts to maintain my own health. I know first hand what it's like to have so much that you want, and sometimes need to say yes to. That said, I can tell you with 100 percent certainty that we were not made to live in this way. We can handle a lot, but we weren't designed to handle everything, and it actually never produces our best work or our best relationally. A depleted version of you will never be the best version of you. Sure, some seasons of life are a little harder, but I still believe we can protect our time, our body, and our peace if we are committed to it and willing to set

boundaries and keep them.

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Spiritually speaking, I am of the Christian faith and choose the bible as the primary guide to my life. You may not find yourself in the same spiritual place, but I do still believe these words I discovered regarding rest can speak to you too. In Matthew 11:28, the verse says, “Come to me (Jesus), all who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest.” I have heard this many times before and didn't think much of it except that it sounded nice. However, recently as I read further iit says “Take up my yoke (this is like a harness that would attach you to something or someone) and LEARN FROM ME (Jesus) because I am lowly and humble in heart, and you will find REST for your SOULS. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” The words “learn from me” jumped off the page. Jesus did a lot in his life and he was at peace, he was effective beyond words, and he was not hurried or stressed. I think that's someone I could safely say I’d like to learn from! Then it says,”I am lowly and of humble heart.” Something clicked for me. Jesus absolutely knew who he was and why he was here. He of all people was sure of himself and confident of his mission, purpose, and calling while he walked this earth. He wasn't humble and lowly because he wasn't important or valuable or needed. He was humble because even though he knew his own value, he also valued others and loved people to the point of giving his life because he didn't see himself as better than. So, my point is this, as I read the words and discovered what I could learn from him, I could see clearly how we too, can walk around in this world so incredibly confident of who we are, we can know and believe in our value and our mission, and purpose for our life that only we can live. AND we can simultaneously be humble, realizing that the world is not spinning on OUR axis, and that we are not the most important person in the room. The world does need our unique gifts, but the world will also go on without us. Not everything is meant for us, and as part of our self care and our health care, we must learn when to say no, what to give up, what boundaries to set, and how to allow ourselves to REST when needed. It's more than ok and it's not lazy to get the rest you need. I am not suggesting a full time life of leisure, this is not realistic. I am saying that we don't have to burn the candle at both ends 24/7. We don't have to do things we don't want just to please others. If the creator of the universe took a day of rest then surely we can too. We can at least start with a good night's rest!

I hope if you are able to relate to the subject of rest, that you will feel a little more equipped to think about the importance of how you rest, and the way that translates into how you can show up in this world. Because remember the world does need exactly who you were meant to be! But you were never meant to be tired, rundown, used, and abused. You were designed to serve a unique purpose, to have healthy relationships and meaningful work. You have a light to shine that no one else can. Don't let that light burn out!

My call to action for you, say no to one thing this week that wasn't meant for you and get creative on making your nighttime routine something to look forward to.

With love and peace,

Keri :)


Quick Note: Here is the links from above once more, incase you could not open them above!

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