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How Anxiety Is Ruining My Sleep

Jan 27, 2015 by

How Anxiety Is Ruining My Sleep

7 best sleeping habits for those with anxiety:    www.lovetheeveryday.comI have been having nightmares…. No one warns you that becoming an adult means you have an entirely new set of fears to begin to contemplate. For instance, gone are the days of dreaming of monsters under the bed. Instead, I spent an entire restless night caught up in a battle with my student loan company, who was threatening to repossess my dog as payment for late fees on my massive student loans. I woke up feeling like a grown elephant had been standing on my chest all night. I really thought that nightmares were for kids and that as a capable adult I would have made it past dreams that woke me up in terror. Aren’t we supposed to outgrow nightmares?

 

No one warns you that becoming an adult means you have an entirely new set of fears Click To Tweet

I’ve determined that on days when I am super tired I am more likely to have bad dreams and thus wake up from said bad dream. This obviously compounds the problem because then I become more and more sleep deprived and more and more likely to continue to have bad dreams.

In researching anxiety and speaking to my doctor about my chronic anxiety attacks I have learned that, unfortunately, both anxiety and depression can also contribute to having occasional or even chronic nightmares.

I know what you’re thinking. So what? Just another symptom of anxiety. What else is new? I agree, it seems like every time I turn around I’m discovering that something else has been impacted by my anxiety disorder. It is the most wild discovery.

Finally understanding that the things that have been bothering me for years, the ways in which I interact with people, my moods, my constant misunderstandings can all be explained by anxiety. It’s almost relieving to know this. To understand that I am not a crazy person, that there is a reason behind all of this, that the way I have been feeling is completely normal…that has been life changing

But the dreams…really they suck.


 

I’m pretty sure that it’s my brain messing with me. On purpose. Normal people dream. I get that. Normal people. The problem is: I have been trying really hard to keep the past in the past. I have moved on to places and people who bring me joy. But when I sleep, all that joy gets sapped out of me and I find my head traveling to all kinds of doom and gloom from the past. Things that should have come back to bite me years ago (and haven’t) are showing up in my dreams. Things that did come back to bite me (and hard) and showing up in my dreams and biting again.

I could really go for a nice, long nap and a dream about unicorns and daisies. Click To Tweet

 

So, I’ve been experimenting with various suggestions on how to get a good night’s rest. Some things work, some things don’t. However, I still have some things I’m willing to try, because let me tell you, one more dream about the zombie version of an ex boyfriend coming at me in my sleep and trying to eat my unborn children is going to put me right over the edge.


 

 

7 Ways I’m Kicking Anxiety Out of My Dreams:

  1. Keep a sleep and dream journal

I’ve been told to start a journal about my sleeping. I am already worried that jotting down all this stuff about sleeping is going to make my sleeping seem like more of an issue and thus be counter productive, but I’m willing to give it a go. I’m going to start writing down everything I do before bed so I can start to see if a pattern develops over when I have good, restful sleep and when I have terrible, nightmares. If there is a correlation between Oreos and milk before bed and dreaming about my family being abducted by aliens I’m going to learn how to lay off the double stuff. I’m also going to note how much exercise I got, what time I went to sleep and how often I woke up in the night.

 

  1. Wake up at the same time every day.

I’m going to make every effort to start doing this. Everything I have read about sleeping disorders and their relationship to anxiety is that getting into the habit of getting up at the same time every day will help you to get more restful sleep. So, even on weekends I’m going to start setting my alarm, opening all the blinds and letting in the sunshine. I’m going to spend more time outside in the daylight and be conscious about letting light into my workspaces during the day too. I need to be awake when I’m awake.

 

  1. I MUST stop using my phone and kindle before bed.

I’ve read it over and over and over that you shouldn’t use back-lit devices before bed time. The light somehow messes with your internal clock and makes it difficult to go to sleep. On that note, I’m going to be more careful with light at night-time anyway. Making the room darker for sleep and slowly turning down the lights as it gets closer to bedtime just seems like a brilliant idea.

 

  1. Reserve your bed for sleep and sex. (More sex than sleep.)

This seems like a no brainer, but I so often find myself reading, talking on the phone, doing work, and worrying in my bed. If I can make myself use my bed only for romantic reasons or snoozing I think I will be less likely to start to worry as I tuck myself in at night. If I stop making my grocery list while I lay on my bed in the afternoon I think I will be less likely to start making to-do lists in my head when I’m trying to sleep at night.

 

  1. Start to relax before I try to sleep.

I think the bad dreams come from lots of pent-up worries. I’m going to start a routine at night to relax before I try to sleep. My ideas involve making a cup of nighttime tea, some calming yoga stretches and deep breathing exercises before I climb in bed. I’ve also had people suggest making sure to settle a warm wash cloth over my face for a few moments before bed.

 

  1. I’m going to trick my brain into making relaxation the goal, not sleep.

I haven’t decided how this is going to work yet, but I know that rest helps me rejuvenate too, so if I tell myself I don’t have to sleep I just have to relax then maybe, ultimately I will also be able to fall asleep.

 

  1. Atmosphere

Keeping the temperature low in my room always helps me sleep and experts recommend a white noise machine to help with bad dreams because it doesn’t allow your brain to focus on anxious thoughts. I’m going to start incorporating both. Additionally, I’m looking into aroma therapy ideas and putting a flashlight next to my bed so I don’t have to turn lights on in the middle of the night.


 

 

I’m hopeful that because I’m being proactive about this, I will be able to kick this to the curb. I don’t know what has been inspiring the bad dreams and the crummy sleeping but I do know I’m ready for some rest.

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When life is out of your control…

Jan 26, 2015 by

When life is out of your control…

We had a long meeting last week with the head-boss-guy at work. He came down into our building to talk about staff retention.  ie. How to make sure we keep great team members and get rid of staff that’s not so great.  One of the major aspects of his new plan is to begin offering three-year contracts to staff members that are high performers, those who are exceeding standards, who have excellent attitudes and always go above and beyond. I like to think of myself as one of those people.

The contract would allow said amazing staff-person to sign on for a term of three years and thus also receive some job security, and a signing bonus, in exchange for the three year commitment. This all sounds like sunshine and roses until you toss in my anxiety induced panic that ensued after this meeting.

I have a fear of the unknown. I have a fear of the unplanned. I have a fear of not being in total control. So, one would assume that the idea of a contract securely holding my job In place would be just the ticket to offer me three years of calm. Unfortunately, more than all those things, I also have a fear of permanence, of making a bad decisions, and of missing out on an excellent opportunity. So therein lies my dilemma. Aside from all of that, not every staff member will be offered a contract. So if I do not get the offer of a contract does this mean that I am a less than stellar employee? Does it mean I’m not good enough to receive one, or that there simply wasn’t budget enough to offer a contract to every deserving individual? Am I going to lose my mind over this? Yes.

I cannot, at this point in my life, commit to being somewhere for three years anyway. I know this. I know that the possibility of staying in one place for that long is wishful thinking, and I secretly have been hoping for a more lucrative job opportunity to head my way anyhow, but the fact of the matter is, this meeting has sent me into a tailspin of self-doubt and fear, which is leading to a migraine. I am a total mess sometimes over things I know are out of my control and just plain silly to worry about.

The problem is that I know I am not in control and that I should be calming myself down, but the more I think about it, the more I become obsessed with the idea that I am not in control. It is a vicious cycle.

 

I try to remind myself that this is all in God’s hands. That God’s timing will decide when we move, where I work, and what plans I make. All of this I know, but that doesn’t help the feeling that I am overwhelmed.  I should be trying to find a distraction from this cyclic thought process, it’s one of the main ways of coping with the feelings of being overwhelmed, but the problem is that I can’t focus on any one thing long enough to allow myself to get distracted.

So I turn today to God’s word in hopes of finding solace there. Psalms 37:5 reminds me to trust in the Lord and relax in knowing that he will do what is best. I know that although I am not in control, he is. I just have to convince myself that that is ok.

Psalms 37:5  Commit your way to the LORD, Trust also in Him, and He will do it.

 

It is important for me to remind myself that I am a daughter of God. He loves me and wants what is best for me. Knowing that, and reminding myself of that brings me some peace.

I think chocolate cake will help too.

How to cope when feeling overwhelmed:   www.lovetheeverday.com

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Foods that Help Anxiety

Jan 23, 2015 by

Foods that Help Anxiety

So I’ve been doing a ton of reading lately on diets that can help to alter moods. Something I’ve been finding time and time again is that Omega-3 fatty acids can drastically improve your mood. It’s been suggested by doctors that consuming foods that are high in omega-3 can make you happier, lower stress levels, and aid in blood sugar regulation which will then in turn help eliminate those serious highs and lows.

Diets to aid Anxiety, www.lovetheeveryday.com
Hello?!?! Why didn’t I know this before?I’m always looking for help with anxiety symptoms!

Reading an article at LifeExtention Magazine prompted me to look into which foods I was already eating that were high in omega-3 and what foods I could add to my diet to help with this stress regulation because apparently Omega-3 Levels affect both mood as well as brain function and who doesn’t want to be smarter and happier?

Also, food. Who can say no to food?
So here’s what I’m adding to my diet, or increasing my intake of:
1. Seeds, flaxseed Total Omega-3 fatty acids: 8543mg
I already have this at the house I just don’t use it very often. I’m going to look up some recipes that call for flaxseed to see how I can be more purposeful in adding it into my weekly rotation. Right now I only add it to smoothies once in a while.
2. Seeds, chia seeds, dried Total Omega-3 fatty acids: 7164mg
I have walked by these in the grocery store so many times and though to myself, “Gee, Self, You really should buy those.” And I haven’t. I did however discover a really awesome overnight oatmeal recipe that I am dying to try out that has these in it. Soooo….
3. Radish seeds, sprouted, raw Total Omega-3 fatty acids: 3358mg
I have no idea where to get these or that to do with them, but I’m adding this to my to-figure-out list.

 

4. Fish, salmon, Atlantic, wild, raw Total Omega-3 fatty acids: 2843mg
I do not love salmon. But I’ve been trying numerous recipes lately to try to spice up my salmon repertoire lately. I’ll let you know when I find a winner.
5. Basil, fresh Total Omega-3 fatty acids: 2747mg
This is brilliant because I love pesto. And also any excuse to eat pasta. (Oregano and Cloves also have pretty high levels of Omega-3)

 

There are a whole bunch more foods listed here with pretty high omega-3 oil ratings. Also, obviously there are supplements that you can buy at the drug store, but I’d rather eat. I love to eat.

Anyone have a really awesome salmon topped with radish seeds recipe?

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The Before Me and The New Me

Jan 23, 2015 by

The Before Me and The New Me
Dealing with Anxiety, before and after    www.lovetheeveryday.com
As I age, mature rather, I think it’s gotten better. My anxiety. Or at least now that it has a name I feel a little more in control of it.

When I was younger, not so much younger even but the “before” me, yes, let’s call her that: “The Before Me”…..
When I was The Before Me I worried what people thought of me.
I worried that I would never be loved, really loved by a man. I worried that I wasn’t good enough, smart enough, ambitious enough. I was stuck in a rut and the saddest part of it is I thought I wanted to be in that rut. I was convincing myself a little bit at a time, that I deserved to live in the shadow of someone else’s life. I was killing my spirit, day in and day out, in the mundane way of people who don’t have the courage to change their situation. The Before Me was content to muddle through, not really having the things in life she desired, but rather just accepting things at face value…. and that compounded the panic.

The eternal suffocation The Before Me felt all the time was piling up on itself because I worried what people would think of me if I changed. The Before Me was pretty much crap. She really was. In addition to being crap, The Before Me  also treated people like crap, forgot to pray, didn’t have a plan, and felt inferior to everyone who seemed to have their lives going smoothly. The Before Me would get all angsty and claustrophobic and try to outrun problems, only to have them come right back in and settle down around her again. The Before Me was pretty darn awful.
The Before Me was waiting for someone else to make her happy.
Waiting and waiting and waiting…. and the truth of the matter is, I believe that someone else was waiting for me to make them happy too. I’m sorry for that, but with age comes wisdom and the knowledge that the only person who can make you truly happy is yourself.
It’s taken me much longer than I would like to admit, but I am better now. I tend to gravitate toward people who love me, who choose me, who make me feel good about myself. I sparkle more. I have learned how to say no, but also yes. Saying yes feels good. I needed someone to choose me even though I didn’t feel worthy of being chosen. I’m still overcome with doubt sometimes. My heart still races and the anxiety kicks my butt once in a while. I have misgivings, socially awkward moments, and fear…. but The Before Me has taken a backseat to The New Me.

The New Me is loved and in control and so, incredibly, happy.
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Baking makes my heart happy

Jan 22, 2015 by

Baking makes my heart happy

Sometimes the easiest way for me to calm down, unwind, decompress really comes from eating an entire pint of Ben & Jerry’s.

But, also.: baking. I love the smells that come from an oven full of some delicious treat!  And these Maple GLAZED Gingerbread Scones look so yummy I can’t even take it.

Scones www.lovetheeveryday.com

Yum.

You can check out the baking instructions over at Pinch of Yum, if you can drag yourself away from Lindsay’s blog long enough to start baking I commend you. I’m still drooling over SO. MANY. MORE. YUMMY. THINGS!

Maybe I’ll get to baking these later. I’ll let you know how it goes.

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