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

Grow Your Confidence – Part 2

Last week, I talked about growing your self confidence and I received a lot of feedback.  I won’t say i am surprised because despite all of the overwhelmingly positive posts on Facebook and Instagram, there are people who struggle. They struggle with standing tall and proud letting their sparkle shine through.

So here are a few more things which might help you boost your confidence…

1. Take some time for personal care.   I will admit, I am the worst at this.  When I am feeling yuk, all I want to do is lay around in my sweats.  The truth is, we should really nudge ourselves to do something for us.  Now, I don’t mean spend a fortune. How about pulling out your favorite shaving cream and shaving those legs? The warmer weather is coming.  How about deep conditioning your hair? Or even soaking in a bubble bath?  Pamper yourself with something you enjoy doing for you. Give yourself permission to enjoy life. Giving yourself permission to relax and even PLAY, will pay you back ten fold.  You will gradually change your mindset so the fun times come more naturally.

2. Visualize and Reframe.  This is going to sound a little crazy since I always talk about how important positive thinking is BUT believe me it works.  Take a few minutes to reflect on the problems you are facing in your life. Feel the feelings associated with the problem.  Do you naturally assume the worst – let’s REFRAME the problem and the solution!  Nothing is hopeless but when you believe it is, all you will feel is unhappiness and that you are a failure.

So, I want you to pick one problem and look at it in a new light by recreating a positive outcome.  I know it can be tough but you can do it.  Imagine a positive solution and really feel the feeling of the new positive ending to your story. Now, make the new ending happen!

3. Make a List of Your Positive Attributes.  Yes you do have them.  We all do even if we don’t always see them.  For many years, I heard “you are your own worst enemy” and I know I am not alone.  It is time to make a list of your positive gifts (physical and mental). We need to find an inner love for ourselves, instead of looking to others for approval.  I struggled with this exercise for years and then with the help of a friend, I reached out to several close friends and asked for their help.  I asked them to describe me in just 3 words.  I was blown away by the response. Once I wrote them all together, I put them into positive mantras I could repeat until I really started to believe them…

4. Fake it till you make it.   I know this sounds easy and hard to believe it actually works, but trust me it is easy and it does work. Remember those negative thoughts like:”This day sucks”, “I feel ugly” or “I am not good enough” guess what? Those thoughts radiate and everyone knows how you are feeling.  You need to keep your thoughts in check, so when the negative self talk creeps back up- proclaim the opposite. This will help you to build your self worth cause the negative inner gremlins can get pretty sneaky.

5. Get enough sleep.   I know as busy women, who has time for a good’s night sleep, right?  What is the definition of a good night’s sleep?  Is it 5 hours or maybe less?  Maybe it means a night when the kids aren’t climbing in your bed.  When you are tired and your body is run down, it’s difficult to feel good about yourself. Your body is dragging, and the negative inner gremlins are ready to rear their ugly heads. As much as you may hate to hear it, your body needs a solid 6-8 hours of sleep – peaceful uninterrupted sleep. I used to live on about 5 hours then age creeped in and health struggles.  I am grateful my hubby got me into a routine of at least 7 hours of sleep.  There are days when I get less but I can tell because my sparkle dulls just a little.  I know it is not always easy but find a happy medium for you so you have the energy to fight off those nasty gremlins.

I would love to hear from you and know what you do to boost your confidence on those tough days.  

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

 

Hope Wissel, Relax, Reflect, Recharge, Unclutter Your Life

Instant Energy Boost

Yup it is here again and you lost an hour over the weekend with the time change.  I am always glad for this change because it means longer days with warmer weather on the horizon.

What better topic for today than “instant” energy boosts, right?  I’m not talking about massive amounts of coffee although it may be an option.  It was for me many years ago when I was doing the commute of 4 hours a day round trip…

Here are some natural ways to rev up your day WITHOUT caffeine… and yes, it is possible.

#1 – Inhale Mint

Believe it or not, a whiff of this scent can make you feel more alert.  I don’t mean sniffing a candy mint, I mean the real thing FRESH or peppermint essential oil!  There is research which says it can also enhance your memory.

#2 – Slow Down

“Slow down, you move to fast”.. yes, it is an old song so I am showing my age.  The truth is a low or moderate paced walk can energize you because it sends more oxygen to your brain.

#3 – Balance your B12

Eating a healthy balance of foods could do wonders for your energy level BUT vitamin B12 helps your body turn food into fuel.  The vitamin is found in only animal proteins such as meat, poultry and dairy.  If you are vegan or vegetarian, you may want to take a supplement but check with your doctor first.  I actually had an over abundance of B12 for awhile and it can have negative effects on your body as well.

#4 – Have a Hearty Lunch

Do you have mid-afternoon slumps?  I do and it is usually a result of what I ate for lunch.  Yup, your lunch can make the difference in how you feel in the afternoon.  The key is to have a lunch combo of fiber and protein.  Make sure you pick whole-grain breads and pasta or have a hearty soup, stew or salad.  Pack your own lunch in one of Thirty One’s amazing thermals… try the thermal lunch tote and you can personalize it so no one takes your lunch!

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#5 – Just Add Sleep

When I think about sleeping more, I usually think of getting up later  but we should really go to bed earlier.  I know your favorite shows start later at night, right?  The truth is as adults, we need 7 or 8 hours of sleep a night to feel rested and alert.  What is your average?  Here is a trick to help you prep for bed: set an alarm on your phone so you can start winding down for the night.  Once the alarm goes off, put all of your electronic devises AWAY for the rest of the night.  I have been trying to do this a half hour before bed and it seems to help.  Tough but it does work.

#6 – Find Fresh Air

Feeling tired?  Take a break and go outdoors.  Being outside for about 20 minutes may be enough time to shrug off the sleepy slump of the day.  Taking a walk may rejuvenate you.

What do you do to gain energy during the day?  Share your best tips with us.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

Weigh to Goal

What Could Be Causing Your Weight Gain

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For the last 2 years (since reaching goal weight), I have struggled with maintaing my weight.  I have said it was health issues but always thought it was an excuse.  When the diagnosis of MS came, I figured weight gain was related to it.  Then it was low cortisol – not low enough for doctors to worry but low enough to cause concern for us.  Hubby was vigilant in trying to find answers.  Some would say he was obsessed.  Some say “he reads too much”.  Let me tell you, I am grateful for his persistence. We got the results back from the allergy tests – WOW!  Tops on the list was Candida Albican followed by mozzarella cheese and kidney beans.

What is Candida Albican? In simple terms, it is a a yeast fungus which everyone has BUT sometimes it gets out of control,  Yup, it is out of control in me.  When it is out of control, it sends toxic stuff throughout your body affecting your immune system leaving it open for other diseases.  UGH!  How do I fix it?  A total change in diet – eliminating some of my favorite foods (fruit) for awhile along with gluten.

I tell you all of this to say, be vigilant when you think there is something wrong in your body.  Don’t take “we can’t find anything” or “the tests are inconclusive” as a reason to stop searching for answers.  I remember telling my clients this many years ago so I am now practicing what I preached to them.

So are you putting on some extra pounds or has your weight loss has stalled, but you can’t figure out why, here is the 411 which might help you. Some surprising factors could be sabotaging your weight goals!

#1 Lack of Sleep

It took me a long time to get this.  When you skimp on sleep, you’re more likely to make poor food choices the next day.  Research studies show people who get more sleep weigh less than short sleepers.  I always thought I could run on five hours a night, but that was when I was at my heaviest.  I have made sleep a priority, and start winding down earlier in the evening. The result is not only do I feel rested BUT I make good choices when eating.

#2 Sitting for Too Long

Do you have a job which keeps you desk bound?  Did you know studies show  prolonged periods of sitting can lead to weight gain?  I know it sounds like a no brainer, right?  Do you need to take little breaks here and there, so you aren’t in one spot for hours. Drinking lots of water is a good trick – you get up for refills and the bathroom.

#3 Stress

It’s a harsh reality stress can make us put on weight. Chronic stress can actually boost your hunger!  So, give yourself some down time to clear your head, even if it’s just a few minutes.  It might seem like something you just don’t have time for, but it’s in your best interest to find room in your schedule. Deep breaths…

#4 Your Friends & Family

No, they are not deliberately sabotaging you, but studies have found the people closest to you have an impact on how you eat, since we tend to mirror their behavior. How many times, have you changed your order because you liked what someone else was ordering?  At a big family dinner and everyone is indulging, chances are, you will too. Keep this in mind, and be true to yourself. Don’t be afraid to be the odd man (or woman) out.

#5 Drinking Your Calories

The holidays are here so we know what it going to happen, right?  The truth is  calories from beverages really add up over the course of a day, starting with your coffee with sugar and a generous pour of 2% milk in the morning.  A couple glasses of wine with dinner, and voila — you’ve could add over 400 calories to your day.  Sip carefully, and keep track of drinks in addition to food.

So, what are you doing to remain on traffic on your weightless journey this holiday season?

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

Time Management

How To Be More Productive in the Morning

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It’s Monday morning…. which one are you this morning?

I really do enjoy Monday morning.  I look forward to the day because #1 I get to spend two days with my hubby and #2 I look at it as a new beginning.

I get that not every is a morning person and if I suggest that you can become one, you would probably throw something at the computer, right?  The truth is that a few simple changes to your routine can help you to be so much more productive during the day.

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1. Get enough sleep – Enough sleep is different for everyone.  For a LONG time, 4 or 5 hours was enough for me.  Now, I feel the most productive when I get at 7 hours.  To be more productive in the morning, once you know how many hours of sleep is ideal for you – figure out when you need to go to sleep.  I LOVE getting up early and being in my office by 6AM so I found going to bed at 10PM works for me.  I can get up at 5AM after 7 hours of sleep.  Does that happen every day? NO! But I try to make sure it happens 80% of the time.  Remember the 80/20 rule?  With the additional hours of sleep, you’ll wake up feeling fresh and happy. Simple enough, right?

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2. Write down a to-do list – Think about all the things you have to do the night before and write them down. In the morning, you’ll know what you have to do, and organizing your time will be way easier.

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3. Be motivated – Find a reason to get up in the morning. For example, you might want to wake up early to fit in a morning workout, or to have some extra time to cook a healthy breakfast.  I get up early to squeeze in some quiet time to write and work on my business.

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4. Take your time – Don’t rush!  Give yourself plenty of time. Nothing is worse than running out of time and not being able to do everything on your to-do list. Give yourself time to wake up, get ready, drink your coffee and prepare for the day ahead.

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5. Have a playlist – Start your morning with some music. This will help you wake up in a good mood, and make you more motivated throughout the day.  I love singing out (often off key) to some of my favorite songs

What do you do in the morning to help you be more productive? Exercise? Meditate?  Share YOUR best tip with us.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!