NEED MORE SLEEP?

Do you feel like you need more sleep? Does it often take you more than 30 minutes to fall asleep at night? Or do you wake up frequently during the night? Or too early in the morning Have a hard time going back to sleep? When you awaken, do you feel groggy and lethargic? Do you feel drowsy during the day particularly during monotonous situations?

If you answered “yes” to any one of these questions, you may have a “sleep debt”. And, you aren’t alone. A recent NSF poll found that a majority of American adults experience problems. However, few recognize the importance of adequate rest. Or are aware that effective methods of preventing and managing sleep problems.

Why Do You Need It?

Sleep is not merely a “time out” from our busy routines. It is essential for good health, mental and emotional functioning and safety. For instance, researchers have found that people with chronic insomnia are more likely than others to develop several kinds of psychiatric problems, and are likely to make greater use of healthcare services.

People suffering from a disorder called sleep apnea are at risk for high blood pressure, heart attacks, stroke and motor vehicle crashes if left untreated.

Even occasional sleeping problems can make daily life feel more stressful or cause you to be less productive. Those who said they had trouble getting enough sleep reported a greater difficulty concentrating, accomplishing required tasks and handling minor irritations. Sleep loss has been found to impair the ability to perform tasks involving memory, learning, and logical reasoning. This may contribute to mistakes or unfulfilled potential at school or on the job and strained relationships at home. In fact, sleeplessness has been found to be a significant predictor of absenteeism.

Insufficient sleep can also be extremely dangerous, leading to serious or even fatal accidents. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has estimated more than 100,000 auto crashes annually are fatigue related. These drowsy driving crashes cause more than 1,500 deaths and tens of thousands of injuries and lasting disabilities. This problem has been found to affect drivers aged 25 or under more than any other age group.

How Much Is Enough?

Needs vary. In general, most healthy adults need seven to nine hours a night. However, some individuals are able to function without sleepiness or drowsiness after as little as six hours . Others can’t perform at their peak unless they’ve slept ten hours. Contrary to common myth, the need for it doesn’t decline with age.

So, how do you measure how much you truly need? If you have trouble staying alert during boring or monotonous situations you probably aren’t getting enough good-quality sleep. Other signs are a tendency to be unreasonably irritable with co-workers, family or friends, and difficulty concentrating or remembering facts.

Is Is All The Same?

It may surprise you to learn that during the hours you seem to be “out cold,” a lot is actually happening. Normal sleepers have a relatively predictable “sleep architecture,” the term used to describe an alternating pattern of REM (rapid-eye-movement) and non-REM sleep. REM sleep is when you dream, and is characterized by a high level of mental and physical activity. In fact, your heart rate, blood pressure and breathing are similar to what you experience when you are awake.

Scientists define the best sleep as having the right mix of REM and non-REM. Getting enough without interruptions from your environment or from internal factors such as your breathing is more likely to maintain your natural sleep architecture and result in restful and restorative sleep.

Being overweight increases the risk for sleep apnea.

What are the biggest “Sleep Stealers”?

Psychological Factors

Stress is considered by most experts to be the No. 1 cause of short-term sleeping difficulties. Common triggers include school- or job-related pressures, a family or marriage problem, and a serious illness or death in the family. Usually the problem disappears when the stressful situation passes. However, if short-term sleep problems such as insomnia aren’t managed properly from the beginning, they can persist long after the original stress has passed.

That’s why it’s a good idea to talk to a physician about any sleeping problem that recurs or persists for longer than one week.

Your doctor can help you take steps early to control or prevent poor sleep. Insomnia can also be brought on by depression, evaluation by a healthcare professional is essential.

Lifestyle Stressors

Without realizing it, you may be doing things during the day or night that can work against getting a good night’s sleep. These include drinking alcohol or beverages containing caffeine in the afternoon or evening, exercising close to bedtime, following an irregular morning and nighttime schedule, and working or doing other mentally intense activities right before or after getting into bed.

Shift Work

If you are among the 17 percent of employees in the United States who are shift workers, sleep may be particularly elusive. Shift work forces you to try to sleep when activities around you — and your own “biological rhythms” — signal you to be awake. One study shows that shift workers are two to five times more likely than employees with regular, daytime hours to fall asleep on the job.

Jet Lag

Still another stealer is jet lag, an inability to sleep caused when you travel across several time zones and your biological rhythms get “out of sync.”

Environmental Interferences

A distracting environment such as a room that’s too hot or cold, too noisy or too brightly lit can be a barrier to sound sleep. And interruptions from children or other family members can also disrupt it. Other influences to pay attention to are the comfort and size of your bed and the habits of your partner. If you have to lie beside someone who has different preferences, snores, can’t fall or stay asleep, or has other sleep difficulties, it often becomes your problem too!

Physical Factors

A number of physical problems can interfere with your ability to fall or stay asleep. For example, arthritis and other conditions that cause pain, backache, or discomfort can make it difficult to sleep well. Sleep apnea, causes brief awakenings (often unnoticed) and excessive daytime sleepiness. If suspected, a person having signs of sleep apnea should see a doctor.

Disorders that cause involuntary limb movements during sleep, such as Restless Legs Syndrome, break up the normal pattern and are also likely to make sleep less refreshing and result in daytime sleepiness.

For women, pregnancy and hormonal shifts including those that cause premenstrual syndrome (PMS) or menopause and its accompanying hot flashes can also intrude on sleep.

Medications

In addition, certain medications such as decongestants, steroids and some medicines for high blood pressure, asthma, or depression can cause sleeping difficulties as a side effect.

So, What’s The Secret To Good Sleep?

If you are having a problem or feel sleepy during the day, a visit with your doctor is the best first step. Your doctor will first want to ascertain whether there are any underlying problems that are contributing to or causing your problem.

In many cases, your doctor will be able to recommend lifestyle changes that can help promote sleep. Keep in mind that what works for some individuals may not work for others. Here are a few tips many people have found to be useful.

  • Avoid caffeine, nicotine and alcohol in the late afternoon and evening. Caffeine and nicotine can delay your sleep, and alcohol may interrupt it later in the night.
  • Exercise regularly, but do so at least three hours before bedtime. A workout after that time may actually keep you awake because your body has not had a chance to cool down.
  • Don’t use your bed for anything other than sleep or sex.
  • If you have trouble sleeping when you go to bed, don’t nap during the day, since it affects your ability to sleep at night.
  • Consider your environment. Make it as pleasant, comfortable, dark and quiet as you can.
  • Establish a regular, relaxing bedtime routine that will allow you to unwind and send a “signal” to your brain that it’s time to sleep. Avoiding exposure to bright light before bedtime and taking a hot bath may help.
  • If you can’t go to sleep after 30 minutes, don’t stay in bed tossing and turning. Get up and involve yourself in a relaxing activity, such as listening to soothing music or reading, until you feel sleepy. Remember: Try to clear your mind; don’t use this time to solve your daily problems.

When Do You Need to Seek Help?

See your your doctor is your problems persist for longer than a week and are bothersome. Or if sleepiness interferes with the way you feel or function during the day. You might want to keep a diary of your habits for about ten days. It can help you document your problem in a way that your physician can best understand.

If the problem is the time it takes to fall asleep, staying asleep or waking up unrefreshed, your doctor may recommend lifestyle changes or behavioral approaches to treating the problem. However, lifestyle changes alone may not be enough. Treating insomnia with medication is the most common treatment for these sleep problems. Use medication only used until the immediate stressor is under control or lifestyle changes have had a chance to work.

Take over-the-counter medicine with caution. Your physician or pharmacist can help inform you about the different types of medications available. Don’t use alcohol as a sleep aid.

For sleep apnea or other disorders, your doctor may want to do a sleep study. This will provide more information about your sleep pattern and whether you are breathing regularly while you sleep.

The bottom line is this: Adequate sleep is as essential to health and peak performance as exercise and good nutrition. If you aren’t getting enough, talk to your physician. You deserve it.

Overcoming Performance Anxiety

Do you have a fear of speaking in public or performing on a stage? If so, you could be suffering from a type of anxiety. Keep reading to learn about overcoming performance anxiety.

Everybody suffers from anxiety at some point or another. Anxiety is just a normal part of everyday life. It can be a useful emotion in helping us to cope with stressful situations. Other times, anxiety can be out of control and interfere with our ability to function normally in stressful situations even if the stress is just manufactured in our minds.

There will always be reasons to feel anxious. All ages experience anxiety. Children feel it in school before a test.  Even young babies feel it when separated from their mothers. Adults have plenty of opportunities to feel anxious:  job, finances, romance, or just being self-conscious.

Sometimes anxiety comes about because people must do something they fear doing. One of the most common anxiety producing experiences is when it comes to public speaking. Many people fear being in front of the public, either as a speaker or just as someone being singled out or noticed in a crowd.

DO YOU HAVE IT?

Do you have any of the following apply to you? If so, you may have performance anxiety.

  • Worry about looking foolish in front of other people and being laughed at?
  • Worry that people can see how nervous you are?
  • Suffer from stage fright if you must speak in front of others or perform onstage.
  • Experience anxiety in advance of the event simply from anticipating your fears.
  • Feel immediate and intense fear upon learning you need to perform in public.
  • Attempt to get out of public performances or not show up if you can’t get out of it.
  • Missed out on opportunities because of your fear of being in the public spotlight.

Performance anxiety is all in the mind of the sufferer. After all, not everyone fears going on stage, there is no danger in doing so. The fear comes from imagined dangers such as feeling like you are not smart enough or good enough to avoid ridicule. So, the way to overcome your performance anxiety is to change your way of thinking.

4 STEPS TO OVERCOMING PERFORMANCE ANXIETY

Step #1: Self-Assessment

  • Get to know yourself, both as a person and as a performer.
  • Identify the problem thoughts that are holding you back and creating anxiety.

Step #2: Exposure and Preparation

  • Find opportunities for limited performance exposure but not to the point your anxiety kicks in.
  • Practice your speech or performance. Tape it and watch yourself. Practice until you have it down pat. Always be totally prepared before giving your performance, so you feel confident.
  • Learn relaxation techniques and practice them right before your performance.

Step #3: The Performance

  • Visualize the audience as friends and family that wish you well.
  • Don’t think of yourself. Think of the audience.
  • Stay calm and enjoy yourself.

Step #4: After the Performance

  • Don’t criticize yourself no matter what happens.
  • Congratulate yourself for doing your best.
  • Reward yourself for making progress

Therefore, you must train yourself to change your thoughts and instead of worrying about what people will think.  Just go ahead and imagine they are thinking good things about you. Imagine yourself as self-confident and capable of completing the performance. As you change your thinking, you will start to overcome your performance anxiety.

Improve Your Communication Skills

Have you ever been to a function in a room full of strangers and found yourself lost for words? You may need to improve your communication skills.

The art of introducing yourself to others and creating small talk may come natural for some. But most people confess to feeling shy, embarrassed and don’t know where to start. What are the levels of communication?

FOUR LEVELS OF COMMUNICATION

Small Talk

First is the level of small talk. In new relationships or acquaintances the safest place to start is to talk about surface issues. For instance, talk about the weather, current events or the surroundings you are in.

You will “size up” the other person at this level. Also, you can determine the comfort zone between the two of you. There is no need to disclose any personal information at this stage. This initial interaction assists you to determine how “safe” they are on your first meeting.

If you are comfortable with each other at a surface level you can slip into the next level: fact disclosure.

Fact Disclosure

Next is the level of Fact disclosure. This is deeper than small talk in that you disclose facts about yourself without triggering topics of emotional interest.

The purpose of fact disclosure is to find out if you have something in common. You can use these common areas to build a friendship. You may want to talk about your career, occupation, hobbies, or where you live.

Avoid topics like marriage, divorce, politics, sex and religion in this second level of communication.  If you find a topic of mutual interest you can move on to the next level: sharing viewpoints and opinions.

Sharing Viewpoints and Opinions

Once you have established that the other person is “safe” through small talk. And you have found areas of common interest, you can build rapport by sharing your opinions and viewpoints.

By sharing your viewpoints and opinions you allow yourself to become vulnerable to the other person. Enter this level of communication once you are comfortable that you both share positive feelings through the first two levels.

You should can listen to the opinions of your new friend. This will enable your friendship to survive.

Make sure you don’t use your opinions as a form of “character assassination” of other people. You can be thought of as a negative person. And this may cause your new friend to distance himself/herself from you.

The fourth level of communication is sharing personal feelings. Solid friendships over time usually enter this fourth level of communication.

Sharing Personal Feelings

So, you you have built up trust, found things in common and shared viewpoints with the other person. Next, you may be able to share your personal feelings. This is when an acquaintance becomes a genuine friend.

At this level things of deep value can be shared without feeling threatened. You listen closely to each other without the need to “solve” your friend’s problem. You are happy to reflect their feelings back to them. This forms a bond of empathy and compassion between the two of you.

At this level of communication, it is important that you provide a little distance between yourself and your friend. If the distinction between yourself and your friend becomes unrecognizable, it is possible for your relationship to go sour. Therefore, if you know how to handle your own feelings, attitudes and behaviors while maintaining your friendship at this level, you can build a lifelong friendship.

A life coach is an example of a professional who can help you improve your communication skills. As with any skill – you must practice. Build a support team of people who can help you.

4 Steps to Conquer Self Esteem

Use these 4 steps to conquer self esteem:

STEPS 1 AND 2 TO CONQUERING SELF ESTEEM

Affirmations

Affirmations are simply positive things that you say out loud to yourself every day. This can be very difficult at times because you may not actually believe what you are saying. SO why would you say something to yourself that you don’t believe?

Love yourself first and everything else falls into line. You really have to love yourself to get anything done in this world

lucille ball

Increased self esteem has to start with you. So, if you are shy and intimidated by people, start to say something like the following: I am NOT shy and I am NOT intimidated by people. I am VERY confident when I get around people.

Repeat this to yourself out loud at least 10 times before you leave your room. When you say this, don’t just mumble it either, say it as many times as necessary until you say it with passion and conviction.

Read to grow

Again, increased self esteem starts with you. Read something everyday for at least 30 minutes that will help you increase your self esteem. This can be an article, a book, or even an audio series. The more you learn the more you will grow. The more you grow, the more your self esteem will improve.

STEPS 3 AND 4 TO CONQUERING SELF ESTEEM

Take action everyday

Do something every day, starting with something small, that directly deals with your low self esteem. For instance, if you can’t talk with people because you feel insecure and inferior, just start off by saying ‘Hi’. As you get more comfortable with this, then start to make small talk. You will begin to feel more confident and more confident until one day, you will find that you have overcome low self-esteem in that area.

Too many people overvalue what they are not and undervalue what they are.

malcolm forbes

Stop the negative thoughts

Negative thoughts are like landmines. As soon as you step out to face your fear, a negative thought comes and tells you that you can’t do it and BOOM; you believe it and lose that round. Instead, diffuse negative thoughts before they have a chance to do damage.

A great way to do this is with a rubber band! Put a rubber band around your wrist. Every time a thought comes into your head that tells you that you can’t, you will never succeed, you are a loser, or anything negative, SNAP the rubber band on your wrist.

You may be snapping that band until your wrist is red and sore. Before long though, you will stop the negative thoughts because you don’t want to hurt your wrist anymore.

You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection

buddha

Finally, these 4 steps to conquer self esteem will help you increase your self esteem and become the person you really want to be. Just remember this: you are not going to change over night. It will take time but as long as you are progressing, you are winning the war. If you need help improving your self esteem – maybe look into building a support team. This team could include a friend, mentor, life coach or therapist.

Get Ready, Get Set, Change!

Have you been thinking it might be time to make some changes in your career or relationships? The following tips will help you to get ready, set, change.

I once heard a story about someone who left a very interesting message on her voicemail. Her message started out in the usual way, “…we’re not home, leave a message…” what followed was not so usual. It continued, “…by the way, we’ve recently made some changes in our life, if we don’t call you back, you’re one of the changes, beeeep”.

My first reaction to this story was disbelief at what was probably one of the rudest messages I had ever heard.. But I couldn’t get it off my mind, and by the end of the day I had changed my perspective. I began to admire this woman, who was obviously at the end of her rope. She was very determined, for whatever reason, to end relationships that were affecting her life in a negative way.

Ready, Set, Change is not easy

Change is never easy, especially when it requires us to dramatically alter the way we’ve become accustomed to living our lives. Leaving our comfort zone, no matter how much we dislike it, requires a combination of bravery and determination, as well as education in that area.

Many times we’re so desperate to better ourselves, we hastily make ineffective and, sometimes expensive, decisions that we feel will quickly produce the results we are looking for. Purchasing a costly gym membership and vowing to attend seven days a week while surviving on lettuce, may seem like a great idea for a few weeks (if you’re very determined,) but how long can you live like that?

If you’re serious about making a long-term change in your life, take these steps to ensure your success:

5 Ways For You to Get Ready, Set Change

When in doubt, choose change.

lily leung

Educate Yourself

Aside from determination, education is the most important key to your success. Knowing exactly what you must do to accomplish your goals will give you the power to make them a reality. Consult a professional (a life coach or therapist)or check out a book written by a credible authority on the subject. You can also tap the wealth of information to be found on the Internet. Friends and acquaintances can also provide insight. I have a good friend who is very organized, an area in which I am always trying to improve. Over the years I have learned a great deal from watching her manage her incredibly busy life.

Set Reasonable Goals

You are not going to lose 30 pounds in two weeks. Nor are you going to undo years of financial irresponsibility in six months. After becoming educated, you will get a realistic picture of how long it will be before you should expect to see results. Having this knowledge upfront will prevent you from giving up too soon.

Plan and Track

If you’re trying to accomplish something that requires long-term commitment, purchase a journal or notebook to write down your short and long term goals. Detail how you will carry them out and when you will complete them. Check each item off as you accomplish it. Keeping a journal to record your achievements can be motivating on those days when you feel like sliding back to your old ways.

Just Say No

Avoid situations that will prevent you from accomplishing your goals. Set some boundaries. This is especially important in the beginning, before your new way of life comes natural to you.

Pat Yourself on the Back

Be proud of yourself for making the decision to improve your quality of life. When you reach important milestones, reward yourself in a way that is in sync with your new lifestyle. A new outfit is a great reward for losing weight, but would be considered a setback if you’re trying to cut back on spending!

Only I can change my life. No one can do it for me.

carol burnett

9 WAYS TO COMBAT FEAR!

COMBAT FEAR

Fear gets to the best of us, whether it is fear of failure, fear of success or even fear of fear. All of us have experienced fear at some point in our lives and it can be a real stumbling block that holds us back from being truly successful. This article gives you 9 practical ways to COMBAT FEAR!

Fear can’t hold you back forever, if you don’t let it. There are several ways to overcome it!

SEPARATE REALITY FROM PERCEPTION

First, ask yourself what is really going on, locate the facts and place them over your feelings.

IDENTIFY THE TRIGGER

Next, figure out what it is in a situation that triggers you. Learning to identify it will help you learn to combat it.

KNOW WHERE FEAR LIVES IN YOUR BODY

Sometimes, fear takes over physically. It affects different people different ways. Identify if/how it affects your physical body and do the work to take care of your body. Ex: if you hold stress in your back, you can learn stretches, foam rolling, etc. to avoid the pain.

PRACTICE GRATITUDE

Everyday, list out 1-3 things you are thankful for. It doesn’t matter how big or small it is, gratitude helps shift the mind into a positive light, which overtime, overcomes fear.

LISTEN TO YOUR INNER VOICE

Furthermore, monitor your inner conversations. If you wouldn’t say it to a friend, don’t say it to yourself. Speak positively to yourself and remind yourself of your strengths.

CREATE A NEW ASSOCIATION

Remind yourself that the feeling and the moment will pass. Focus on the positive outcome of the situation, rather than the scary inbetween.

LOOK AT THE GLASS HALF FULL

Perception is a very powerful thing, and how you feel about your situation dictates how you respond. So think positively and you’ll give yourself a much better chance of success. This won’t happen overnight; practice with just one thought. What is one recurring negative/fearful thought you have? Work on reversing this one thought. Overtime, this will become a habit.

PRACTICE BREATHING EXERCISES

Breathing helps center your body; when you stop breathing, your heart stops beating. You can do a grounding exercise, or even just take 5 deep, long breaths at any point to calm and center yourself. It is best to start your  day with this, but feel free to practice all day long.

CREATE A SAFE SPACE

When you feel safe and secure, there is no room for fear. Find somewhere safe you can retreat to when ill feelings begin- whether this is a real place such as your bedroom, or a place in your mind such as the beach. This sense of comfort will soothe you and allow you to face your fear.

Finally, please keep in mind, these are just 9 strategies to combat fear, not everything works for everyone. But this is a place to start. Start implementing these techniques into your life and don’t let fear hold you back from reaching your goals and your highest potential this year!

Do you need some help combatting your fear? Make and appointment with a Life Coach. They can help you identify and overcome your fear.

Eliminate Excuses to Reach Your Goals

You must eliminate your excuses (escape routes) to reach your goals. It is tempting to retreat to safety and comfort when challenges and difficulties arise. To avoid turning around and abandoning your goals, you must make going forward more compelling than going back.  Burn the ships!

When striving towards a goal, you must focus on what you want to obtain. And avoid the impulse to go back to what you know and to what is comfortable. When Spanish Conquistador Hernando Cortez landed in Mexico, his first order to his men was to burn the ships. Cortez was committed to his mission and did not want to allow himself or his men the option of going back to Spain. By removing this option, Cortez and his men were forced to focus on how they could make the mission successful.

He that is good for making excuses is seldom good for anything else

benjamin franklin

Eliminate Excuses

Eliminating an escape route creates a compelling reason to focus on the goal and to keep moving forward. However, remember that although Cortez had his men burn the ships, he did not have them burn the supplies. Cutting off an escape route to increase motivation and desire to press on is different from taking undue risks. Reaching your goals still requires prudent planning and managing. All goals contain a certain degree of risk. But it isn’t necessary to create undue risk and stress by not properly planning and thus lacking the necessary tools and supplies to achieve your goal. Take risks, but don’t be careless or foolish and simply hope that everything will be okay.

Reach Your Goals

Before you decide to burn your ships, make sure you have the supplies and tools necessary to achieve the goal. Something like quitting your job might sound like a good way to close the escape route. But, it might also be a fast way to bankruptcy if you don’t have resources to carry you through. Creating a savings account or having a journey job (a job that is a stepping stone to what you really want) allows you to take the risk of leaving your current job without creating undue risk.

Ninety-nine percent of the failures come from people who have the habit of making excuses

george washington carver

Close off the escape routes and make sure that you have a compelling reason to move forward. However, at the same time, make sure that you plan for the risk and have the tools, supplies and resources you need to achieve your goals. You can’t eliminate risk but you can plan for it. Don’t just jump in without thinking through the process and having a solid plan for moving forward. Need help developing a solid plan? Get a mentor or life coach to help you. Eliminate your excuses to reach your goals. Burn the ships!

TIME TO RELAX?

Taking time to relax is important to achieving optimal performance and health. You name it; being relaxed will increase your productivity in it. If you’re not relaxed, everything you do will be a struggle. Relaxation provides mind-body integration necessary for peak performance.

The importance of taking time to relax

It is important to relax to get your mind clear and your body tension free; to regain focus and to cool down and to help return to a balanced physical state. Relaxation is vital for a healthy mind and is required to maintain motivation and interest in our lives and careers. Not being able to relax and unwind can be damaging to your health. Even when there are huge demands on your life, you may have a large family, an important career, and a home amongst your other weekly commitments – you still need to find your own time and space to relax.

Finding time to relax throughout the day is especially important. Twenty minutes, two or three times a day, is preferred. If you can’t manage twenty minutes, it’s important to realize that whatever amount of time you do manage to get to relax will be beneficial to your mind and body, even if not noticeably so.

Relaxing Ideas

When time is short there are several things, you can do: reading, writing, daydreaming or just sitting quietly. Quite often whatever you do to relax will be personal and work for you, so you need to find what works best.

As a Life Coach I have worked with numerous people with issues relating to relaxation and stress etc. It’s interesting that initially many find it difficult to slow down and see the benefits of taking more time out.

EVERY NOW AND THEN GO AWAY, HAVE A LITTLE RELAXATION, FOR WHEN YOU COME BACK TO YOUR WORK, YOUR JUDGEMENT WILL BE SURER

leonardo da vinci

Benefits of relaxation

  • Improves your ability to concentrate. Helps you in your ability to tune out distractions and give you better sensory awareness.
  • Improves body awareness; you need to know when you are under or over doing it.
  • It speeds up healing time following an injury and fatigue, the body needs to recover fully if it’s going to perform at an optimal level soon.
  • Learning is enhanced, it is much easier to introduce new thoughts and ideas when your mind is clear, and you are relaxed. Skills are best learned when you are in a relaxed state and there is an absence of tension.
  • It helps you sleep better
  • You become more efficient
  • It puts your focus back on the present and gives you a sense of control
  • It increases energy
Why Relax?

If you don’t take the time to unwind and relax regularly, you might be putting not only your own health and well-being at risk but also that of others as well.

In relation to your responsibility to the health and safety of others; we only must think of driving a car, or operating machinery, and how our ability to do these tasks diminishes when we are tense, tired, and stressed. So, in fact our responsibility to relax is not just for our own sake but also for that of others.

Effects of Lack of Relaxation

  • Headache, common ones being tension headaches and migraines. Controlling tension and relaxing can help migraines. Tension headaches are susceptible to treatment by relaxation.
  • Chronic fatigue, your body is in a total state of fatigue. You suffer from total lack of energy and motivation all the time.
  • Cardiovascular disorders, high blood pressure and heart disease, heart attack.
  • Gastrointestinal problems, diarrhea, constipation, and stomach ulcers as well as indigestion and heartburn.
  • Poor immune system, becoming susceptible to illness

Warning Signs You Need To Relax

  • Yawning/sighing
  • Lack of concentration
  • Feeling the urge to stretch or move about
  • Drop in performance
  • Feelings of stress and irritability
  • Performing uncommon errors
  • Tiredness

With regards to our own health and emotional well-being, if we don’t make time to relax regularly, we are putting our health and mental health at risk of failure.

If we are aware of the signs and take notice of them and take a break etc., you could avoid a lot of stress and fatigue, you will be more rational and focused, and better equipped to carry on, and be far healthier.

The Cost of Not Relaxing

Spending a lifetime of ignoring the signs could impact heavily, not only on your health, well-being, and happiness but also those around you. Relationships could suffer as well as your career. On a personal note, the consequences of not taking time to relax over a lifetime could mean you pay the ultimate price.

You say you don’t have time to relax. I say you don’t have time not to relax. You are your own best resource; you need to take time to nurture and look after yourself.

WHAT IS GOOD GRIEF?

Can grief be good?  It certainly doesn’t feel good.  I have never heard anyone say they enjoyed the process of grief.  But grief is necessary, and you must go through the process to move on with your life.  I am going to tell you how you can experience good grief.

WHAT IS GRIEF?

Dictionary.com offers these definitions to grief:

  • deep sorrow, especially that caused by someone’s death.
  • trouble or annoyance.

Grief is a person’s normal, healthy response to a loss. People grieve for many different reasons, including:

  • Death of a loved one, including pets. Divorce or changes in a relationship, including friendships. Changes in your health or the health of a loved one. Losing a job or changes in financial security. Changes in your way of life, such as during retirement or when moving to a new place.

You can also experience grief if you or a loved one are diagnosed with a major disease or face a serious illness. You may grieve the plans you had made, or the ways life will change.

THE FEELINGS AND EMOTIONS OF GRIEVING

Grief is different for everyone. It never looks the same.  And each loss you experience will cause you to grieve in different ways.  Some things you may experience during the grieving process:

  • Feelings: Anger, anxiety, blame, confusion, denial, depression, fear, guilt, irritability, loneliness, numbness, relief, sadness, shock, or yearning.
  • Thoughts: Confusion, difficulty concentrating, disbelief, hallucinations, or preoccupation with what was lost.
  • Physical sensations: Dizziness, fast heartbeat, fatigue, headaches, hyperventilating, nausea or upset stomach, shortness of breath, tightness or heaviness in the throat or chest, or weight loss or gain.
  • Behaviors: Crying spells, excessive activity, irritability or aggression, loss of energy, loss of interest in enjoyable activities, restlessness, or trouble sleeping.

THE PROCESS OF GRIEF

I think most of us are familiar with the stages of grief:  denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance.  I do believe we experience all of these stages when handling grief in a healthy way.  But sometimes we think we just need to work through each stage and be done.  Unfortunately, grief is not that tidy or orderly.  It is messy and chaotic and confusing.

I love this image from feelings unlimited  This is what grief really looks feels like to me.

SELF CARE

So, now we know what grief is.  We know the symptom and process.  No one wants to experience all of these feelings.  How do we take care of ourselves as we move through the process?

TIPS FOR SELF-CARE
  • Take a walk
  • Take a nap
  • Get a few minutes of fresh air and sunlight
  • Have a good cry
  • Plan a night out with friends
  • Breathe
  • Listen to your favorite music playlist
  • Take stock of your support system
  • Look through old photographs.
  • See a movie
  • Watch YouTube Videos
  • Practice self compassion
  • Plan a weekend getaway.
  • Treat yourself to a day of relaxation
  • Try a new hobby
  • Be creative
  • Join a support group
  • Find a quiet place where you can be alone with your thoughts.
  • try a warm shower or a bubble bath.
  • See a therapist
  • See a life coach
  • Volunteer your time.
  • Throw a pity party for yourself. Allow yourself an hour each day to sulk
  • Retail Therapy
  • Spend time in a place where you feel close to your deceased loved one(s).
  • Play a sport or take a yoga class.
  • Call an old friend
  • Throw your plans out the window and spend a few days schedule-free.
  • Go for a drive.

NECESSARY GRIEVING

Finally, grief is not fun, but it is necessary.  If you need help learning how to experience good grief – seek out a therapist, life coach or join a support group.  Don’t get stuck in the grief.  Feel it, process it, and then go help someone else work through it.  I won’t promise that it gets easier with time, I don’t think it does.  But if you work through the pain of grief – it does get different.  You will be able to look back at the loss with a new perspective and you will have grown as person through the experience.

BUILD A COPING TOOLBOX

Life consistently presents us with challenges and changes and at times this can lead to us feeling stressed. Planning how to manage and cope in various life situations and finding out which coping skills work best for you, is the key to succeeding with stress rather than experiencing distress. Keep reading to learn how to build your own coping toolbox to help with stress and acute emotional crises.

BUILD YOUR COPING TOOLBOX

Stress is one of those words that we use so often it can be hard to know what it means. Stress comes in different degrees: Is what you’re feeling stressStress, or STRESS?

When we’re talking about the first level of stress, we mean the usual pressures of everyday life. For example:

  • The stress of juggling everything you need to fit into a busy week. 
  • The stress you feel before an event that makes you nervous. T
  • The lingering stress you feel over things that happen in your daily life. 

5 Ideas for coping with “normal” stress:

  1. Understand more about stress – this involves recognizing your sources of stress and how stress affects you personally. Plan for stressful periods.
  1. Problem-solve – what is the problem, be specific and break it down into realistic achievable components. Then set goals on how to deal with each problem. Make sure you include how to begin your plan of action.
  1. Develop new behavior – if you take on too much or have problems saying no, learn to be assertive. There are plenty of courses at local colleges or you may prefer to see a therapist 1:1. Learn to manage your time more effectively and delegate wherever possible! Avoid procrastination; whilst you are not doing it, you’ll only be spending energy worrying about it.
  1. Make sure you develop a support network – deliberately develop good supportive relationships. Ask for help when needed and accept it when offered. You must also be prepared to do the same for others.
  1. Make time to relax and enjoy yourself – how many of us know we should do more of this but don’t make the time? Set aside time each day to relax and build this into your routine. Develop hobbies and leisure activities that help you to switch off.

Six ideas For Coping with Acute Emotional Distress

Emotional distress is a state of emotional suffering. The term encompasses a range of symptoms, but its hallmarks are the symptoms of depression and anxiety. People can experience it at any time, and it is usually temporary.

  1. Use of distraction – the aim of this is to limit the time you spend in contact with the emotional stimuli, the things that are causing you to feel emotional. The stimuli could be anything from another person to the thoughts that you are having. Distraction involves doing something else to absorb your attention.
  1. Imagery – think of safe and soothing images. This involves imagining images that make you feel good, it may be a favorite place, person, pet, or scenes from nature.
  1. Relaxation – learn a simple technique like using peripheral vision to induce relaxation. Peripheral vision is effective at switching on the parasympathetic nervous system, which is the part of the nervous system responsible for making us feel calm. It’s not possible to feel anxious or distressed whilst fully relaxed in peripheral vision.
  1. One thing in the moment – as adults we tend to spend much of our time stuck contemplating what went wrong in the past or what may go wrong in the future. Try and just focus on the ‘moment’. Perhaps this may involve thinking something like ‘I’m in my house in my favorite chair, I’m warm and comfortable and I have a good book to read’.
  1. Exercise – physical activity can help to disperse the chemicals released in your body by the stress response. It also releases feel good chemicals known as endorphins.
  1. Soothe yourself – do something to nurture your 5 senses. Be kind and gentle to yourself.