lifestyle

My Morning Routine

I am not a morning person. At all. Never have been. Even though I have been sleeping better lately I still do not always look forward to getting up in the morning. I have, however, found a few things that I now do when I first wake up that help me to get going and start my day off on the right track!

IMG_20150207_154605

Ditch the obnoxious, annoying, irritating alarm clock!!! Seriously if you’re waking up every morning with a jolt you need to figure out something different. I wake up each morning to the alarm on my phone playing soft music (I believe the title of it is “Serene Morning”. Now doesn’t that sound more pleasant than “Buzzing Foghorn”?).

Stretch. Spend five to ten minutes in the morning stretching to improve circulation (which will help you feel more awake!).

Drink water. You haven’t had any liquids for hours! Your body is dehydrated. Do it a favor and drink a glass of water upon waking. Even better, drink a mug of hot water with lemon and cinnamon. This is beneficial for a lot of things,detoxing as well as stimulating your digestive system are a couple.

Exercise! This doesn’t have to be major, but even a short, gentle walk with your dog will improve your mood and health.

IMG_20150131_083158

Breakfast. Give your body some good quality fuel for the day. Some of my favorites are smoothies, greek yogurt with nuts and fruit, eggs, and turkey bacon.

And there you go! You may now proceed to shower, get dressed, do your makeup, or whatever it is you need to do to before school, work, or blogging from home!

What do you do every morning that motivates you? Is it sitting by your window sipping tea? Or fitting in a quick workout before heading to work? I’m also curious as to what time all of you wake up at (I get up at 8).  Thanks for reading!

All personal photos.

Advertisements

My Nightly Routine

IMG_20150207_121815My last post was on how to establish a routine to help insomnia. I talked about how it is important to spend time before bed relaxing and without electronics. To give you some ideas of things you might want to incorporate into your evenings I thought I’d share what I do!

So, I go to bed every night at 11. Pick a time that works for you, ideally you will probably want to be sleeping for about 8 hours though so factor this in. I have also read (though have not seen much research to back this up) that your body releases certain “restorative” hormones only between the hours of 12 and 2 at night and that you have to be asleep by 10 for this to happen. Not sure how much truth there is to that but it’s something to consider.

Here is an example of a typical night for me

Bye bye technology. Around 9:30-10:00 I turn off my laptop and stop using my phone (well, mostly. I turn on my app that blocks out the blue light from it and only use it to text my boyfriend off and on. Don’t judge!

Start by taking sometime to get ready for the next day… I make my lunch sometimes, check to see if have clothes that are clean, and make a to do list. Whatever it is you need to do, do it, and then stop worrying about it. It’s taken care of for now, it will all be there tomorrow to deal with and hey! You’ve got a head start on it!

Drink something warm and relaxing. I love filling my favorite mug up with warm almond milk and adding honey and cinnamon. Holding the warm mug, seeing the steam rise off the top, and smelling the calming scent, is such a great way to unwind. Try a relaxing tea blend or just warm water with lemon, a lot of people find that cherry juice helps them to sleep. Just find something that you can look forward to immersing yourself in and will signal the end of a long day for you.

Do something calming. This could include…

  • reading a book
  • journalling
  • listening to soft music
  • taking time to do some visualizing or deep breathing exercises
  • spending quality time with your spouse or kids
  • taking a bath (with low lights, bubbles, candles, and music)
  • having someone give you a massage
  • giving yourself a manicure, pedicure, or facial
  • working on a hobby or craft
  • whatever it is that you enjoy and find relaxing

Do all of the above if you want! This is free time you get to spend doing things for you. Sometimes this is hard for us to do, to focus on ourselves and not feel guilty about it (or is this just me?), but this is a form of self care and is important to your mental well-being. So it’s okay! Enjoy it and know that it’s benefiting your health at the same time!

Consider taking something to help you sleep. Common natural supplements people use are melatonin and valerian. I found that GABA is helpful for me occasionally.

Finally, get ready for bed. Showers make me sleepy so I take one every night right before bed. I go into the bathroom, brush my teeth, take a hot shower with my lavender scented body wash, get out, dry off, use a moisturizing lotion (again, one with lavender in it), and put on pajamas!

At exactly 11 o’clock, after adding a drop of lavender oil to my pillow and turning on music, I crawl into bed and and after following this routine, am now able to fall asleep within 15 minutes compared to the hours and days I would be awake for before.

What do you do to help you unwind at night? What are your tips and tricks? Thanks for reading (:

All personal photos.

How to Beat Insomnia

6359992745_568b4ce090_o

“Our bodies need rest, but our brains need sleep.”

This is something my chiropractor told me a long time ago. When talking about mental disorders, this seems like a pretty important thing to focus on (brain, mental… you see where I’m going with this?).

Getting a good amount of sleep every night can be extremely helpful in dealing with and getting through depression, anxiety, and well, really anything. It is essential for your overall mental, physical, and emotional health! It is the foundation for all things health related. If you are not sleeping, or not sleeping at the right times, or for the right amount of time, you are going to suffer.

I have been working hard over the last few weeks to establish a good sleeping routine. Doing this has proven to be challenging as I have had insomnia my whole life, but it’s made a big difference in how I feel overall.

This is not an easy schedule. It requires commitment, but if you have tried everything and are still struggling to get enough sleep, this is what you need. Commit to this schedule for two weeks and see how you feel. Then continue. Make it a part of your life and enjoy the benefits of feeling refreshed physically and mentally.

The Rules

  • You must go to bed at the same time every night. Pick a time and stick to it. Even if this means ditching parties with your friends, not getting the dishes done, or not finishing “just one more episode”.
  • You must also get up at the same time everyday, whether or not (this is the hard part) you have slept. I repeat, whether or not you have slept. This is important. Even if you have just fallen asleep an hour before, you have to make yourself get up and you are not allowed to sleep until your bedtime that night. This is the only way you are going to be able to reset your body’s internal clock. Unless you have tried, really tired this, you are not allowed to say that “I’ve tried everything to sleep and I just can’t”. (Especially if you are posting this on Facebook at three in the morning…sorry.)
  • Your room needs to be dark, quiet, and cool. We’re talking pitch black dark. No light shining under your door from the hallway, no digital alarm clocks, block out the street light coming in through the window. Use white noise or calming music without words to drown out any distracting thoughts or sounds. Keep your room temperature between 65 and 72 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Stay in bed for eight to nine hours. Do not get up, turn on lights, etc. (The exception to this is if you have to use the bathroom. However, if you are finding yourself waking up for this reason, stop drinking fluids before bed.) We want you eventually sleeping solidly through the night without interruption.
  • Turn off ALL electronics 30-45 minutes before bed. TV, computer, smart phone, all of it. Electronics keep your brain from being able to shut down and transition into sleep. The blue light emitted from them prevents your body from producing melatonin. Melatonin is a hormone produced by your body that helps regulate your sleep and wake patterns.
  • Spend the last hour before going to bed relaxing. Create a routine (check out an example of my nightly routine) that you can follow every night that will signal your body that it’s time to sleep. Take a bath, read a book, drink tea, wash or face, brush your teeth, whatever it is you need and want to to at the end of your day.
  • Consider using a sleeping pill for the first week or so to help you jumpstart this routine. Don’t become dependant on it though, we want you to be able to keep to this schedule without it needing a pill that will cause you to feel groggy in the morning.

Now picture yourself crawling into clean sheets at the same time every night, in a room thats dark and quiet, that maybe smells of calming lavender, and listening to soft music as you drift off to sleep. Then discover yourself waking up each morning feeling more relaxed, refreshed, better about life, and ready to start your day! (We will discuss a helpful morning routine in the future). This is the goal we are striving for.

This is hard. It’s strict. The first few weeks might feel like torture and be sleepless. Eventually, though, your body will adjust itself and you will realize just how important sleep is after experiencing it in the way we need it.

Please let me know if you try this and how it works for you, tell me what helps you to sleep better, and feel free to ask if you have any questions!

photo credit: Insomnia or login to sleep illustration via photopin (license)

Showing Your Self Harm Scars

  1. Tell a close friend or family member and ask them to go with you.
  2. Realize that you’re in control. Bring along a sweater that you can put on if you start to feel anxious, or wear long sleeves pushed up that you can roll down when you feel uncomfortable.
  3. Try showing them around strangers first. You don’t know these people, you don’t have to talk to them, they’re not going to notice your scars, and if for some reason they do? They have no reason to comment on it. And, besides, you’ll probably never see them again.
  4. Visualize showing your scars and having it go well… if you tell your brain that it is going to be ok? Chances are it will start to believe that. And believing that you’re going to be okay is going to increase your chances of actually being okay when you’re in that situation (:
  5. Think of a few replys you can use in response to any possible questions you might get. If you are worried about someone asking about  your scars (which again, chances are most people won’t) it helps to feel prepared by keep in mind a simple answer or two. And remember that you DON’T HAVE TO ANSWER. This is your body, you’re in change, and you don’t have to share anything that you don’t want to. A simple, “I’d rather not talk about it” and then changing the subject is fine. Something I plan to use if anyone ever asks me what happened is, “I got in a fight with myself” and leave it at that. To me that feels comfortable. So find something that will work for you, it can be witty, serious, sarcastic, or maybe your answer is to NOT answer. It’s whatever works for you!
  6. Before hanging out with groups of your friends it might be helpful to (in a calm, one on one, neutral setting where you are comfortable) explain about your self harm to a few close friends first, so that they’re not surprised when they see them and can be there to help support you when showing them around others.
  7. Consider hiding or drawing attention away from them. Bracelets, bandages, makeup, jewelry, creative clothing choices, haha whatever it is, might not completely hide your scars but they can make them less noticeable. Do you plan on swimming but have scars you can’t cover up? Draw a stick figure on a different body part. Sure the scars are still there but theres something else for others to look at. Paint your nails! Get a tattoo! Wear an outfit that you feel good in! I don’t know! Just do whatever you feel will make it easier for you (:
  8. Accept your scars. Yes they’re there. No they’re probably not the most attractive things ever (although I know some people like them). But they show that you have gone through something difficult and made it. You haven’t given up and you’re still trying. You should be proud of that.
  9. Think of something you enjoy doing, that requires showing your scars, and start looking forward to it! Make plans and think about how much fun it will be and all of the things you’re going to do. Look at the big picture. Your scars are just a small part of that day and don’t need to interfere with the rest.
  10. Go try it! Take a chance and go somewhere, for a few minutes or a full day and then tell me how it went! (Here’s how my first day of showing scars went) You can feel good about yourself for overcoming such a big hurdle (:

What has helped you to brave the public eye? Why do you want to be able to show them? Or why do you not?