Over five decades of living, not counting the years before much cognitive development ;-), I feel I have a lot of experience to be able to share in the hopes that others can learn from my mistakes. The heart behind all of these posts is that they will land on someone who can really benefit from the words. This journey through life is too difficult to do it without help — I sure use all the help I can get!
Much used axioms and admonitions become so overused that we start to ignore them. But the reason they are used so frequently is because they are, indeed, true. So the very reason you hear them all the time leads to the very reason you ignore them! Quite a conundrum. And exactly why snake oil pitchmen can persuade us into all sorts of things — they say something new we haven’t heard before! (And therefore probably not true — there really IS nothing new under the sun!)
So my first piece of advice, I’m sure you’ve heard countless times. I’m bringing it up now because it’s affected me greatly recently, and this is the time of year we think about trying to change things. (Remember we were talking about finding a good WHY for your New Year’s resolution?)
Sleep. So important. Lack of it makes everything so much worse. Health. Strength. Relationships. Thoughts. Worries. You name it. I recently felt such lack of sleep that I actually felt dizzy! Really. Now you know that can’t be good; for your body, for your mind, or for those around you!
Here is the mat chat for this week with the kids, in keeping with the training theme of BALANCE:
Balance is needed throughout life, in every aspect of life. Sometimes you’re not aware of it — just standing and walking require balance!
Sometimes you hear that you should be more balanced — like in eating more vegetables and fewer desserts!
And with some things we rarely think about — when to speak and when to just listen. When to just “be” with a friend who’s hurting, and when to give advice or words of encouragement. How many layers to put on — too many and you’re too hot, too few and you’re too cold (please don’t leave any of your layers here!)
And probably most importantly when it comes to self-defense, is knowing when you need it – when you need to call out to someone for help – when you need to walk away from a situation – and when you need to block an attack and get away!
We want to not just train you to block and get away — but we also want to train your thinking and your awareness so you can AVOID situations that might require you to block an attack and get away!
Do you know what one single thing affects ALL of the above? One thing that upsets your balance — can even make you DIZZY? Not getting enough sleep! This week we want to remind you to make sure you are getting enough sleep and don’t fight your mom and dad when it comes to bedtime!
I want to stop and add a side note for parents here: last week one of our students, in school, did correctly and wisely use his blocks to defend himself against another student’s attack.. Fortunately a teacher witnessed the whole episode and he did not get into any trouble. The reason we tell students it is up to mom and dad to decide when they can use their karate is precisely because all of our blocks CAN be seen as a strike. So if there are no witnesses your child CAN be the one accused of striking. I do want to encourage you to a conversation with your child about when and where and how you think using their karate is appropriate. And once is not enough. As they grow and increase their karate skills, it’s a conversation to have repeatedly.
Back to sleep. Ok that doesn’t sound right. Back to wisdom from my years of experience. Not much better. Please, get the sleep you need!
Be realistic. Set a goal that is achievable for you, and one you can track and gain confidence as you achieve it.
Let’s say you have a hard time falling asleep at night. Allow yourself 30 minutes before you go to sleep to relax, whether that’s by reading, taking a bath, listening to soothing music, or spending quiet time with God. Maybe that’s too unrealistic for your busy schedule. So start with 15 minutes.
Let’s say you can fall asleep in an instant but it’s the amount of time you have for sleep that’s the problem. Maybe just move up the time you go to bed gradually – 10 minutes for a week, 15 minutes the next week; you get the idea. A lot of times we think, “I can’t do that” but really, we don’t even want to try. Give it a try. Just a few extra minutes. Set your alarm to start getting ready for bed earlier than you normally do. Inch your way back to going to bed early enough that you start to wake up your own, without an alarm. For most people, that’s a good way to be sure you’re getting enough sleep.
I know some people have some real sleep issues that they need to address with their doctors. But for most of us it’s just a question of discipline. (You want to set a good disciplined example for your kids!) Or of thinking it’s really not that important. (It is!) Or that all that I am doing while I am awake is much more important. (It’s not!)
Here’s to being transformed in 2017!