I don’t know about you, but I cannot function without a good night’s rest. The National Sleep Foundation continues to discover the importance of restorative sleep at all ages, and they recommend 7 to 9 hours a night pretty much from our teens on. Are you getting your zzzz’s?
If you aren’t, you are at a higher risk of obesity and all the diseases that accompany being overweight. The cycle is this: you wake up tired and grab sugar and caffeine to compensate for the lack of energy, which in turn keep you awake at night. Then you are exhausted and repeat the pattern. It’s a vicious cycle that 45 percent of Americans are stuck in.
Gaining weight will also increase your chances of depression, according to the CDC. Talk about another tough cycle to break! The good news is that you can break free by simply sleeping better. Okay, I know that is easier said than done. As adults, we tend to struggle with quieting our minds, and we have more life and work stress that impacts our Cortisol levels. Yet, we can make some changes that can help us rest.
- Do not consume any caffeine after 2 pm – sooner if you are sensitive.
- Avoid alcohol as it stimulates your brain, even though you feel relaxed.
- Stop grabbing sugary drinks to boost your energy. Instead, drink more water.
- Exercise – but not too close to bedtime.
- Set a regular bed time and honor it. This is especially important for children and teens.
- Put the technology away at least 2 hours before bedtime. Read an old-fashioned book to wind down.
- Have your room temperature on the lower side and keep it dark.
- Check your pillow. How old are they? Do they offer comfort and support?
- Replace your mattress if it is over 8 years old. I know the warranty is for 10, but think about what happens in a bed…every night. Enough said.
- Clean your sheets regularly.
- Breathe deeply, fully, and slowly when trying to go to sleep. Mediate or pray.
- Keep a pad of paper by the bed. If you think of something that is keeping you awake, write it down so you can let it go and get back to your zzz’s.
- If your mind is active, say “I hear you but this is not the time nor the place.”
In my routine, I include drinking a cup of Chamomile tea about 1 ½ hours before bedtime. I also take Valerian Root, a supplement that helps reduce your body temperature so you can produce Melatonin. Still struggle? Add some Melatonin or Tryptophan before bed. Check with your doctor first to ensure they don’t conflict with any medications you are taking.
When we get good, restorative sleep, our body and brain have a chance to renew and recharge. We will be more productive, eat less, and feel better. It’s worth the effort!
The other day, I crashed while trail running. The toe of my shoe caught a rock, and down I went. I fell forward, landing on the rocky ground with my knees and scrapping the heck out of them. Kuma, my dog, sat there looking at me with his head tilted as if to say, “Why are you playing in the dirt, mom? I thought we were running?” I started to cry and told him I needed a minute.
It wasn’t the throbbing pain of my knees or the bloody mess that caused me to break down. No, I have endured much worse from a physical stand point (Lyme disease). I was frustrated beyond words, and the tears came out. You see, not more than 10 seconds before my fall had I just thanked God for feeling good. This trail run had been the first where I felt like myself in over a year. I wasn’t hurting and had the energy to run. As I praised God, it was as if satan himself pushed me down, shooting for a face plant. “Can’t give Lorraine a good moment.”
As I sat in the dirt, I had a flood of emotions and thoughts: WTH? Really? This sucks; I’m sick of this; etc. I took a couple of deep breaths, got up, and began running again. As I did, I had a message for the evil force at work, but I can’t type it. It would be very unprofessional of me—use your imagination. After my expletive, I spoke truths: God is bigger than anything I face; this set back is temporary but God’s love for me is eternal; God is at work in my life always for my good. Nothing, and I mean nothing, can make me stop loving God or remove His love for me.
I sniffled, continued to run (I had almost 1 mile to go from the crash), and chose to focus not the on push down into the dirt but the protection from my Heavenly Father. It could have been way worse if I feel into a cactus or tangled with a rattlesnake! I was sore the next day, but I didn’t break any bones.
I know some do not believe in satan but can we all concede to negative forces at play? I mean, just look at the state of the world right now! Anyway, we can each look at what isn’t working, what isn’t right, what broke, what hurts, OR we can see the good, the light, and the love. I definitely got a sense of the forces trying to hold me back, but it just made me more determined to prevail…more focused on the power within me. Don’t ever forget who you are and the positive power that is available to us all.
PS Kuma and I actually shaved 10 minutes off our normal time for this rocky loop, despite my fall. It’s the little victories that remind us to finish the race strong.
Do you tend to interrupt others? If you do, you aren’t alone and probably find yourself in the 45 percent of the population who are outgoing. We typically don’t mean to step all over others, but our high energy, fast-moving brains jump ahead of our manners. We can ask a question but not allow you enough time to actually answer it. To us, a nanosecond feels like an eternity! We may also think we know what you going to say and try to fill in the blank. On behalf of all outgoing, gregarious folks, I apology.
If two extremely social people have a conversation, they may talk all over one another without getting upset, but did they have a meaningful exchange? Besides being rude, interruptions can shut down productive interchanges and hurt feelings, destroying teams. No matter who you are, the bad habit of interrupting is something to watch.
Here are some tips:
- Slow down – Not all conversations have to be treated like Nascar!
- Ask questions and then stuff a straw, bottle of water, or something in your mouth to keep it occupied as you await the answer.
- Focus on the purpose of the conversation – Are you building rapport? Gathering information?
- Listen intently – not to craft your reply but to understand and comprehend what the other person just said.
- Redirect – Should you interrupt due to your enthusiasm or excitement, finish what you are saying then redirect the conversation back to the other person by saying something like, “I’m sorry, you were saying…” and then let them talk!
For those who are more reserved, if you wait for the perfect moment to interject with a high-energy person, you may never get your chance. Think of it like merging onto the freeway at rush hour. Look for the tiny opening and go for it!
Got a team? Then you have communication challenges because when there is more than one person, there is potential pitfalls and conflicts. An excellent tool is a comprehensive assessment that uncovers behavioral styles, discovers motivators and driving forces, and looks at emotional intelligence. Combine that with my over 20 years of experience with debriefs, and you will see bridges built and walls torn down in your organization.