January 3, 2016

The Best Things I Did For Myself in 2015

Before looking forward and making my New Years Resolutions for 2016, I wanted to take a peak back into 2015 and share some of the better changes that I made in the last year. I don’t think these were technically “New Years 2015 Resolutions” – but they were promises that I made to myself as 2015 went along.

1. Getting more sleep – This was a hard one because I am more of a night person, and not a morning person at all.
So to remind myself to go to sleep earlier, I did what I do in the morning – I set an alarm to go to bed. Just like I set an alarm to wake up.

So at 9:30 pm, by cell phone starts ringing. I am usually in the middle of something – doing dishes, watching a tv show, creating my artwork projects, there lots of stuff to do. But that 9:30 pm alarm tells me to “slow down”. Its time to make sure I am in my pajamas with my teeth brushed. Its time for the electronic devices to get turned off. Its time to mellow out and relax. I can sit and watch a little more tv, but the lights need to be dimmed.

Sometimes I do stay up a while longer, but its at a very slow relaxed pace. Usually sipping decaf tea or wine curled up on the sofa with a tv show on low. If I am not sleeping, I am resting.

I don’t set an alarm on Friday or Saturday night because I don’t have to get up early the next day. But I am noticing that my bedtime on Friday or Saturday is a bit earlier than normal just naturally, due to my schedule on other days of the week.

2. Waking Up Earlier – See above. Setting an alarm at 9:30 pm to tell myself to go to bed, has given me a ton more energy. I am not up earlier all the time. But there have been many days that I just naturally wake up a half hour before the morning alarm clock goes off. And I feel well rested.

3. Getting Ready for the Week – this is an organization skill that I picked up from a friend. The friend told me that they couldn’t go out on a Sunday night because they spend that time “Getting ready for the week”. With a hectic job schedule, social life, church, hobbies and other things going on, it made sense.

On Sunday after church, I usually stop off at the grocery store so I have everything that I need for the week. On Sunday evenings I make a point to cook both my breakfast and my lunch for the next few days. They go into the fridge in glass containers ready to microwave at the office. Organic Oatmeal with different fruits, and hard boiled eggs for breakfast. Usually some type of low sodium chicken dish with roasted vegetables and rice or potatoes for lunch. I make sure I have my fruit, nuts, snacks, yogurt, whatever, in a bag and ready to go to the office in the morning.

I also pull out a couple of outfits from the closet, so they are hanging right where I can see them. The office is casual so I can easily mix tops with jeans or black slacks. But I also take into consideration any after work plans for the week so I have those clothes out where I can see them. This eliminates a morning of not knowing what to wear.

So these are the changes in that I made during the year 2015. They made me more rested. I am eating healthier. I have more energy. And have helped me eliminate some stress.

**Check out My Zazzle Stores

August 18, 2015

Pillows and Sleeping

If you are looking to rest, relax or meditate – don’t forget a comfortable Pillow.
The right pillow will make a big difference in how you sleep.
Also, if you have knee problems try sleeping with a pillow under your knees.
Or if your feet swell during the day, try propping up your feel with a pillow.

Zazzle has a big selection of pillows on their site. Most pillows can be customized, and you can choose from six different styles and shapes – square, round, lumbar, polyester or cotton.
Since I am a designer at Zazzle, I like to put my bright patterns and abstracts on their pillows.

Click here to check them out, Bright Colorful Pillows on Zazzle

Here are a few of the styles, but you can see all of them on the link above.

August 17, 2015

How to Get Better Sleep

I have been trying to get more restful and deep sleep. Its really been a challenge for me, but I am getting better.
Some nights, I sit up and the computer working on my artwork nodding off and trying to fight the need for sleep. Some nights I sit on the couch, watching tv, trying to catch a show and then I am out like a light and have missed what I wanted to watch. Then there are nights that I fall asleep perfectly fine, only to wake up at 4 am completely wide awake and ready for the day — the only problem is that I don’t need to start my day until 7:30, so that makes me minus 3 good hours that I had planned to sleep.

I have discovered that planning for a good nights sleep that night, starts in the afternoon.

1. Starting about 1 or 2 in the afternoon, stop the caffeine. I find that if I have a cup of coffee about 4 in the afternoon – I almost for sure will wake up at 3 am and toss and turn and not be able to go back to sleep.
If you need a pick-me-up in the middle of the afternoon try fruit and protein. A small apple with some cheese. Or some berries with some nuts. These will actually give your body some fuel, without the caffeine high.

2. Drink lots of water during the day – but about an hour before bedtime start to limit your liquids. Only sip at some water. You don’t want to have to get up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom. The same can be said for food – obviously no big meals right before bed. Some people find they benefit from something light, like
half a banana. Limit alcohol too, it will keep you from sleeping deeply.

3. Also, sometime during the day, try to get some light exercise. At least 30 minutes of light walking. Or you can break it up into segments of 10 or 15 minutes each. Getting exercise will help your body rest easier.

4. About 2 hours before bedtime, I have a pleasant melodic alarm that goes off on my phone. This tells me it is time to start to mellow out. If I am doing something like washing the dishes, or cleaning, or working on the computer – the 2 hour alarm is my signal to “wrap it up”, finish what I am doing, and start to get ready for bed and mellow out. Sometimes I look at it and go “What? Its time already?” – because the evening has just flown by. Having an alarm go off has been a good tool for getting me to bed on time.

5. “They” say – whoever they are – to stop all electronic devices an hour before bedtime. No bright lights shining into your eyeballs. This is the time to lower all lights, and read a regular old-fashioned paper book. No TV either.
I have a rough time on this one, because I like to read books on my Kindle, and watching TV helps to lull me off to dreamland. But if I feel like relaxing, this can be a good time to flip throught fashion magazines and catalogues. Something light, and not too strenuous. I wish I could take this time to read something spiritual but that seems to get my brain working again.

5. Treat yourself to some comfy pillows and blankets. Don’t forget your mattress wears out after a 10 years. Have some nice photos on your night stand, or posters by your bed. Anything that will make your sleeping area a pleasant place for you to be. What temperature do you sleep better in ? I always sleep better with the window cracked open a bit, having air flowing around the room seems to make it easier for me to sleep.

6. And … take a trip to the Dentist. The Dentist ? Yup. I grind my teeth when I sleep. The dentist told me I needed a Night Guard. Its just a little plastic piece that fits over the bottom teeth. You will be saving your teeth, and your jaw muscles wont be all sore and stiff the next morning. The actual night guard will take a few nights getting used to, but believe me your jaw will feel so much better when you wake up the next morning.

Well, I hope some of these ideas lead you to a good restful nights sleep.

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Books on Amazon

Eat Move Sleep: How Small Choices Lead to Big Changes

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No More Sleepless Nights

Health Journeys: A Meditation to Help You with Healthful Sleep

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More Sleep Items

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