Small Steps, Simple Solutions

Joy, Peace, Purpose Blog

Team "No Sleep"?

It has been said many times that “I can sleep when I die,” “team no sleep, “ or even “we ‘be up all night,” as simple phrases, but it’s also true that some of us take these words to heart and leave little time for rest. The American way is to work hard and produce results. All work and no play can cause not only exhaustion, but also many other health problems including gastrointestinal problems, anxiety, depression, and heart disease. In the busyness of life, it can be hard to find ways to incorporate rest more into your life. Research has found that some people even gain more weight when they are less rested because stress can cause stress eating and weight gain. More rest is not a hindrance to progress or production, it can, in fact, add more to your life.  Here are three ways to help you to get more rest.

  1. Use the “Do Not Disturb” feature on your phone and turn off the notifications on your phone after hours.

    The Do Not Disturb or DND feature on your phone is a great way to preserve your time at any point of your day, especially in the evenings. You can select for specific hours to be blocked off each night so that you will not hear calls or notifications from any apps you may have. You may option to only allow people on your favorites list to contact you during the hours that you select.This is a great way to make your rest time a priority instead of responding to notifications or calls that you may be able to respond to during working hours.

  2. Try going to bed earlier and monitor how you feel. Do you notice a difference?

    Consider going to bed the same time each night for two nights and make that time a little earlier than you currently go to bed. Monitor how you feel. Do you feel happier? Do you eat more or less? Are you irritable with other people? Do you feel more productive at work? Are you more available for your family and friends?

  3. Create a nightly ritual.

    Rituals are a good way to allow yourself to gradually relax. A great cup of tea and a good book are nice simple ways to wind down for the day. Journaling or watching your favorite TV show can also be good ways to wind down. Whatever you choose, consider putting down your phone while trying to wind down. Studies have shown that cell phone use just before going to bed can keep people from feeling very relaxed and can even lead to insomnia.

If you feel that you struggle with sleeping or resting in a chronic way, please contact a medical professional or a licensed therapist as you may have a more serious condition. These tips can be helpful for anyone, especially those who want to relax after a busy day. Please give it a try!  If you are looking for a counselor, please check out the link below.

By: Brandi Lewis, M.Ed, LPC

Brandi Lewis
Got Trust?

“When we are shamed as children for being who we really are, we begin to doubt ourselves. We internalize the belief that something is inherently wrong with us. And this leads to self-punishment, self-blame, and self-hatred. If you grew up in a household that rewarded you only for doing what they wanted you to do—and shamed for what you are naturally drawn to—you may have grown up with a lot of self-doubt. And not much self-trust.” from Dodging Energy Vampires by Christiane Northrup, MD.

A brave question to ask yourself is, do you trust yourself? It may even be a question that you may not have thought of, but take a minute to consider if you trust your own thoughts, your decisions, or your choice in friends or partners. Iyanla Vanzant once wrote, “do you trust yourself as much as you trust to sun to rise and set each day.” It’s possible that you may find that you don’t trust yourself as much as you think.

In Dodging Energy Vampires, Dr. Northrup explains that even though the shame we may feel from our peers is hurtful, the shame that we may feel from the people who are supposed to protect us—our families, can be damaging. She says that “all tribes wound their members with (common) wounds: shame, abandonment, and betrayal. Tribes…use these wounds to keep their members ‘in line.’ These wounds come from expectations of the way things ‘should be’” Your tribe may be your girls, your family, or your squad. These are the people you love and do life with each day. You may ask why then, would these people wound you? The answer can vary, but it’s arguable that as a whole, people have a need to want things to fit in line.

All of this boils down to one thing: your opinion of how you see and trust yourself. What lessons do you think that you learned about yourself as a child? What lessons do you think you learned about how be a man or a woman? How did your tribe respond when you were brave enough to do something that wasn’t the norm for your tribe? If you’ve ever found yourself doubting your own actions, consider that it may not have started with you. Take some time today to think about your belief and trust in yourself. It may be the key to a more fulfilling life.

Brandi Lewis
Alternative Methods of Healing
Photo By: Kristen Hume

Photo By: Kristen Hume

By: Brandi Lewis, M.Ed, LPC

There are many things that you can do to heal along with going to therapy. Some of these methods are free and easy to do. Some of the other methods can be done with the help of a practitioner. Here are just a few methods that can help:

Guided Meditation: Guided Meditation is when there is a narrator helping you to quiet your mind and help you to make a specific change in your life. Meditation helps to calm your body and mind. Studies show that the mind can’t often separate a real event from an imagined event. When you experience guided meditation it is like experiencing a real event and as a result it can cause your body to calm itself. (Imagine yourself on a sunny island experiencing the sound of the waves and feeling the sun!) There are a lot of free apps that help with guided meditation, including “Keep Yoga,” a free app that uses guided meditation, yoga, and wellness articles to help people each day.

Acupuncture: Acupuncture is a form of traditional Chinese medicine where a practitioner uses very thin, small needles in the skin to balance the energy in a person’s body at different specific points. This helps to boost overall well being and has been used to help physical conditions including headaches, blood pressure, fertility as well as mental and emotional conditions such as anxiety and depression. Don’t worry about pain; the needles are as thin as a strand of hair!

Chakra Balancing: Our universe revolves around energy and so do our bodies. Energy flows in a constant stream throughout the body at key points. These points are called chakras. An overactive or underactive chakra can result in different issues including: depression, weight problems, arthritis, impotence, anger, thyroid problems and much more.

Reiki: Reiki is a traditional form of Japanese healing that reduces stress and promotes healing and relaxation. Reiki means “spiritually guided life force energy.” It is not related to a particular religion, it is the guided movement of energy throughout a person’s body by a practitioner. Reiki has been used to treat the following conditions: anxiety, depression, infertility, heart disease, and more.

Essential Oils: Essential Oils are used in aromatherapy and can be used to aid with many concerns including: anxiety, depression, relaxation, headache, nausea, immunity, stress, and digestion. Examples: Rose oil can be used to reduce anxiety and improve mood; Lavender can be used for stress relief.

Homeopathy: According to the National Center for Homeopathy, homeopathy is “ a safe, gentle, and natural system of healing that works with your body to relieve symptoms, restore itself, and improve your overall health. It is extremely safe to use, even with very small children and pets, has none of the side effects of many traditional medications, is very affordable, is made from natural substances, and is FDA regulated.” Homeopathic doctors can help treat illnesses and conditions like colds, ear infections, migraines, and sore throats, asthma, depression and arthritis.

Group Counseling, Support Groups, and Prayer Groups: Each of these groups provide support for people in different, but effective ways. These groups are often small groups of people that foster community and meditative practices. One thing that has been proven with groups is that it often helps people not to feel alone in a given situation.

Exercise: There are many benefits of exercise for mental health. Exercise can help improve sleep patterns, provide a boost of energy, promote self-esteem and resilience. Studies have shown that exercise can aid with PTSD, ADHD, stress, depression, and anxiety.

Journaling: You may have kept a journal and hid it when you were a teenager, but have you thought about keeping a journal as an adult? If you struggle with anxiety, depression, or have experienced trauma, journaling may be a good idea. Journaling has many benefits including: Managing and reducing stress and anxiety, catharsis, identifying negative patterns and thoughts, and helping people to identify triggers. You don’t have to give up your diary or journal just because you’ve grown up.

Brandi Lewis