LucieB

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Well, I've been following the sleep discussions with great interest. I've watched evening liquids, turned off devices, hit the lights off early, no alcohol, no caffeine, dark cool room...still disrupted sleep. Next up is a new mattress. I have a pillowtop and think it's not right for me. Slightly aching back in the morning, often feeling too hot (not hot flashes). New matress to be delivered next week. Hoping it's part of my puzzle!

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Last night, I tried a podcast, "sleep with me" and it was amazing. Kind of mysterious, but amazing. It's billed as silly bedtime stories, but there is something about the way this guy talks, a sort of stumbling disjointed monologue, with many unfinished thoughts and a magical thinking slant, that sent me straight to dreamland. The last thing I remember thinking was - this is really weird - and then I woke up and it was morning. I had taken my headphones off, but don't remember doing so. This is a free podcast. I hope somebody else tries it and posts their reaction.

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I've given some thought to my goals for April and STRESS. I'm going to tackle 2 areas that are giving me most of my worry (aka stress).  

 

First, I'm still struggling with too much sugar back in my diet and I am yo-yoing with good/bad days too often.  This is pissing me off and I'm really beating myself up about it ... so Whole30 time again.  I'll start April 11 as that works best with my calendar.  My knee is acting up and I know it's the sugar.

 

Second, I need to change jobs in the coming year.  There is nothing I dislike more than interviewing, etc.  I love, love my job, but need to find something closer to home (long story, won't bore you with the details).  Best way to get me on that road is to re-listen to a seminar program (Tony Robbins - done it many times).  Motivates me to do what I need to do.  And that relieves my stress!  

 

I'll continue my yoga too.  Trying a new class on Thursday that combines yoga with HIIT.   I enjoyed sampling a bunch of classes and really like the yoga "community."  I've belonged to gyms over the years and never met one person!  Every yoga class I've taken people say hello, introduce themselves, give a helping hand ... very different experience.

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I think I've tried that Sleep With Me podcast-- super weird and it didn't help me. Maybe a little too weird? Like I got mad at it while listening!

 

Last night was the first night in weeks that I didn't wake up at all! But it's an outlier and not a trend. So I'm going to extend my Sleep30 into a Sleep45 or Sleep60 :)

 

As for stress, lots of thought on this. Aside from unexpected acute stresses, my biggest chronic stress comes from negative thinking on my part. I tend to do a perseverate, ruminate, projection, thought cycling type of process on negative things. I'll run a real or imagined scenario in my head over and over, imagining outcomes, conversations, how I'll respond, etc. These are scenarios from the past, present, or haven't yet happened. And most often involve aspects or habits I don't like in other people. Example: a cousin makes offensive or thoughtless comments and I'll play the scene in my head over and over and over, thinking of smart rebukes and comebacks. 

 

This can be so distracting that it can ruin a run, a meal, a meditation. My anxiety builds, negative emotions take over and spill into what I'm doing. 

 

I've heard that the things that bother us the most about other people is the fact that we see that same flaw in ourselves. Following my example, I tend to say thoughtless things that have offended people. And as you might guess, I'll ruminate on what I said, what I should have said different, etc. Maybe in part I'm blaming other people or projecting my flaws on them? 

 

So my goal is to quit stressing myself with these negative emotions. I'd like to be able to recognize what's happening in my head before it gains a foothold and put a stop to it. It's OK to think about situations and reflect, but not to get so wrapped up in something I did last year, or something that has never happened!

 

This is my personal stress goal. Kinda different, but something I need. Maybe I'll sleep better with this- ha!

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Lucie last night was also the first night for me in a long LONG time that I've slept without wakening at all which was awesome. It helps of course that I'm on vacation, but I'm hoping it's a good sign, and if not, I know at least that this trip is setting me up perfectly for starting April well rested & stress free.

I can totally empathise with your goal - I do the same myself, recognise it in others, and often think about how I could be more tactful, and less of a straight-shooter as I know that people are often offended by my attitude. I've always justified it by saying 'what you see is what you get', but I know that in some cases some people just aren't receptive/ready for my brutal honesty  :ph34r: 

Work for me is also a stresser. It's just little old me doing the work of maybe a half dozen people, and often prioritizing the workload means that important tasks are left until just before the deadline. We hired two new people for one of our offices just before the Easter break so I'm hoping that ultimately that will help, although I know that in the short term it will most likely make matters worse as they 'settle in'. I'm also still working away in the background to make a career change that I believe will have a HUGE impact on my stress levels in that I'll be able to lessen my (very stressful) hours working for someone else, and then utilize those hours to work in area that I feel passionate about.

Like everything else though it's a work in progress.

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Well, as you can all surmise, "sleep month" was a pretty big non-success for me. There were reasons (I wasn't just staying up on Facebook every night!), but the reality is that all the reasons in the world don't give me the health (physical, mental, emotional) that would come with enough sleep. And since sleep and stress are my two biggest issues right now, combining them in April would do me a world of good! So, at the beginning of a new month, that's my plan.

 

1. Prioritize sleep, including making sure I have enough time for it (shooting for an average of 7.5-8 hours a night, with a minimum of 7), and getting back to the bedtime routine I had started before a freelance project and its accompanying laptop screens took over my evenings!

 

2. Focus on being present in the moment and not ruminating - Lucie, I could have written much of what you said! I'm in my head a LOT. Sometimes it serves me well, but often it just takes me out of the moment and keeps me from living fully. So: breathing. Focusing. Less thinking about what might happen and more observing what is happening.

 

3. Less procrastinating on things that are causing me stress. Case in point: now that that freelance project is done (for the moment), finally do my taxes and clean my house this weekend! Then, take care of some outstanding summer travel details that are hanging over my head, so I can relax and just anticipate the trips.

 

I was at a conference last month and one of the speakers said that for some people (me included), thinking about doing something takes as much energy as actually doing it. That was pretty eye-opening to me. When I ruminate on how I need to do my taxes or whatnot, I'm actually spending double (triple... quadruple...) the energy that I really need to. Of course, if I suddenly think about how I need to do my taxes while I'm at work, it's not like I can just go do them, but I can tell myself "look, there's no point in worrying about that now. Set a time on your calendar and deal with it then."

 

Happy spring, everyone (in the northern hemisphere, at least!), and may the force be with us all!

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Hi everyone! I bowed out for a bit, but I've been tracking my progress on my own. Just wanted to drop in for an update.

 

January Whole30 only lasted 24 days for me, then the wheels came off. I just didn't plan enough, not many excuses there. Lessons learned to apply to the next round, tentatively scheduled sometime May/June-ish.

 

For February, instead of working on reintro I focused on improving my habits of positive thinking and effective communication, which fit nicely into the "personal growth" theme. My goals were to practice positive thinking and be mindful of negative thoughts, write in my gratitude journal daily, practice effective communication instead of "blowing up" when I was sad/scared/frustrated, and "Act with Love" through all things. I did remarkably well with this, with only one major emotional meltdown (as opposed to 2-3 times a week as was the norm) since February 1 to date. I experienced a remarkable change in my overall emotional state and mindset, coming one step closer to discovering self-love for myself.

 

My sleep goals for March did as well as they possibly could under the circumstances. My goal was a minimum of 7 hours a night. While this is under the 9 hours a night my body naturally takes when I allow myself to sleep as long as I feel I need to, there's no way between kids and work and working out I can consistently get in 9 hours a night right now. So with this manageable goal I was able to get this 2 out of every 3 days, which is okay by me, especially when 1 out of every 3 days was over 8 hours (Jawbone UP band FTW when it comes to tracking sleep!). I know I'm sacrificing sleep to fit in my 6am Crossfit classes 2-3 times a week, but it's a choice I'm making because I love Crossfit and prefer to work out in the morning before Life distracts me with shiny things instead of in the evening when I'm mentally exhausted from the day and the demands of dinner, kids, and evening chores get in the way. Someday I might be able to fit everything in better, but right now I'm in a different "season of life".

 

Looking forward to this April with Stress Management. I'm usually pretty good about doing what I need to do to manage stress. There are a few things I could improve on that I will use this month for:

  1. Reduce/eliminate caffeine. I loooooove coffee. We roast our own beans, and there's nothing I love more than to wake up to a good cup of black coffee. But while one cup is a ritual and a treat, I find that I sometimes put down 4-5 cups throughout the day, not to mention my ugly diet soda habit is starting to sneak back in. I usually can fall asleep pretty easily at night, but I can tell that I hit a point around that third cup where I'm not getting more awake and alert, I'm just feeling more anxious and stressed out. I'm going to back down to just one cup a day (8oz, not a Starbucks vente!) and consider dropping it all together for a Caffeine Holiday. Maybe I'll Caffeine Holiday when I'm ready to do another Whole30. But right now I've got quite a bit on my plate and eliminating coffee completely sounds like more stress than cutting back. But if I struggle cutting back, I will reconsider (I'm an abstainer not a moderator).
  2. Gratitude journal every evening. I kept up on my journal in February, but in March with the "go to sleep" campaign this fell by the wayside for the most part. I find that focusing on the good parts of the day does my brain wonders when it comes to that part of falling asleep where your mind won't turn off. Instead of obsessing over the problems, gratitude journaling before bed puts me in a gracious, loving mindset that allows me to fall asleep with happy thoughts, and I generally wake up in a more positive mood in the morning, which helps with the stress of getting everyone ready and out the door in the morning rush.
  3. Meditate after coming home from work and/or before dinner. This is a new habit I've started to pick up that helps my transition from Job #1 (employment) to Job #2 (Mom) in the evenings. Right when I get home from work, after I say hi to everybody I immediately head to my bedroom for 10 minutes of meditation with the Headspace app. No matter what uncooked state dinner is in or which child is pitching a tantrum, I can put the pause on for 10 minutes to meditate and clear my mind from the work stress and the pressures of the evening routine ahead. 

I still have a significant amount of emotional stress in my life. There's not much I can do about it, other than taking care of myself and my own emotional health the best I can. I find the mantra, "there is only love" really helps me in recognizing that no matter what, I am loved and I can be love and the whole world is love. 

 

And now I'm off to catch up on the 20 or so pages of posts I've missed in the past weeks! ;)

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Hi missmunchie 

Tried the lemon & salt - didn't taste a noticeable difference - I put a pinch in - how much did you use ?

z

 

Sorry for the late reply, Zoe ... I'm still getting caught up! 

 

I squeeze the juice of 1/2 a lemon in a 20oz water bottle and do 1-2 pinches of salt. I've played around with the salt content a bit to find the right amount. I've done both kosher salt and the pink himalayan kind with similar results.

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I've heard that the things that bother us the most about other people is the fact that we see that same flaw in ourselves. Following my example, I tend to say thoughtless things that have offended people. And as you might guess, I'll ruminate on what I said, what I should have said different, etc. Maybe in part I'm blaming other people or projecting my flaws on them? 

 

I've heard this too, that what we dislike or what annoys us about others more often than not is a flaw we dislike about ourselves. I've found this to be true. Occasionally I'll gossip or complain about someone's personality trait or behavior that annoys me. Then later upon introspection I'll realize that I do the same thing myself, maybe in a different way or circumstance. My husband will sometimes catch this for me, and we joke, "just throw a mirror up on me already!"

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  1. Reduce/eliminate caffeine. I loooooove coffee. We roast our own beans, and there's nothing I love more than to wake up to a good cup of black coffee. But while one cup is a ritual and a treat, I find that I sometimes put down 4-5 cups throughout the day, not to mention my ugly diet soda habit is starting to sneak back in. I usually can fall asleep pretty easily at night, but I can tell that I hit a point around that third cup where I'm not getting more awake and alert, I'm just feeling more anxious and stressed out. I'm going to back down to just one cup a day (8oz, not a Starbucks vente!) and consider dropping it all together for a Caffeine Holiday. Maybe I'll Caffeine Holiday when I'm ready to do another Whole30. But right now I've got quite a bit on my plate and eliminating coffee completely sounds like more stress than cutting back. But if I struggle cutting back, I will reconsider (I'm an abstainer not a moderator).

 

I'm drinking only water for the month of April. I've reduced coffee in the past, but haven't ever cut it out completely.  Figure it will be good for sleep and the rest for my adrenals will be good for stress management.

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April as our stress focus is definitely perfect for me. I so agree with what has been brought up about the running conversation in our mind and what irritates us about others. I am my own worst enemy! On top of all that, this is going to be a stressful month in that I left my job and moving to help out my 87 y/o aunt. I have so much STUFF to get rid of!

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Loving this month-by-month journey and sharing it with all of you! Sleep month definitely had it's ups and downs and I learned a lot. Sugar definitely impacts my sleep...and my resting heart rate. I have far more control of my sleep patterns than I had imagined. It's given me confidence to manage stress in a similar fashion. Sometimes increasing my awareness of what my role is, has helped. Like with sleep...I found a routine that worked before bed. Today I had numerous tasks and employers wanting my services all at once (I freelance & telecommute). I had a moment of panic (the old thought process "how am I going to get all this done")but realized I only needed to do one thing at a time. Tackled & completed the first thing (a big project building a website), then went outside for a walk. It was easy to finish that one project when I knew that when I finished I was going for a walk and not onto the next thing. Tomorrow is another day...and more will get done...but for the moment, think I'll go look and see if I can see the Northern Lights from my house tonight. Wishing you all a stress free weekend!

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I'm drinking only water for the month of April. I've reduced coffee in the past, but haven't ever cut it out completely.  Figure it will be good for sleep and the rest for my adrenals will be good for stress management.

Let us know how that works for you. . One of my goals for my April Whole30 is to alternate green tea and coffee. My coffee habit is only about 6 months old and was put in play to get out the VERY entrenched Coke habit. Today was my green tea day, and boy was I tired this afternoon. I don't know if it was the lack of the coffee, or the rather long workout, but I took a heck of a nap when I got home.

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Let us know how that works for you. . One of my goals for my April Whole30 is to alternate green tea and coffee. My coffee habit is only about 6 months old and was put in play to get out the VERY entrenched Coke habit. Today was my green tea day, and boy was I tired this afternoon. I don't know if it was the lack of the coffee, or the rather long workout, but I took a heck of a nap when I got home.

Unless you're buying decaffeinated green tea you'll still be getting some amount of caffeine along with the combined stimulant effects of theobromine and theophylline (plus L-theanine which calms the nervous system and simultaneously enhances our concentration abilities) so there may well have been some psychological tiredness at play...?

 

 

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My Sleep study continues, and the past few nights have been great. And I realized this morning one thing I'm doing differently -- I'm now up to 2 tsp of Natural Calm each night, was doing 1-1.5 tsp. So now I'm wondering if that is making a difference. My experiment continues.

 

The idea that we expend so much energy in just thinking about doing something resonates with me too. I'm noticing little to-do's that accumulate through the week and every time I see them it's a slight annoyance. Anyone familiar with Gretchen Rubin's One Minute Rule will understand how I'm dealing with those -- anything that can be done in one minute, Do It! And it feels good to cross if off the list, instead of just think about doing it.

 

Still trying to find my way to deal with the negative thoughts. I'm recognizing them earlier, working to nip them in the bud before they flower!

 

Lucie

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Given that our focus this month is stress management, I thought I'd share something that came up recently in a first aid class I took.  The instructor is a retired firefighter, and mentioned that her department used "tapping" or "Emotional Freedom Technique" (EFT) as a way to reduce stress both in post-incident debrief and in pre-incident visualization. They also used it successfully on people on-site during traumatic events.  I kinda-sorta heard about it in the past, and it seemed kinda "woo woo" for my tastes.

It does still seem a little woo woo, with the terminology like meridians, accupressure points, etc., but having the endorsement from the firefighter lent it a bit more credibility ...

So, I figure it's one of those things that might help, so it's worth giving people the option to look in to. "Another tool in the toolbox" as the saying goes.

The first aid instructor recommended this site http://www.thetappingsolution.com/#what-is-eft-tappingso check it out.

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Given that our fI'llus this month is stress management, I thought I'd share something that came up recently in a first aid class I took.  The instructor is a retired firefighter, and mentioned that her department used "tapping" or "Emotional Freedom Technique" (EFT) as a way to reduce stress both in post-incident debrief and in pre-incident visualization. They also used it successfully on people on-site during traumatic events.  I kinda-sorta heard about it in the past, and it seemed kinda "woo woo" for my tastes.

It does still seem a little woo woo, with the terminology like meridians, accupressure points, etc., but having the endorsement from the firefighter lent it a bit more credibility ...

So, I figure it's one of those things that might help, so it's worth giving people the option to look in to. "Another tool in the toolbox" as the saying goes.

The first aid instructor recommended this site http://www.thetappingsolution.com/#what-is-eft-tappingso check it out.

Interesting, I have played around with it a little. Think I'll look deeper into it. Meridians and acupressure points are terminology I am familiar with due to my training in Bowen technique. I heard a Cardiologist speak at a Respiratory Therapy conference in Cleveland Ohio several years ago on Integrated medicine. He told usbofbhis personal experience of having hernia repair surgery without anesthesia, used hypnosis and energy work. So, woo woo doesn't seem so woo woo to me anymore. More and more, studies are showing these things work even though they don't understand how.

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Just watched the tapping videos - thanks Kirkor.  I tapped away while I watched ... have to say it feels really good  ;)

 

On our subject of stress ... thinking of it a bit differently today.  

 

I've been working hard on improving my strength, flexibility, etc with yoga and interval training.  All stressors on my body.  It's been a long 4 weeks - I've been sore, tired (even with extra rest days), extra sleepy - but starting to see the benefits.  My posture is improving. My golf swing is better and I have more swing stamina.  I'm holding my balance better in class.  I'm using breathing when I'm feeling emotional stress.  Etc ...

 

The push (stress) has been worth it.

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>The push (stress) has been worth it.

Everyone's homework: research "hormesis" and ask yourself how it applies to various areas of life

Ok, just read this on hormesis http://www.marksdailyapple.com/hormesis-how-certain-kinds-of-stress-can-actually-be-good-for-you/#axzz45UIGLXMZ   Very interesting. So the goal is not to delete all stress, but work with it and manage it into a productive tool.

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