Sleep like you give a fuck

Sleep like you give a fuck

Society practically shames people who value their sleep and sees them as lazy, unproductive, and a budren on the economy… well that was a bit of an exaggeration… maybe.

Anyways, the push for less sleep, more “awesomeness” has resulted in a society that is horrible when it comes to sleep. And if you go to your doctor for any physical or mental ailment, I’m guessing that a prescription of sleep, or rest, is probably given (in addition to other things). It’s like the panacea of all panaceas. Yet we still scoff at people who sleep a “normal” amount. 8 hours?! pft, I only need 5…

For the record I’m going to state, that I like sleeping. In fact, it is one of my TOP priorities in my day to day life. Judge me. Go ahead. I don’t care anymore. Very rarely do I say “fuck it” to sleep. (and don’t call me old!)

Anyways I’m going to give you some of my favorite tips to better sleep! I talk about this all the time with clients, so I figured I should probably write a blog about it. Save me some time ;)

First, I ask my clients this question:

“What is your bed-time routine?”

Sometimes my clients probably think that I think they are 5 years old. But the truth of the matter is, bedtime routines are just as important as adults as they are for kids. I joke around with anyone who is a parent and say something like, yes, you know how important it is for your kid to have a good routine, why not give yourself the same awesome treatment?

What should my bedtime routine look like?

Well, only YOU can answer this question but I’ll give you some hints.

It should not involve screens. (yep, that’s right, I’m shoulding on you).

It should be relaxing (NOT NUMBING – RELAXING – THERE IS A DIFFERENCE).

Actually, that’s it really. It isn’t rocket science. And I’m not gonna give you 10, 20, 50, things to do at night to sleep better because often times (for me anyways) I’m like wtf, really? who does that? Or, I thought this was suppose to be relaxing, not anxiety provoking. Is bedtime suppose to make me feel like a failure at life? NO, it’s suppose to be RELAXING (and not numbing).

What are numbing activities?

Well those usually involve a screen… Are you tell me I can’t watch my shows?!?! No go ahead and watch your shows, but leave like 20-30 minutes or so of no screen time after to tell your brain it’s time for sleep.

The other point I want to make is Alcohol…. So yea, wanted to point out that whole alcohol thing. If you have some alcohol, keep it to a minimum.

WHY?

Well first ask yourself WHY you are having the alcohol, if you’re numbing, then well I don’t have time for that in this blog post, but I suggest exploring that. If you’re having it with dinner or whatever, then that’s cool. So one drink should be plenty.

BUT if you have lots of drinks, not only are you numbing your emotions BUT you are also setting yourself up for some HOIRRIBLE sleep. When intoxicated you actually SKIP REM sleep and we need that good REM in order to wake up and feel rested, not feeling like you were hit by a truck. Don’t ask the scientific details, go look them up on some medical site. I’m a therapist.

What TIME should I go to bed?

I don’t care what time you go to bed. Go to bed when you’re tired. You’re never tired? I don’t believe you.

How the FUCK do I get my mind to stop racing at night?!

Oh man, this might need it’s own blog post. But this is why having a RELAXING nighttime routine is SO important! This is when you get to work on training your brain to be mindful and shit and ignore the stupid thoughts rushing through your head. This takes time, so don’t expect to be an expert at once. Even experts get distracted. So play around with whatever it is that relaxes your body and your mind at night so that it’s warmed up for sleep. If that doesn’t work, you likely need to practice relaxation starting from the moment you wake up, to when you go to sleep. It’s OK, a lot of people need to do that. It gets better.

Is reading OK?

I’m not one to say not to read. But if you’re struggling with sleep and you read at night, I’d look at things like 1. WHY are you reading? Are you using it to emotionally shut down? Then stop reading and work on those emotions. 2. Are you reading thrillers in bed then having weird ass dreams? Well, you might want to stop that. Also bring up another point.

DON’T DO STRESSFUL STUFF IN YOUR BED.

Memory and location are best friends. Thoughts and emotional states had in the bed, will be remembered in the bed. So keep work out of bed, keep arguments out of bed, keep weird ass stories out of bed. Just be mindful of what “energy” you’re bringing into your bed with you. Yup, I’m getting all weird on you. No I’m not. It’s science.

I think I hit on the important stuff. I could probably write a book on this, so I’ll end here for now. If you have questions, post below or e-mail me. If I get enough I’ll write another post on the matter!

The secret to finding out what you want

The secret to finding out what you want

Instead of asking my clients what they want (because they don’t really know) I instead ask, “what do you enjoy?”

“Want” is a loaded question and oftentimes isn’t rooted in reality. I want my debt to go away. I want all the crap in my house to disappear and it be designed professionally. I want to be able to run and workout when I want to. I want my business to run itself without putting work into it. I want to make enough money so my husband can stay home and make me dinner every night :-p I want a lot of things. And like I said, they’re not really rooted in reality. And if I keep focusing on what I want and not getting it, I get frustrated, upset and sad pretty quickly.

Asking yourself what you want is too overwhelming because when your brain hears the word “want” it goes to certain pathways in the brain that have developed a close relationship with the word “want.” Your brain might go to these ridiculous things I just mentioned above or maybe your amazon wish list, because that memory is closely related to you list for Santa when you were a kid and thumbing through the JC penney catalog and circling all the things you want. Its rooted in the memory of seeing an ad on TV and saying, “mom I WANT that.” Which is now just seeing it on TV or the internet and buying it with your credit card. Those are the pathways that are lit up when you hear WANT. Not really constructive toward building a happy, purposeful, fulfilling life, now is it?

Now think about the word ENJOY.

Notice what happens to your body when you hear or say that work in your head. Where does it go?

My body relaxes a little when I hear that word. It also immediately goes to the outdoors. A sunrise, the woods, sky, clouds, trees, green…. It goes to people and laughing and fun social situations…. I notice a half smile (for all your DBT nerds out there) on my face. I feel a sense of calm energy in my body with slight anticipation and delight.

Wow, what a different experience than the word want. Weird.

Like I said, it’s because those two words have different associations in our brain going all the way back to childhood.

So I want to share this “secret” with you.

Instead of asking yourself what you want, ask yourself what you enjoy.

Not, “What do I want out of life?”

But, “What do I enjoy?”

What puts a half smile on my face?

What makes my body feel good?

What makes my mind feel relaxed and at ease?

These are the questions that will help you work on building your life toward one of happiness and fulfillment. Not what you want but what you ENJOY!

If you enjoy flowers spend less than $10 for a bouquet and they last two weeks. That’s less than $5 a week on something you enjoy. You might find you like flowers so much you start to make your own flower arrangements, or you might pick up a hobby of planting flowers in the spring and learning more about plants, arrangements, gardens, landscaping etc.

This is how something you enjoy can turn into a hobby…. And even eventually a job if that’s what you desire.

Hobbies are important, in my opinion. They’re not just something to pick up in your spare time, they are an essential part of our being, our day to day, our passion and what makes life more enjoyable.

If you’re finding yourself at a loss for what you would even like to do for a hobby use this advice. Like I said, first substitue want with enjoy…

What do I enjoy?

Answer the question and do that thing (even if it’s small and silly). Just a small step will do. Don’t go to step 10. You likely won’t get anywhere. Stay small.

Cultivate what you enjoy and watch it grow.

You may become more involved in it, or you might be satisfied at the small step.

Doing something for yourself, something you enjoy, is a great step you can take toward taking care of yourself. Your body and your mind will thank you for listening.

If you try this out, I’d love to hear about your experience in the comments.

Thanks for reading.

clock-daylight savings morning routine

Start your Morning Routine when Daylight Saving Time Ends

People complain about daylight saving time and every spring and autumn they ask, “WHY, WHY are we doing this?!” Despite all the asking why and complaining, the hour time change is still here – well, for most of us.

I’ve always LOVED “Fall Back” because who doesn’t love gaining an extra hour of sleep?! Despite love for the extra hour, it takes many people (me included!) a good week or two to fully adjust to that little hour difference. How do international travelers do it all the time???!

Many of my clients say things like, “I would love to exercise in the morning but I can’t bring myself to get up earlier.” Others might say, “I’d really love to start my day with meditation and yoga.” While others talk about the breakfast they would like to prepare or the newspaper they want to read… and many other “wishes” and “dreams” that they have about their morning routine. Having an hour or so to yourself in the morning is great (if you can figure out the logistics of it).

Capitalize on that extra hour when daylight saving time ends and we “fall back” to standard time! Your body will likely take a week or two to adjust so instead of adjusting, just get up an hour earlier. If you usually get up at 6, get up at 5. You might still be groggy, but if you want a time of year when your body is going to revolt less to getting up earlier, now is a great time! Take advantage of the changing of the clocks!!

Now you have an extra hour to engage in your self care morning routine!! It can be whatever you want – exercise, relaxation, cleaning, e-mails. Whatever floats your boat!

What have you always been wanting to do in the morning? Can you do it in an hour? Modify it to be an hour? Use this “Extra time” to your advantage!

Conversely, a lot of people say “I need to get to bed earlier” in order to wake up to do those things. Again. NOW is the time! If you keep waking up early you will be tired an hour earlier. So be it if you go to bed “early.” No one has to know. You don’t HAVE to tell people the “weird” hour in which you go to bed or arise in the morning. That’s personal information! All that matters is that you are using your time how YOU want to.

I hear so many people say they want to go to bed earlier in order to get up earlier to engage in whatever activity they desire….. Take advantage and starting owning you morning routine rather than your morning routine own you!

I love to accomplish something in the morning. By doing so, if I have a “bad” day, then I can always say I did “this” in the morning and that helps me to feel good!

You don’t have a desire to do anything in the morning?? Rather have more time in the evening? Well then forget everything I said and look forward to spring :)

Try out a new morning routine. What is your ideal routine? Test it out. How did it go?