Self-Care and Being Humble

I used to be one of those people who says things like, “Oh, I only get about five hours of sleep a night. That’s all I need.”

Or, “I just don’t have the luxury of going to the gym. I’m way too busy.”

But over the last few years, I’ve come to the realization that optimum performance in life and work isn’t really possible if we don’t tend to our physical health, and that includes getting enough sleep and exercise. It’s been hard for me to accept the fact that our bodies were created with certain needs, and that we can’t function our best if those needs aren’t met.

I wonder if these needs serve, in part, to keep us humble, to remind us that we’re human and limited. By thinking I could circumvent the natural requirements of my physical body, I was being kind of arrogant, believing that I’m somehow special, different, exempt from the physical limitations of this existence.

Certain religious traditions have a long history of denying the body’s needs as a way of life and a path to God. I’m not arguing with that, because I rarely hear anyone claiming not to need sleep or exercise because they’re trying to become more spiritually enlightened. It’s because they’re so busy, have so much work to do, have goals and dreams that simply can’t be fit into the normal day. They’re sacrificing for a higher purpose.

I get that—it’s what I used to say. And I think it’s okay for limited periods of time to allow yourself to go without some of the necessities. Just last week, I had three nights in a row with less than five hours of sleep a night because of my workload. But I could not have sustained it for much longer.

It’s well-known that sleep and exercise are necessary for us to function at our peak. Yet most of us don’t get enough of either (and we don’t exactly eat the healthiest diet). Do we really think we’re above the natural limitations of our bodies? Are we kidding ourselves, thinking we’re functioning optimally, when we could be doing so much better if we were healthier?

And why does our culture seem to put so much pressure on us to accomplish so much in our days, our weeks, our years?

I’ve been pondering all of this as I’ve tried to take better care of myself—sort of an experiment in cultivating humility by sleeping more and exercising daily (as paradoxical as that sounds). It forces me to admit I can’t “do it all” – I am human, and limited, and I have to make choices. All of this is somehow helping me feel more peaceful and whole—even while lamenting that I don’t have enough hours in the day.

What about you? How are you taking care of yourself these days? Have you ever thought about the relationship between a humble attitude and recognizing the need to take care of yourself?

Rachelle Gardner

Literary agent at Gardner Literary. Coffee & wine enthusiast (not at the same time) and dark chocolate connoisseur. I've worked in publishing since 1995 and I love talking about books!


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  3. Anonymous on November 1, 2010 at 11:19 AM

    >What a great post! Thank you for your honesty and insight…soooo true! One of my favorite authors,
    Renee Trudeau writes, "Self-care is not about pampering. It's about owning your personal power. It's about self-worth and honoring the person you are". We need to take care of ourselves, physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually in order to live optimally!

  4. Andrea Costantine on October 28, 2010 at 9:03 AM

    >A true post for so many, including myself. I've also sacrificed health and exercise for busyness. Lately, I've decided to adopt a new motto "I used to think being busy meant I was important, not it just means I'm stupid" And the word stupid is said lightly, it's just not smart to work so hard that we crash, burn, get sick, and feel deflated. "Slow and steady wins the race." and a sprinter can only sprint for so long. I have to constantly renew my commitment to self-care, but more and more I think people in the US are waking pu to realizing that work, work, work isn't the only thing to life.

  5. Sana Quijada on October 27, 2010 at 1:02 PM

    >Thanks Ms. Gardner. I enjoyed your post. Especially "By thinking I could circumvent the natural requirements of my physical body, I was being kind of arrogant, believing that I'm somehow special, different, exempt from the physical limitations of this existence." Love that insight. I write a blog on self-care every day,
    Obviously per your own words, you're "busy." But… if you'd like to take a look, I'd be honored.
    Keep on!

  6. Carol J. Garvin on October 27, 2010 at 12:47 PM

    >A friend recovering from cancer once reminded me that our bodies are the temples of God… gifts from God that we should appreciate and treat respectfully. I often forget that and unconsciously take the 'deny thyself' admonition too far, believing that, even when I mistreat His gift, He will give me the strength to do all the things that I've let fill my days.

    Thanks for this timely reminder.

  7. Sara Flower on October 27, 2010 at 12:33 PM

    >This is so true! I find that running helps sharpen my writer's mind.

  8. Joanna K. on October 27, 2010 at 11:48 AM

    >Way to go! You are so right. This is something I wish every person understood, writer or otherwise.

  9. kangaroobee on October 27, 2010 at 7:27 AM

    >I'm so glad you posted this too, although I can't ever see me having time or inclination for the gym. My treadmill is a few paces away probably with cobwebs on. I change up my writing habits all the time to try and find the perfect balance. It's working but it's also time to add exercise to the list. I am sleep training my youngest and nights are awful so I'm going easy on myself. I'm a fan of naps too, but I should take them as soon as H sleeps not five minutes before she wakes up!

  10. The Capillary on October 26, 2010 at 10:32 PM

    >I'm so glad you posted something like this. I'm a big advocate for healthy lifestyles, although I'm fully aware of obligations that come with life. Jobs, kids, friends, bills, etc.

    I'm a shift worker and often work nights, and then going to the gym after shifts. People think I'm crazy, because all that time I could be sleeping. But I feel so much better, and yes, I have an hour less sleep, but it's the best sleep I get.

    Because of my constantly rotation schedule, I get tired at random times during the day and I've become a fan of naps. I've also been called crazy for this, but it's the best 30 min to yourself you'll ever get.

    Go Team Nap!

  11. stephonavich on October 26, 2010 at 10:21 PM

    >The collective subconscious strikes again! I read your post right after I laid down my first draft for today's "uncommon question" (my blog) about what nourishes your spirit? I found your blog right in tune with what I try to tell people everyday – you have to do something for you so you can recharge and have the energy for life. Not just once a month, once a week and sometimes more than once a day. I say tell it! But, your not just telling, you're showing too! Excellent work!

  12. Barb W on October 26, 2010 at 10:13 PM

    >This post fits right in with the blog I write. I address the lies we tell ourselves (such as "I'm too busy to . . . ") to justify eating improperly.


  13. Ishta Mercurio on October 26, 2010 at 10:11 PM

    >That said, I do eat a very healthy diet, and I do exercise for 20 minutes every day. But I skimp on sleep. But it keeps me sane. It's a balance.

  14. Ishta Mercurio on October 26, 2010 at 10:10 PM

    >This was very thought-provoking.

    I don't know if it's pressure from society to achieve, as much as it is acceptance by society of an individual's desire to achieve. Not too long ago, for example, women were expected to be happy with a life at home, serving their husbands and raising obedient children and keeping their houses clean and sewing curtains. But they weren't happy, and an awful lot of them ended up with prescriptions for anti-depressants. Even today, in our world of latchkey children and supermoms, I know lots of housewives (now "stay-at-home-moms") who are going quietly crazy while they put their ambitions on hold in order to put their children first.

    For me, going without a few hours of sleep every night is a small price to pay for the feeling that I am giving myself the opportunity to tap into some of my potential beyond my mothering and cooking skills.

  15. OlwenAnderson on October 26, 2010 at 9:39 PM

    >Thanks for this Rachelle – I'm going to post a link to this on my blog and Facebook page. My readers need to hear this from someone other than me! 🙂

  16. Jan Markley on October 26, 2010 at 7:21 PM

    >This is a great post! We all need to remind ourselves to take better care of ourselves!

  17. Susan Panzica - EternityCafe on October 26, 2010 at 3:34 PM

    >Just last week, my friends & I became accountability partners. No more white flour or sugar. We're taking it a week at at time, and setting new goals each week. It's been easier than I thought, and keeps me properly focused.

    As for sleep – it really is our culture that sets the do-it-all standard. In Europe, everything closes for an afternoon siesta. No stigma about getting enough rest!

    Also, people have different needs regarding sleep. Since birth, my daughter needs very little, and my son needs a lot. Declaring how much is too much or not enough varies from person to person, so how can we attach a value to what is productive or not?

  18. Jill Kemerer on October 26, 2010 at 3:29 PM

    >I can SO relate to this. We want to get everything done but it's impossible. Sleep is not only necessary, but it's wonderful too. I love the sensory experience of getting into bed, snuggling with a soft throw, and settling in to rest.

    I've come to realize that everything about bed is a beautiful gift from God! Now exercise on the other hand… Just kidding!

  19. wonderer on October 26, 2010 at 3:28 PM

    >Self-care, yes, that's a hard one…

    I recently had a wake-up call in the form of back problems. Apparently sitting at the work desk for eight hours including lunch, then coming home and sitting at the computer for three hours or so, is not good for the back. Who knew? 😉 I'm now making it a point to get out of the office at lunch, and to move around more often.

    I've also noticed that I feel way happier after a walk outdoors or even a short trip to the gym, so am trying to do that more often. My new favourite form of exercise is contra dance – it's so much fun that I don't notice how hard I've exercised until I'm sore the next day.

    Still working on the sleep and sugar issues…

  20. Chantal on October 26, 2010 at 3:18 PM

    >I agree! I always strive for a good nights sleep because without it, I fall apart. And with my blood sugar issues, I have to eat a good diet. Not that I do ALL the time, but I try. I do have a bad habit of filling my days with a packed schedule… that might be the result of my husband being deployed and keeping busy to pass the time.

  21. Lindsay on October 26, 2010 at 3:12 PM

    >What a great blog topic! This is something I've struggled with for years: the necessity of a fulltime job, and the desire/need to come home at night and write for several hours. At the expense of… what? Used to be, everything. I've had to learn that putting off exercise, decent sleep and a balanced diet in an effort to "push through" that latest WIP only makes it more difficult for me to function. I've never thought about how humility relates to this, but I like looking at it that way. 🙂

  22. Caroline on October 26, 2010 at 3:09 PM

    >Health is such an important topic for all of us, but especially if our jobs (like writing and probably agenting) call for a lot of sitting.

    I love this thought of yours: "I wonder if these needs serve, in part, to keep us humble, to remind us that we're human and limited."

    I also think that we need to model what we want to see in others. Especially in parenting, if we want our children to see that its important to care for ourselves as a way to be thankful for what God has given us, then we need to do that ourselves. It involves living out what we teach.

    Thanks for bringing attention to this need today.

  23. T. Anne on October 26, 2010 at 2:05 PM

    >I try not to skimp on sleep, but life happens and sometimes I fall behind. I'm also very big on nutrion and vitamins, and try to do some form of excersize each day. This year the Lord has really tought me to view life through the lens of humilty in so many ways.

  24. Imani on October 26, 2010 at 1:58 PM

    >Since July, I changed my eating habits and jog six days a week For all of my hard work, I lost 30lbs so far. As for sleeping, I'm getting better with that too. I have to literally pry myself away from blogging or writing to get some sleep. I would say, "I hate to break my flow of creativity". But a person should write when their tired. It only puts out lackluster work….Well, that's my opinion.

  25. Karen Lange on October 26, 2010 at 1:33 PM

    >I agree, we need these things to function better. I need to work on getting a little more sleep and snacking less, but I do exercise regularly. I get restless if I haven't had regular exercise, so I'm glad I've built that habit.
    Karen 🙂

  26. angie mizzell on October 26, 2010 at 1:14 PM

    >It's definitely a balance… We have to do our part but there comes a point where we have to trust and let go. I think it's okay to stop moving and take time to fill the well. The really good things that have happened in my life have been a result of hard work and divine intervention. And yes, it's humbling. And amazing, too.

  27. Jillian Kent on October 26, 2010 at 1:04 PM

    >I'm a full-time counselor for nursing students and I constantly see them trying to cut corners on sleep and exercise. I think it's almost become a tradition in the college to tell them they can't take care of anyone else if they don't take care of themselves.

    I've been struggling with increasing weight for a few years now. I always try to get my sleep because I just can't do anything well without it. But it's easy then to let the need for exercise slip away.

    I'm 55 now and I know the best thing I could ever do for myself is to get in shape again and that means eating right. Another place where I try to cut corners.

    You're doing the right thing Rachelle. Brava!

  28. Nicole L Rivera on October 26, 2010 at 1:02 PM

    >I'm still working on the sleep thing, but right now the hubby and I are exercising five days a week. We picked an activity we both enjoy (swimming), a heated pool, and dedicated part of our morning to this. We even made it fun by conducting races right after we hit our lap goal for the day. We enjoy each others company and laugh every morning. I think that's what keeps us sticking to it. It is not only exercise it is a sort of date-time.

  29. Jana Dean on October 26, 2010 at 12:27 PM

    >Amen. Yes. Brings up favorite quote: "Our minds and bodies are so closely related they catch each others' diseases."

    Lowering high cholesterol sans medication: daily oatmeal, low to no dairy,sugar and red meat. Yes to fruit, veggies and activity. Feel great. Sleeping better!

    Thank God and Dr. Jim Anderson (look him up)a world-renowned nutritionist who teaches my Sunday School class.

  30. Caroline Starr Rose on October 26, 2010 at 12:18 PM

    >This is why I stopped teaching before signing with an agent or getting a book deal. Super risky, but I was at the point that I wasn't giving my best to my students, my family, and my writing.

    Stepping back has allowed me to re-claim my life. And the agent and book deal weren't bad, either. 😉

  31. Ron and Jennie Dugan on October 26, 2010 at 12:07 PM

    >Great post, Rachelle. Thanks so much. On that note, I think I'll go for a walk.

  32. Rosslyn Elliott on October 26, 2010 at 10:54 AM

    >Rachelle, I'm really glad you're taking care of yourself right now.

    I have always had to be humble about my physical stamina–except in college, when I drank so much coffee I'm amazed I'm still alive. 🙂 And even then, I was unable to function well without 8-9hours sleep. I have never in my life been able to pull an all-nighter. Never. I crash at 3 or 4am no matter what.

    When I deprived myself of proper sleep or exercise in college, I had problems with mood stability. This is very common, and many of us don't realize that we feel down and discouraged because we're sleep deprived and sedentary. We're not made for the lifestyles our culture now encourages–eight or more hours a day sitting at a desk.

  33. Kathleen T. Jaeger on October 26, 2010 at 10:52 AM

    >How about me? Yes, I am recognizing the need for me to take better care of myself these days, implementing it consistently is still coming. The idea that this is a humble attitude toward our human limitations is a new twist but fits completely with what I am learning through experience and in a devotional that I'm reading.

    Also I, too, wonder, "And why does our culture seem to put so much pressure on us to accomplish so much in our days, our weeks, our years?" Yes, why does it?

    Thanks for the thought-provoking post.

  34. Tim of Angle on October 26, 2010 at 10:37 AM

    >The next time I see a gorilla on a treadmill, or a chimp doing Pilates, I'll get serious about exercise.

    The ancient tradition of Fasting is now called 'calorie restriction' and has been proved to extend your lifespan, if that's what you're into.

    Don't believe everything you read.

  35. Mystery Robin on October 26, 2010 at 10:30 AM

    >Wow, I never thought of that as having to do with humility, but I think you're right. I never get enough sleep – I have three children spaced just far enough to keep me tired for 10 years. 😉 And if I want to write, it's at night after they're asleep. Plus, I hate going to bed, so it seemed like an easy thing to give up. But I'm so, so tired this morning that your post is very convicting. If I could just figure out how to get to the gym with my crew…

  36. Mohamed Mughal on October 26, 2010 at 9:52 AM

    >I can certainly relate. And I've found that when you take care of your body, it sharpens your mind and creativity as well.

  37. Beth on October 26, 2010 at 9:36 AM

    >Hurray! You're so right. Our bodies need to be healthy to function at top efficiency. Therefore we need a regular normal amount of rest and exercise. I use YouTube's Sparkpeople exercise workouts during bad weather, and have been making sure I get sleep.

  38. Dorci on October 26, 2010 at 9:21 AM

    >I have truly never thought about the correlation between being humble and keeping myself healthy, but you're absolutely right. I have struggled with major health issues for a number of years and while most of it is out of my hands, I could certainly do better with the aspects I can control–my diet, some exercise and taking vitamins. I can only do my best with sleep, the sleep center part of my brain usually has other ideas.

    But I have thought about the correlation between between my health and being able to serve my God. I don't think it's good that some, as you say, deprive themselves of health for the purpose of their religion. We cannot be effective in people's lives if we are too weak or tired. But now I'll take that thought a step further and remember that it is in being humble that I am most useful in the hands of the Lord.

  39. Anonymous on October 26, 2010 at 9:12 AM

    >For writers and most first-world denizens, life is an intellectual struggle, and in the pursuit of intellectual endeavors, quality is so much more important than quantity.

    Which is more productive: 2 hours in the zone (flow) or 8 hours of uninspired toil?

    Sleep and exercise do consume some hours, but they make the remaining hours so much better.

    This is a lesson I have to continually relearn, in part because the business world does not recognize this.

  40. Jan Cline on October 26, 2010 at 9:08 AM

    >Im with you on the sleep issue. I have Rheumatoid Arthritis and when I go through a phase of not much sleep, the gravity of the universe seems to be aimed right at me. I do think about the humility aspect because I can no long do so many of the things I once took for granted. I have to constantly explain to people that Im limited – that's humbling. But I can still type and sing and speak, so Im off and running with a grateful heart. I love this business and am blessed to be able to press on. No more hang gliding though – darn.

  41. Sarah Wells on October 26, 2010 at 8:55 AM

    >When I was in med school, I worked in a lab doing sleep deprivation research. We paid volunteers to be subjected to monitored sleep deprivation (nurses poked them all night to keep them awake), then tested their performance on flight simulators. (We were working on "thinking caps" involving magnets for the defense department. Long story.)

    Anyway, one consistant finding was that subjects overestimated how well they performed. They were doing terribly, but thought they were doing fine. Perhaps a little humility was needed?

    You'd think after all this, I'd sleep when I got to residency. I wish. A couple of us wore pedometers as interns just for bragging rights. (I logged 16 miles in one 30-hour call night, thankyouverymuch). But don't worry, ya'll, they're changing the work hour rules to let residents rest more.

    Aside from the cognitive problems associated with sleep deprivation, there is a growing body of evidence showing the widespread effects of lost sleep. Metabolic changes leading to weight retention/gain. Immune system weakened leading to higher risk of infections. And more.

    I think I need to go take a nap now. But how to convince my toddler to do the same…

  42. Sue Harrison on October 26, 2010 at 8:41 AM

    >I had never considered the connection, and yet I can see it is an important life truth. Thank you, Rachelle. I think I needed permission to take care of myself.

  43. Pia Newman on October 26, 2010 at 8:41 AM

    >This post struck a cord with me because I changed just that aspect of my life about a year ago.

    I believe that we are souls first, and human beings second. To me, the body is the vessel for the soul to experience life. Ergo, if the body and its energies are restricted, so are our experiences. Why then should I limit my body wantonly and willingly with too little sleep, a modicum of exercise and an unhealthy diet? I’ve found that the healthier and fitter I am, the more I can enjoy the things I do, no matter what that might be.

    I even enjoy chocolate more (never thought that was possible :-)), or vegging out on the couch, mainly because I don't have a guilty conscience or worry about it anymore.

  44. Anthony Harden on October 26, 2010 at 8:34 AM

    >Rachelle … very good. A message that must be heard.

  45. Susan Bourgeois on October 26, 2010 at 8:31 AM

    >Rachelle, this is exactly what my book is all about, the importance of learning how to take care of yourself at any age in order to be at your best.

    I had to learn the hard way. When I was at your stage of life I told myself that I had to be self-sacrificing and put the needs of my husband, two teenage daughters and my son before any of my own needs. I told myself that I wanted to be the best wife and mother possible. I fooled myself into thinking that I didn't have the time to make myself a priority in life. I was way off base on that one.

    During that time, I did not exercise and I ate based on my emotions. This led to feelings of self-sacrifice and resentment at times.

    Over the course of 18 years, I, like millions of people, slowly accumulated 40 extra pounds. I was an athletic person and my proper weight was 120.

    Three years ago, at 52, I made the decision to stop working against the grain. I studied and I began to journal this transformation and I set up a healthy eating plan based on our government's food pyramid information. I reached my goal in a healthy manner in less than five month's time. I have maintained this weight loss for three years. I am now at the weight I was in my 20's and I am in the best shape possible at 55. I never in my life thought this would be possible.

    It has been awesome. I exercise most every single day and I did all of this without having to spend a dime. I did not joing a gym. I purchased Pilate, Yoga and conditioning DVD's that I could do on a daily basis from my home and at my convenience. I also select routines from Exercise TV. I get my cardio from daily walk/runs and for the most part I stick to my healthy eating pattern 95% of the time. It works!

    Along with a co-author, I wrote an entire book on the subject. It is based off of factual, expert advice from heavy research and we have short examples of where we began to go off track and how we turned it around in each chapter.

    It is a great book in which the everyday person can easily relate and learn how to incorporate a healthy eating and exercise pattern into their lives.

    I wrote the book mainly for women who put themselves on the back burner while they are raising their children and working in their careers. I wrote it for women like me who never thought it possible to recapture their ideal weight and get fit again in their lifetime.

    I stress that it is never too late to take care of yourself. I drill the importance of making yourself a priority while you are taking care of everyone else.

    It is important to realize that you are setting an example for all of your loved ones and that alone is paramount.

    My adult children have seen me turn back time in this manner but more then that, they know that they too have the power to make incredible changes in their lives at any stage of their lives.

    My answer is yes, I realized the great need to take care of myself and I wrote a book about it in order to help others.

  46. Katy McKenna on October 26, 2010 at 8:28 AM

    >To answer your question about how I'm taking care of myself these days: I'm exercising more, but gently, because my adrenal glands need to recover from years of running on empty. I'm eating healthily but not worrying for the moment about attempting to lose weight, because my thyroid is trashed and severely cutting food intake doesn't help me. I'm considering how King David said, "I will not involve myself in matters too great for me," and backing away from situations and people (at least, temporarily) when I know my limited strength is being stealthily sapped. I'm rediscovering activities and people that I find FUN and refreshing and not abandoning those things for the "important." And I'm trying to embrace all the many kindnesses that God, friends, and strangers offer every single day.

  47. Janet Oberholtzer on October 26, 2010 at 7:50 AM

    >Excellent Rachelle … totally agree with you.

    I cringe at the pride I hear when some people talk about how little sleep they live on. If only they realized that the risk of all kinds of health problems is increased from lack of sleep.

    And exercise … there are endless benefits from it and endless risks from not doing it.

    Along with a reasonable amount of sleep and exercise, our bodies need proper nutrition.

    A few years ago, when I was in the hospital recovering from severe injuries, the hospital's dietitian kept stressing to me the importance of a healthy diet, so that I recover well. I'd always heard "we are what we eat" but didn't really believe or live it until her repeated instructions.

  48. Michelle DeRusha on October 26, 2010 at 7:49 AM

    >I had a similar realization recently. Once an advid runner, in the last few months I'd stopped running all together. I had too much to do, limited time, I figured something had to go. So exercise went out the window. By the end of the summer my shorts didn't fit — I could burst open the velcro tab simply by exhaling. That was a turning point.

    My husband and I talk about "finding balance" with our kids a lot — usually it pertains to their plates…as to why they can't just eat the meat… or the fruit. We tell them diversity is best — a balance, a mix.

    I finally realized I need to follow my own advice: I need a balance, a mix, too; it can't be all writing, working and parenting. Two weeks ago I hit the running trail again. It's painful to start from ground zero. But my mental health? Ahhhhhhh. And, as an added benfit, I find I conjure up some pretty good blog topics while I'm huffing.

    Wise words here, Rachelle — thanks for the extra motivation.

  49. Marla Taviano on October 26, 2010 at 7:44 AM

    >This is good stuff. I've been getting up early to jog and pray. But the sleep and diet? Still need lots of work. Thanks for the encouragement this morning!!

  50. Hollie Sessoms on October 26, 2010 at 7:37 AM

    >This goes against the world view, but humility is something that we should strive for. I've never thought of getting enough rest and exercise as a way of keeping us humble, but what an inspiring outlook! We are mere mortals and can only achieve our optimal performance through our own exertions.

  51. Em-Musing on October 26, 2010 at 7:29 AM

    >I find multi-tasking works. I do butt squeezes while I sit and write (don't visualize); arm and leg exercises while I watch TV; eat lots of fast food while driving e.g. fresh fruit and veggies, and pray before closing my peepers. And always, I wake-up refreshed after 7 – 8 hours of sleep.

  52. Julie Anne Lindsey on October 26, 2010 at 7:28 AM

    >You have no idea how much I needed this today. I think the post could have been a letter addressed to me. Thank you.

  53. Katy McKenna on October 26, 2010 at 7:13 AM

    >Excellent post, Rachelle. You've got me thinking about that Scripture that says, "Pride goes before a fall." Now, I'm sure there are other factors besides pride that precede a "fall," but there's nothing like an active dose of humility to prevent a human being from attempting to exceed her physical limitations.

    I say this as someone who started physically crashing last November, and who isn't well yet. I might add that I now know so much about this subject that I could write a book about it, but you know what? I think I'll let your thoughts on the humility connection have their way with me a while longer.

    Thank you.

  54. Sharon A. Lavy on October 26, 2010 at 7:04 AM

    >The thing is . . . I always feel like I'm behind and can never catch up.

    I wonder if Fibromyalgia is my body's way of making me slow down. But then I feel even more behind. . .

  55. Heather Sunseri on October 26, 2010 at 6:46 AM

    >I'm definitely guilty of sacrificing sleep and exercise to write before and after long days of working and parenting. But I can only do that for so many days in a row. Our bodies have a way of telling us when it's time to consider our health – hit the gym and get to bed earlier.

  56. Terri Tiffany on October 26, 2010 at 6:17 AM

    >I really try to be disciplined in this area as no one wants to be around me when I don't get sleep! I workout at least five times a week, and actually cut out sugar. It all helps!I'm not superwoman anymore.

  57. Sarah on October 26, 2010 at 6:16 AM

    >This is so timely for me.

    While this isn't my first year of teaching, it is my first year of teaching high school math. I'm in the middle of crazy revisions on my novel.

    And I started having chest pain last week.

    My doctor ok'd me, but I need to get more exercise and sleep. I've really had to rethink my lifestyle. It is humbling, but I needed to hear it.

  58. Katie Ganshert on October 26, 2010 at 5:50 AM

    >Oh boy. I used to get an intense workout 5 x a week and average 8-9 hours of sleep. Then I had a kid.

    Now I just go on walks in the evening and get about 6-7 hours of sleep.

    Plus, I eat waaay too much sugar. I mean way.

    Thanks for the much needed reminder to focus on healthy living. Especially since we writers tend sit on our butts for a big part of the day (at least the serious ones do).

  59. Jon VanZile on October 26, 2010 at 5:48 AM

    >The interesting thing to me over the years has been the fact that when I am sleeping enough and carving time out of my days to exercise, I'm actually much MORE productive (as well as much happier). Weird how that works.

  60. Nerine Dorman on October 26, 2010 at 5:36 AM

    >As much as I wish I could do without sleep… And I could do so much more with my time if I didn't… If it's not lights out after 11pm to rise and shine again at 6pm, I'm in a whole lot of trouble after three or four nights in a row cruising on too much coffee and four or five hours a night.

  61. Suzannah on October 26, 2010 at 4:23 AM

    >I have a 10-month-old who rarely sleeps, so the last year has been rough for me in terms of keeping up my writing productivity. I do try to take care of myself by going to bed as soon as he's asleep and resting during the day when I can, but it can be tempting to think I have more important stuff to do!

  62. B.R. Paulson on October 26, 2010 at 4:21 AM

    >I think the humility is one way to look at it. I also think that in this day and age, the Adversary is trying his best to take us away from the most important priorities in our lives – family, self, peace – by making us think we just don't have "enough". A hundred years ago they didn't have the internet, cable TV, or lots of money. Most women stayed home with the children and discussing things at the dinner table was the entertainment.
    I wasn't alive back in that time (obviously), but sometimes I like to think the simplicity is just a prayer away.
    I maintain 6 hours a day because I work from home and want to be able to do all the work I need to before the kids get up for the day. That way I am there for them and have hte time for things I think of as priority. I've done this for four years. I wish I didn't have to, but that's the way it goes.
    I like the idea of humility, though. We need more of that.

  63. Claudia on October 26, 2010 at 2:18 AM

    >I think the link between self care and humility is spot on. It's so nice to say 'oh, I'm WAY too busy to do that' because it makes us feel important. Lots to think about – thanks for the thought-provoking post!

  64. nightwriter on October 26, 2010 at 1:32 AM

    >So true! I tried to adhere to the "Butt in chair" work ethic and it resulted in back pain and eye strain. In college, I could cram and study and write papers all night long, but that's no longer the case.

    I learned the hard way that it's much more healthy to take breaks as needed, not to force yourself to sit and stare at the computer all day and night, especially if you're not in the mood. Thanks for the "wake-up call"!