If you've got your struggles getting to sleep and staying asleep throughout the night you're not alone. 1 in 3 Americans self-reported that a lack of sleep effects their daily functioning. Getting less than 7 hours per night of sleep has been found to be associated with developing diabetes, stroke, heart disease, depression, and anxiety. Here are five ways to help improve your sleeping habits.
2. Save your bed for sleep.
Our body's easily become conditioned to things. One thing that can help promote restful sleep and help you get to sleep more quickly is using your bed only for sleeping. This allows your brain to switch into "sleep mode" when you lay down in your bed. Seems easy, but it works.
3. Be consistent.
Like most things, consistency is key! Having a consistent time and place to start the winding down process and transitioning into "sleep mode" allows your body to predict what's coming next. You will find yourself becoming tired by engaging in the routine that you normally do. How do you use that consistency to create a relaxing routine? Keep reading!
4. Get a relaxing bedtime routine.
So you've got your consistent time and place for sleep, now what? Relax. Embed methods of relaxation within your routine in order to promote more melatonin release and a sense of calm. This looks different for each person. Some ways to relax might be to take a calming bath, use aromatherapy and essential oils such as lavender, or practicing some meditation or mindfulness exercises (check out our blog post on mindfulness tips and tricks!). Alternate until you find what works for you, then become consistent with it.
5. Exercise regularly.
Exercise has so many wonderful benefits. One benefit is the promotion of restful sleep. When you exercise it causes an increase in your body temperature, which naturally drops after the exercise has ended. This post-exercise drop in temperature could help promote falling asleep. Try exercising in the afternoon or later in order to see the most benefit to your sleeping patterns.
Our sleep habits effect our overall physical and mental health. Getting a better sleep every night is a great way to improve your health. Need support developing better sleeping habits and improving your mental wellness? We can help! Check out our services.
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Some days are harder than others. As a Mom to a 3 year old and 1 year old I absolutely get it. Between changing diapers, feeding children, and playing hide and seek the time can feel like a blur. It’s not uncommon for Moms to feel overworked and underpaid at times.
What if I told you that you didn’t have to wait until naptime to get a calm minute? What if I said that you could find some mental peace before your partner comes home? That’s right, you can. It only takes a few minutes out of your day. You ready to hear this big secret?
That’s right, just mindfulness.
Mindfulness is the practice of being present within the moment. It allows you to focus on the here and now in order to blow off some frustration or refocus yourself and your energy. The best part about mindfulness is that with a little practice it can be done at any time.
Mindfulness exercises can be with words or no speaking at all. It involves focusing on your breath and being aware of tension or conflict within your body and mind. Sounds easy enough, right?
One mindfulness exercise that works great for busy Moms (and busy people in general) is taking a SNAP break. Stop, Notice, Accept, and Pay attention to your breath. This is a great exercise for bringing awareness to your current state and calming down. Stop and take a mental (and physical if possible) pause from what you’re doing. Notice your body. Is there tension in your shoulders? Hands? Jaw? Do a quick body scan and identify where your body is tense. Accept this tension for now. Give yourself grace to experience the feelings you’re having. Pay attention to your breathing. If your mind travels off to the current stressors at hand, gently redirect your attention back to your breath. You can repeat this as many times as necessary.
Difficult times will come and go. Breathe, Mom, you’ve got this!
Christina Runnels is a mental health therapist and Mom of 2. She has a passion for working with Moms as they transition through pregnancy, childbirth, motherhood, and beyond. She also has experience working with birth trauma, infertility, and other maternal mental health issues. She enjoys watching her clients grow to reach their full potential.
ADHD traits are different for everyone. While distractibility, disorganization, poor concentration, hyperactivity, and impulsivity are traits that nearly every person with the ADHD diagnosis deals with in some form, how these traits affect an individual’s day-to-day life varies. Of course, we are all uniquely different which means how we deal with, combat, or navigate our struggles are uniquely different as well.
HOW DOES YOUR ADHD AFFECT YOU?
As in any endeavor of self-improvement, the first step is to take stock. “What difficulties am I facing today?” Not all ADHD traits need to be corrected, not all can. It’s important to know the difference and focus of what skills you need to acquire to better your quality of life.
Below are some common issues faced by teens with ADHD and example solutions. Pick and choose what works for you. Modify the solutions to fit your need. Tap into one of the better traits of ADHD and be creative. This can be a rewarding experience.
COMMON ADHD TEEN STRUGGLES
Poor time management skills: This may result in missing deadlines, opportunities and doling out never-ending apologies or fibs to cover for tardiness to professors, friends and family. This behavior can make a person seem unreliable, irresponsible and cause low self-esteem.
Solution: Planners are a good solution for anyone with this problem. However, for an ADHD mind a more visual representation is in order. Large calendars on the wall can be skimmed multiple times a day making the information easy to remember, and hard to ignore. Also, the next time you need to complete a timed task, put something on that you’re familiar with so as the story or song moves forward, you will be subconsciously aware of the passage of time.
Impulsivity: Impulsivity can impact a person in a variety of ways: conversation style, impulse shopping, risky behavior, thrill-seeking ect. It is important to take note of how your impulsivity affects you and learn to take control. When does your impulsivity get you in trouble? What kind of impulsive behaviors do you have?
Typically the risks taken by a person with ADHD are not taken because of a lack of reasoning ability, but the lack of impulse control in the moment. To circumnavigate this you need to ask yourself “What risks are likely to be present in this environment?” and “How am I going to chose to respond?” When an ADHD mind makes the habit of forming decisions before they’re in that impulsive moment, they are much less likely to make poor decisions that could result in harm. Learning this skill is something everyone does to a degree, it is an essential part of becoming a successful adult.
Concentration: Concentration management is one of the most difficult obstacles to take on because it is such an intangible issue. What it comes down to is training. At what point in your day are you suffering from this problem the most?
Manipulating the senses is a great way to draw in your attention span. Find a scent, taste or texture that you can use to trigger your mind into acknowledging-it’s time to focus. For example, a piece of hard candy, gum, candle or even a keychain. After some practice using these tools you’ll find your mind will begin responding to the stimulus quicker and more efficiently each time.
While navigating some of the less-than-stellar side effects of ADHD is important for anyone struggling in their day-to-day life. It is equally as important to understand and embrace what your brilliant ADHD mind can do. ADHD minds are typically playful, creative, energetic and original thinkers. Ensuring your mind has a healthy outlet to express itself is essential in controlling the negative aspects as well. Regular exercise, low stimulant diet (eg low sugar, caffeine), time in nature, creative outlets and designated leisure time are all vital in working with an ADHD mind. Once you learn to give your mind what it needs to feel energized, only then can you work to rein it in when your mind wants to wander during inappropriate times. Be patient in the give-and-take process of learning self-regulation and know that guidance is always there if you find yourself needing help.
Need help overcoming the symptoms of AD/HD? We're here!
A New Year is here, but before you bring out the hats and whistles it’s time to sit down and think about what you want the new year to bring with it. It’s common for people to create New Year’s resolutions, but the reality is that they rarely work.
Research shows that fitness facilities sell the most memberships in January, but if you go to one of those facilities in February it’s obvious that everyone has already thrown in the towel. So what can you do to make your resolutions actually work for you?
2. Write it down.
Writing down your resolutions formalizes them. Putting pen to paper makes them real and also helps you to feel accountable to yourself for their completion. Spend some time considering what your large goal is, some action steps or mini-goals, and then write them down.
3. Plan to fail.
Yes, you read that correctly. Identify that you will stumble along the way. This normalizes the minor set backs that are apart of the change process and makes you more likely to get up and give it another try. Ask yourself what you will down when you stumble. How will you pick yourself back up?
Use these three tips to create attainable resolutions that you won’t give up by February.