Clear the Clutter

How to Get a Good Night’s Sleep

Do you wish you could sleep like a baby?  Do you wish you could fall asleep and STAY asleep all night?  Do you wish if you woke up to go to the bathroom, you could easily fall back to sleep?  Do your kids have a bedtime routine?  Then why shouldn’t you?

I seem to have little to no trouble falling asleep BUT these days, I have trouble staying asleep.  It seems like after 2 or 3 hours, my body wants to wake up and then I can’t get back to sleep.  I have tried many natural alternatives but most leave me feeling like a zombie in the morning.  Mornings are rough with the MS so I don’t need to complicate things with any thing that may have helped me sleep during the night.

Hubby researched this and came up with a pre-bedtime routine—a.k.a practicing good “sleep hygiene”— which they said would help me fall asleep more easily at night and stay asleep until morning. Honestly, some nights it works and some nights it doesn’t but I think it is an MS thing….. So if you have trouble going to sleep or staying asleep, here are some times which might help:

#1: Stay on Schedule.

Going to sleep and waking up at the same time every day—even on weekends—is crucial for setting your body’s internal clock, which experts call your circadian rhythm. Staying consistent also means the quality of your sleep will be better.  I know this one is tough but it really does make a difference.  Most nights, I am in bed or at least headed to bed by 10:15PM.  It allows me to fall asleep easily but it doesn’t always guarantee I will stay asleep during the night.  Believe it or not, in the beginning I actually wrote it in my planner to go to bed at 10PM just do I would remember.  LOL

#2: Be Mindful of What you Eat and Drink—and When.

I grew up hearing “don’t eat before bed” but it never really made sense to me.  Then while on my weightless journey, I never ate at least 2 hours before bed because I didn’t want to gain weight.  LOL.  We all know nicotine and caffeine are stimulants and take hours to wear off, so they make it harder to fall—and stay—asleep. The key is to avoid them for 4 – 6 hours before bed.  Alcohol can initially make you feel sleepy, BUT it lowers the quality of your shut-eye.  Go easy on any liquids before you bed to prevent trips to the bathroom in the middle of the night.

#3: Create a Comfy Bedroom.

Is your bedroom an oasis?  Do you feel relaxed when you walk in or is it full of clutter and you get stressed?  Your room should be peaceful and conducive to sleeping by keeping it quiet, cool, and dark.  Earplugs can help if you live in a noisy area. Noisy environments interrupt your sleep and reduce its quality, even when you don’t realize that it’s happening.  Outside light can keep you awake, so try room-darkening shades. Did you know your mattress and pillow also make a big difference?  Ideally, mattresses should be replaced every five to seven years and pillows should be replaced annually. A mattress should feel comfortable, and if you sleep with a partner, make sure it’s big enough so you both have plenty of space.  I find the smallest noise wakes me up so I sleep with a fan going year round.  This blocks out the sound and the hum is soothing and helps me to fall asleep.

#4: Start an Evening Ritual.

Whether it’s curling up with a book, listening to calming music or taking a warm bath, doing the same, relaxing thing every night will signal to your body it’s time to settle down.  Do you read with a “paper” book or do you read on a kindle or electronic devise?  Believe it or not,  watching TV, looking at a laptop, tablet or smart phone screen before going to bed can trigger your brain to stay awake. The safest strategy is to just put all electronics away in the evening, or at the very least, about 30 minutes before bed. Give yourself 20 minutes before bed for the one thing that calms you down. Maybe you read a book, do a guided meditation, sketch, or have some tea. Can’t shut your brain off?  Try “brain dumping” by writing everything down before you go to bed.  This empties your mind and allows it to relax just long enough to fall asleep.

#5: Don’t Watch the Clock.

Staring at the clock when you can’t sleep can stress you out and make it even harder to snooze. Keep your bedroom clock turned away from you so you won’t be tempted to watch time tick by. If 20 minutes pass and you still can’t fall asleep, get out of bed and do something peaceful until you feel drowsy.

What is your nightly routine to help you sleep at night?  Have a tip to help you relax?  We would love to hear from you…

Have a blessed day!

Unclutter Your Life

How to Detox from Your Cell Phone

Well, it is the Thursday before Memorial Day Weekend.  It is when we get the first taste of what the summer will bring as the “shoobies” make their way to the Jersey Shore.  This is always a tough weekend for me…. not it isn’t because of the influx of people; it is the weekend I am reminded of the loss of my aunt, Elsie AKA “my buddy” in 1999.  Yes, I squirreled for a moment, sorry back to today’s blog post…………..

Does the picture look like you 99% of the time?  When your phone isn’t in your hand, scrolling Facebook, reading emails or sending text messages, where is it?  I will admit mine is usually close by at least within arms reach.

How often has your Hubby or family or even you wished you could have “phone-less” time!  I mean a time when the phone was either shut off, put away or on “do not disturb”?  Are you starting to sweat at the thought of missing out on notifications?  Are you already picturing the fight with the kids over not being able to talk to their friends?

Most days, my cell phone is on “do not disturb” so the only people able to reach out to me are family.  Why?  So I can stop being obsessed.  So I can work my “at home business” on my time not when ever any calls or texts.  It wasn’t long ago I realized the ONLY time I have been totally “unplugged” from everything (cell phone, computer, tablet) was when we were on a cruise.  It is an automatic switch when I get on the ship, it goes off and it doesn’t come back on until we reach the car on our drive home.  I know a week worth of emails and messages can make your head spin but the truth is, we all need it once in awhile.

If all of these boxes apply to you, you’re clearly in need of a detox

  • When your thumb on your dominant hand is sore from all the scrolling
  • You look at your phone first thing when you wake up
  • A panic attack is around the corner when your battery is running low
  • You get anxious when being separated from your phone
  • You lack concentration and check your phone too often (even unconscious)

Did you answer yes all (or most) of these?  Then you are in desperate need of a cell phone detox!

Here’s what you need to do:

1. Start with 8 hours of disconnectionyou’ll feel restless at first, but getting used to being phone free takes time.  The easiest way is to turn it off an hour before you go to bed and don’t turn it on until you have had your coffee in the morning.

2. Throw a phone free dinner – see how the conversation changes.  People actually talk and listen to each other.  Oh and no photos of food.  Dinner is a no brainer for me.  I don’t do the phone at dinner, especially on the nights hubby is off.

3. Go out in nature and connect to the real world.  The weather is nicer so this is a whole lot easier to do. No pictures or checking your phone.  Depending on where you go for a walk, you may need to take your phone in case there is an emergency.  I carry mine in my pocket when I go for a walk only because of the MS.

4. Set a phone curfew to turn phones off after 8PM and have a relaxing night.  Okay, so this may be a little bit tougher but I am willing to try it.  The problem is when I switch off the phone, the iPad is close at hand to check emails and Facebook.  How do you totally unplug?

5. Grab a magazine, a coffee and go soak up some sun by yourself!  This sounds great in theory but my books are on my iPad which then keeps me connected to the internet if I am close to the house.  UGH!  Solution – I have been buying some old fashioned books at yard sales so I can start reading “electronic free”.  Then I donate them back to the church rummage sale.  A win for everyone.

So, be honest… how many times a day do YOU check your phone?  I’m getting better but it is still a process.  How about you, are you willing to give it a try this holiday weekend?

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

Woohoo Wednesday

Rekindle Your Relationship

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Today is all about YOU!  Struggling with health issues (or any stress) can take a toll on you in many ways.  It can effect you mentally, physically and spiritually.  And as a result, your relationships may suffer.

Has stress caused you to feel like there’s no more passion or excitement in your relationship?  Do you only see frustration?  Despite the stress, there are some ways to reignite the passion. Here are some tips that I found in a recent article:

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Date yourself.   Be sure to take care of yourself first and stop feeling guilty about it!  I know it can be tough – I have been there, done that and I have a multitude of tee shirts!  The most important thing is to de-stress, keep up on your hygiene (mani-pedis are great), exercise, eat well, do things that make YOU feel pretty and sexy. Let’s be honest, when we feel tired, bloated, in pain, etc. it is tough to see the positives in others.  Taking care of yourself sets you up to focus and be present in the moment.

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Get educated. I don’t mean going back to school, who has time for that!  Have an open and honest conversation with your health care provider. You will be amazed at the things that affect your body and how excited we get with our partner.  Sometimes those feelings are the start of other health issues.

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Date your partner.  I’m not talking about the usual going out to dinner weekly to the same old place, the same old-time and the same bat channel! I mean schedule a time have fun with your partner! When was the last time that you locked the bedroom door and played a card game on the bed!  Or went to the park and played on the swings?

Communicate.  Communication is the number one key in a long-term relationship along with touch! No matter how well you know your partner you are NOT a mind reader. Despite the fact that many may think you are! Misunderstandings can lead to a lot of frustrations.  Learn to LISTEN while you are sharing your thoughts and ideas.

Try something new.  There are so many fun and exciting new things to add to your relationship just between the two of you. You can do something spontaneous like play hookie and head to the beach or lakeside for a couple of hours.  Stress causes us to get into a routine, a comfy spot – break out of that comfort zone!

Reflect.  Think about the things that were so thrilling and fun when you first got together! What were some things you did for your partner that they loved when you first started dating? Why not recreate those experiences?  If you don’t remember, have a conversation and ASK what they remember most about when you were first dating.  You may be surprised at the things that meant so much to them that you didn’t think about.

Take a vacation alone.  Isn’t the old saying “absence makes the hear grow fonder”?The truth is that alone time gives you time to reflect and regenerate your own energy. Gives you time to do self-care things without the judgement of someone else. It also interrupts the routine, “wakes you up” in a sense and you start to become aware of the things you love most about your partner, the things that make you feel incomplete without them.

See your partner at their BEST.  I can’t stress this one enough. If you are constantly frustrated with your partner or dreading being with them then try changing those thoughts. Make a list of everything you like and love about them and start paying attention to those things. In the morning say to yourself 3 new things you’re thankful for about them do this for at least 21 days and you’ll see a significant turn around!

What is your best tip for rekindle your relationship?  Share it with us.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

 

Hope Wissel, Unclutter Your Life

Habits for Successful People

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It is Monday….following a wet and dreary weekend as we brace for the impending hurricane.  Did you get everything done you wanted to do this weekend?  How many things did you scratch off your to do list?

Whether you have your own business, work a JOB or a mom managing a household – we all want to be successful.  Our definition of success may be different but that is our goal.  Did you know that  successful people are successful because they have taken little things and built them into habits?

Here are some things that successful people do:

First, they plan.  I don’t mean an endless to-do list because let’s be honest, that really isn’t a plan.  Before falling into bed or sometimes as soon as they wake up – before the craziness of the day takes over – they determine THREE things they want to get done.  They are the things that they will set out to accomplish no matter what.  What would your 3 things be?

 

Next, they focus.  I know we have all be under the misconception that multi-tasking is good. Guess what?  That is far from true.  If you want to be successful especially in completing your 3 priorities each day, you have to focus.  I always used to say “I am great at multitasking” but when I look back, things always got half done.  It would have been so much easier if I just focused on one thing at a time.  Be in the moment instead of figuring out what else needs to be done or planning out the next thing to cross off the to do list.

Successful people read.  I can hear the groans around the world at this one.  Who has time to read, right?  I am guilty of saying it so I totally get it.  Let’s start with finding just 15 minutes in our day and add reading to our habits.  Why is this so important?  It forces you to focus – stepping away from what you are doing.  How many times when you read do you get new ideas and I don’t mean adding to the to do list.  Now that books are on audio, you can listen to a book while driving.  This is great for those “mom-taxis” who spend countless hours shuttling kids. Or maybe it is a long commute to work.

Successful people unplug.  They spend time with family and friends doing fun things, in other words leisure activities.  When was the last time that you “unplugged”?  Maybe it was gathering friends together for some coffee (or wine or lunch).  Maybe it was just playing with the kids.  Maybe it was turning off your electronics for a few hours.  Yes, I did go there!  When work is demanding, “unplugging” for successful people is there even if  only in small bites.

Take a minute and think of TWO people that you know well and consider to be successful.  What do you see them do all of the time?  They don’t have to be big things, but they need to consistently do them.  Make a list of those things and see if any of those things will work for you.  Don’t discount them BEFORE you even try them.  Give them an honest try FIRST.  Remember that it takes 21 days to make a habit!

Wishing a successful and ThirtyOne-derful week!

“Giving myself away so others smile”