We all have negative messages swirling around in our head: “It wasn’t good enough”, “I need to lose weight”, “I’m never getting it done”, or “I should have done it differently”. Our past experiences shape the way we view the world. This oftentimes mean that we see ourselves through a distorted lens. Changing this view takes a lot of work, but it’s possible. The process is called “cognitive restructuring”. Restructuring your thoughts is not as daunting as it sounds. Here are some simple steps that you can try to begin accepting yourself.
Here’s an example:
Everyone has moments in which they don’t feel good about themself. This is normal. You are not alone with this. Practicing positive self-talk and listing the facts will absolutely help.
Back to school signals the informal beginning of Fall. Fall is full of homework, holidays, school festivals, and increased stress which also translates to less money! It's not just a big transition for kids, but for moms, too. Women continue to manage the biggest share of responsibility when it comes to household management. This is called "emotional labor" or "mental load". So much of the work that I do is helping women manage the mental load and develop a better sense of self. Setting expectations and shifting your focus are the key to a smooth transition and a reduction in stress.
The internet is flowing around with printables of cute lunch notes and tips for arranging your child's lunch to look like a work of art. This just adds pressure to today's parents to make every moment in their child's life magical. This pressure is not only unrealistic; it's unnecessary. If you do not want to utilize the school lunch provided by your children's school on a daily basis; maybe just one or two days a week or when you have a busy week. If you are sending lunch everyday, your child will be fine if he or she does not have a professional looking bento box for lunch. Better yet, encourage your child to make his or her own lunch. Kids as young as 6 can make their own lunch.
Another item to take off your plate is organization. Encourage your children to unpack their backpacks each day, which includes cleaning our their lunch box. Not only does this help you, it supports an independent child. Children develop pride from accomplishing tasks. You are helping your child gain independent living skills and building self-esteem.
In my child's school district, the school provide everything a child needs in the classroom and school supplies are just suggestions. I'm not saying that you shouldn't go back to school shopping. I just saying that there is no need to search the internet for an orange plastic folder or run to 6 stores looking for 24 sharpened Ticonderoga #2 pencils.
The most practical advice I can give for preparing your household for school is to get everyone's bedtime routine consistent before school. Getting to bed the same time everyday and waking up the same time everyday is the best preparation your child can have for a great start at school.
Welcome to Part 3 of Improving Sleep Quality. Today we will focus on 8 tips to incorporate into your daily routine that have been proven to improve sleep quality. The past 2 posts focused on the importance of sleep, how to develop a sleep routine and practical strategies to reduce stress.
8 Tips To Improve Sleep
Note: There could be an underlying health condition impacting your sleep. It’s important to rule out a health condition with your healthcare provider.
Welcome to Part 2 of a three part journey to improve your sleep quality and begin a healthier life.
Last week we addressed the importance of sleep and how to develop a sleep routine. Today, we will explore strategies to reduce stress.
Let’s explore stress levels on a scale of 1-10. If levels exceed 7, they are probably negatively impacting sleep. Feeling stress happens when you underestimate your ability to accomplish your workload. Instead of focusing on skills to manage stress, I present to you four practical tips to reduce your workload.
Four Tips to Reduce your workload:
1 - Grocery delivery services have popped up everywhere over the last decade. Creating a weekly grocery list and ordering groceries for delivery reduces the stress of finding time to go to the store and takes away the task of deciding if you’ll brave taking your kids in public.
2 - Sometimes parents have to go to 4 or more stores to find clothes for a picky child. The thought of spending a day off at clothing stores can be overwhelming. A new contender for busy parents is Prime Wardrobe through Amazon. It is a benefit through Prime, so you have to be subscribed with Prime to join. You pick three or more items (clothing, shoes, accessories) and are able to try them on at home. You have 7 days to decide what to keep. Mail back what you don’t want and only pay for what you keep.
3 - The thought of having a perfectly clean house can also induce unneeded stress. What about, chipping away at household chores on a daily basis for approximately 10 minutes. I highly recommend strategies from Clean Mama. She has a bazillion free downloads for breaking up cleaning in simple, manageable steps. This helps with reducing feelings for of being overwhelmed. Instead of thinking “I have to clean the whole house today” you can focus on just vacuuming or cleaning bathrooms. Focusing on one task per day reduces stress and helps keep your focus.
4 - Daily meal planning and preparation can also bring on stress. Simplifying the process can reduce stress. A crockpot or electric pressure cooker can make dinner easier. Free recipes are everywhere. Prepping a one pot meal in the morning and having it cook all day means that dinner will be ready with no extra work when everyone gathers around the kitchen foraging for food. Meal prep delivery services are another option. They deliver all the ingredients you need to prepare a meal in about 30 minutes. Here are just a few: Being able to take household tasks off our plate helps reduce stress. Hopefully these tips inspire you to explore ways that you can carve out more time for yourself and less time on household tasks. Next week we will complete this series with strategies to manage stress.
Is your mind swirling with “to do” lists? Do you struggle with falling asleep or staying asleep? Lack of sleep is detrimental to both your physical and mental health. This is Part 1 of a three part journey to improve your sleep quality and begin a healthier life.
Sleep allows our body to repair itself and gives our brain an opportunity to process the day’s information. Poor sleep quality or sleep deprivation is linked to mental health issues such as anxiety and depression. Poor sleep can also cause physical problems. Your sleep hygiene, or sleep routine can make the difference between a good night’s sleep and a poor night’s sleep.
Begin your bedtime routine one hour before lights out. If you are able to keep your routine the same every day, you will signal your body that it is time to go to sleep. Your routine should include calming activities and quiet lighting. Quiet lighting does not include your device. The light from personal devices, particularly the blue light, is extremely damaging to your sleep.
Blue light from our devices is clinically proven to impact your body’s production of the hormone, melatonin. Melatonin reduces alertness and invites sleep. Our bodies’ sleep cycle is impacted by dark and light. Light signals awake and dark signals sleep. When we use our phone, tablet or computer, the blue light signals our bodies to be alert and reduces our production of melatonin. If you are not getting a good night’s sleep, I highly recommend beginning by putting away all devices at least one hour prior to your bed time.
This week, I encourage you to create a calming bedtime routine. Next week we will explore strategies to reduce stress.
I am a mental health therapist practicing in Henderson, NV. I have found that most of the people that I work with have lost themselves on the road to success. A key component of my treatment approach is assisting people in rediscovering their passions and restoring balance to their lives. This blog contains slivers of wisdom that I continue to discover while assisting people become mentally fit.