Many of us are stressed about the current social and political climates. Last year is in the books, and it’s a new era. It’s also the time of year when resolve diminishes.
After a flurry of activity, our stress levels rise and our energy diminishes. As a result, sleep deprivation contributes to increased anxiety. Racing thoughts, endless worries and tossing and turning are symptomatic of insomnia. Other examples include:
- Difficulty falling asleep at night
- Waking up during the night
- Waking up too early
- Not feeling well-rested after a night’s sleep
- Daytime fatigue
- Irritability, depression or anxiety
- Difficulty paying attention/focusing on tasks
- Increased errors or accidents
- Chronic worries about sleep
Here are three powerful health and wellness tips that will help you get on the right side of peaceful sleep, regardless of what’s happening around you.
1. Make sleep a priority. A tall order considering our society’s love affair with all things work, work, work. There’s nothing wrong with hustle, but it’s impossible to wake up alert and ready to conquer the world if you’re running on fumes.
2. Create a nighttime ritual to habituate your mind and body to unwind and relax. Go to bed and wake up at roughly the same time every day, ensure that your bedroom is cool and dark, and keep your mobile devices in another room.
3. Combat racing thoughts and chronic worries by managing stress, and utilizing distraction and relaxation techniques. Deep-breathing is a wonderful start to slow the mind and body. One of my favorite exercises is the 4-4-4 (mostly because it’s easy to remember!), and many variations exist so choose the one that works best for you. Find a comfortable position, either seated or laying down.
- Inhale deeply for four seconds
- Hold your breath for four seconds
- Exhale slowly, for four seconds
- Repeat several times
—Distract your racing thoughts by writing them down on a piece of paper. Your brain may be extra busy trying to remember many things, and making a note lets your mind know it’s not going to forget.
—Progressive muscle relaxation is a mind-body relaxation technique for learning to monitor and control the state of muscular tension. This helps you become familiar with your body and the places where you hold stress and tension. With practice you will cultivate an awareness about the differences between tension and relaxation in your body. Over time you will become better prepared to recognize physical tension and the mental or emotional stress that accompanies it. Click the arrows below to start the progressive muscle relaxation + other resources below.
Progressive Muscle Relaxation (Mp3)
Simple Breathing Meditation (Mp3)
Peaceful Sleep Meditation (Mp3)
Mental health is everything in life. And sleep is essential for mental health. Making relaxation practices part of your daily routine goes a long way toward dealing with difficult conversations around changes in world leaders, family issues, and the hustle and bustle of every day life. Most importantly, you are creating health and wellness habits to ward off stress and prepare yourself for a good night’s rest.
Please share this resource with a sleep-deprived friend, or five.
Thanks for being here.
Yours in sweet dreams,