Getting Enough Sleep Might Be Your Most Important Tool To Cultivate Resilience
It is clear that we will be fighting the Coronavirus (COVID-19) as a global community for some time. As we prepare for the long haul and accept the many disappointments, closings, and changes to our routines, it is apparent this will be a marathon and not a sprint. We are building stamina and growing capacity in our fight against this pandemic, and getting enough sleep will be fundamentally important to all of us.
In Washington DC, we have spent the week anticipating a stimulus package, following the increasingly dire COVID-19 data, and adjusting to our individual new normals. Whether we are learning how to clean our groceries, struggling to homeschool children, or grieving another casualty of the virus, we each feel the weight of stress and face new levels of anxiety in our lives. We tackle these new challenges all while attempting to connect with loved ones, build healthy routines, and look for silver linings wherever they might be. And it turns out, there are many.
Funny memes, inspiring virtual performances, FaceTime chats, online fitness classes, reconnecting with our families and our kitchens, time with our books and our memories, and simply the mandate to stay home have forced us to slow down, nest, and rest. And we have needed it. We have been on overdrive for a while now.
Every person I talked to this week noticed they were sleeping more. Whether later to wake up, earlier to sleep, or more drawn to napping, it is clear sleep was needed, and is happening, which is so good. With the initial stress of changing our lives somewhat behind us, and new routines taking hold, it makes sense that we are all feeling a little safer, more adjusted, and now increasingly tired. Like finishing exams, or turning in a big project, there is a certain exhale that follows a stressful push, and perhaps this week has been like that in some way.
Generally, and now in particular, sleep might just be the healthiest thing you can do for your physical and your mental wellness. Like with interval training, we get strongest when we have periods of rest between exertion where we can repair and gain strength.
So if you find yourself feeling weary from all the stress and sleeping a bit more, bravo! By all means do it. This is your body feeling safe enough to pause and restore the energy it needs. And is a good sign that you are building the capacity you need to face whatever lies ahead.
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For more help with Covid-19 and mental health, consult the online resources listed below.
- https://www.apa.org/practice/programs/dmhi/research-information/social-distancing American Psychological Association
- Mental Health and Coping During COVID-19 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2020
- Parent/Caregiver Guide to Helping Families Cope with the Coronavirus Disease 2019 The National Child Traumatic Stress Network, 2020
- Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) Advice for the Public World Health Organization, 2020
- Taking Care of Your Behavioral Health: Tips for Social Distancing, Quarantine, and Isolation During an Infectious Disease Outbreak Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, 2014
- The psychological impact of quarantine and how to reduce it: rapid review of the evidence Brooks, S.K., et al., The Lancet, 2020