My Best Defense: A good night’s rest!
Before radio and television host Steve Harvey’s talk show ended its on-air run, the 62-year-old was under fire for his comments concerning sleep. During one of his shows Harvey commented:
“Rich people don’t sleep eight hours a day! You can’t live in L.A. and wake up at 8 o’clock in the morning. It’s 11 o’clock on the east coast. The stock market (has) been open for two hours. They already making decisions about your life and you were asleep.”
Harvey’s remarks on sleep caused an uproar on social media, especially from Black Twitter. For many, Harvey devalued the significance of sleep, which plays a massive role in self-care. So, what is self-care? Self-care is an activity that we do to take care of our mental, emotional, and physical health. However, the term is easier said than done and for many. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), adults should get about seven hours of sleep or more per night.
In a recent article written by Neima Jordan for Essence Magazine, “Why Black Women Need More Sleep” Jordan noted that insomnia is more common among Black women than any other group. Although research suggests that adhering to a consistent self-care regimen with adequate sleep is vital to living a balanced life, it may be challenging for many— especially Black women living in major urban centers and leading busy lives.
Below are some self-care tips that will help you feel inspired and empowered:
Mental Health Matters
Mental health is a vital aspect of self-care. Take a day or a couple of hours to reflect on your life, write down the things you’re grateful for and that which you wish to improve in your life. Read a motivational book that is uplifting and inspiring, even take a walk outside to get a breath of fresh air. If you often seem stress due to the weighty expectations of life, seek a therapist or other mental health support services that will help you cope, vent, and take the edge off.
If your body shuts down, there is no way that you will be able to function and complete your tasks. Take a minute to yourself to breath by inhaling and exhaling. Try stretching your body when you wake up in the morning to help with blood flow and consider starting your day with a 1- minute exercise. Before bed take a warm bath with Epsom salt. On the weekend, treat yourself to a massage or a nice bubble bath.
Eat this, not that: Healthier food choices
What you put in your body will make a significant difference in how you feel. Your digestive and nutritional health affects your brain health, said Rachel Kelly, author of The Happiness Diet. For a healthy and balanced diet, fill your plate with fruits and vegetables for a great source of vitamins, minerals, fiber, and antioxidants. When cooking, try herbs and spices to help lower blood sugar and cholesterol levels. Herbs and spices also boost the immune system and improve brain function. Also consider nuts, seeds, and natural yogurts. Be sure to eat regularly throughout the day to keep your metabolism up, limit sugar intake, swap out white pasta for whole wheat pasta, and eat food that will help you sleep better such as bananas, potatoes, almonds, seeds, and whole-grain oats. They are rich in tryptophan. Tryptophan is an amino acid that is involved in the synthesis of melatonin, the sleep hormone.
Despite the comments from Harvey that rich people don’t sleep eight hours a night, you NEED to sleep eight hours. Start setting an alarm so you can train your body to go to bed at a decent time for a full seven to eight hours of sleep. You need this time for your body to relax. Plus, sleep helps to increase productivity throughout the day. Without the proper amount of sleep, a person could increase their chances of high blood pressure, obesity, diabetes, heart attack, heart failure, and stroke. Sleep deprivation can also affect your appearance, sex drive, and cause depression.