I’m not sure when I discovered the beauty of a computer shortcut – or exactly when I dubbed myself the Queen of Keyboard Shortcuts. 🙂
But I LOVE them.
I had used PC systems at all four of my summer newspaper internships, but it wasn’t until my senior year of college, when the school paper replaced its clunky old computer system with Macs (cue celestial music), that I realized just how technology can make our lives easier.
I bought my first computer in November 1996 (I remember because it was Election Day – and also because I just remember stuff like that), and I’ve spent the past two decades learning how to make computers work faster and more efficiently for me. I love passing along my little tips to anyone who’ll listen. (You’re welcome.)
While PCs and Macs use different operating systems, the platforms accommodate many of the same keyboard shortcuts. Also, different software programs (“apps,” for you young whippersnappers) use different shortcuts, meaning that not everything is universal, but many things are.
Why am I so in love with keyboard shortcuts? Let me count the ways:
They save a lot of time. (Duh.) I’m serious. Little detours away from the keyboard add up. Having to take your hands away from the keys to grab the mouse is time consuming. If you type fast and know the shortcuts, you can zing through those paragraphs like nobody’s business. I cannot tell you how much time I save by favoring the keyboard over the mouse.
No need for a mouse. What if you’re in a mouseless situation (or maybe the little critter’s battery is dead) but still need to perform a function in your document? Two strokes (or a combination of keys) and you’re all set.
They’re more precise. Have you ever tried to close a window on your screen where the little exit x or red dot was small, and maybe your mouse was a little uncooperative – maybe it wandered around the screen when you didn’t tell it to? Keyboard shortcut.
They cut down on “mouse hand.” (I’m not sure that’s a real term, but I know it’s a thing.) Haven’t you experienced cramps in your mouse-wielding hand that could be eased with a little break from the normal position? I sure have.
It’s cool. No, really. It just is.
I’m going start you with five of my favorite shortcuts for each of the two major operating systems; if you’d like to learn more, I’ll add to the collection in a later post. And feel free to suggest other tech lessons you’d like to explore.
Command + S
Control + S
Command + Z
Control + Z
Command + C
Control + C
Command + X
Control + X
Command + V
Control + V
If you’re reading this post on a computer, take a few moments to try these keyboard shortcuts. Open a document, type a few words and try the commands. Don’t worry: If you make a booboo, there’s always Command Z!
Do you already use keyboard shortcuts? What’s your fave? (Mine is Command + Z – undo!)
Next tech lesson: text-replacement apps (also a terrific timesaver).
Several months ago, I started working on getting my little world in order, as in:
Decluttering my workspace (home office).
Getting more sleep.
Taming my inbox (I will NOT let it defeat me – not there yet, though).
Organizing my closet, dresser and bathroom.
Offloading a bunch of deadweight on my computer (really old files that just take up space, physically and mentally).
Changing web hosts (don’t get me started on that).
I named this (not so) little project #lifedeclutter, and for a while I posted about it here, on social media and on my whiteboard at home.
I probably don’t have to tell you how easy it is to let things slide once you’ve started making improvements, especially if you never quite achieved the results you were looking for in the first place.
Yes, I’ve made a lot of progress. But I’ve also backslidden in some areas.
My main email account (I have three going into the same inbox) contains – as I write this paragraph – 8,111 emails, 5,707 of which are marked Unread. (Sad but true.)
A few months ago, I had it under 2,000.
I won’t go into all the things I’ve been busy with, but those things have led me to neglect the daily maintenance I was pursuing in my digital space.
In other words, I never got to Inbox Zero (does that even exist?), and I slid back into old habits.
Well, my friends, that is going to change.
In less than two weeks, a new month starts, and so begins a new quarter of 2018.
The return to #lifedeclutter.
I’m giving myself the rest of March to gear up for the change, because I’m working on my taxes, trying to reconcile all my bank accounts and hoping to get things in good order to start fresh come April 1.
(Major shift: I’m bound and determined to switch back to Apple Mail and start using the filters and tagging plug-ins I added over a year ago. I’m going to schedule it and make it happen.)
But most of all, I’m bouncing a lot of ideas around in my head.
I want to figure out how to get you involved.
So … in the next three days, think about this:
What is the main thing in your world that’s driving you crazy right now?
Do you need to:
Declutter your closet?
Organize your kitchen?
Create a bedtime routine that helps you end the day relaxed and ready to sleep?
Shape up your family budget?
Shape up your butt? (Guilty.)
Prioritize some neglected relationships?
Clean out your inbox? (Ahem.)
Getting your physical, mental and spiritual world in order opens the door to infinite possibilities. I’m looking at you, entrepreneur-in-the-making.
Write down (yes, write it on paper, in ink) one to three dreams you have. If ANYTHING were possible, what would you want your life to look like in 12 months, 5 years, 10 years … at the end of your life?
Would you start a business? Apply for a job in a different field? Go back to school? Start volunteering for a cause you’re passionate about? Move to the mission field? Write a book? Sail around the world? Build a house? Run for office?
DREAM BIG, MY FRIEND.
One thing you’re not allowed to do: Limit yourself or edit your list. Write anything you’ve ever dreamed about doing, no matter how crazy it sounds. (You don’t have to show it to anyone if you don’t want to.)
This is your life we’re talking about.
If you’re brave enough, post a comment here letting the world know what you’re dreaming. If you’re not ready for that,contact me privately here and share it with me only. (I promise I won’t tell.)
Then we’ll come back next week and start working on some things together.
If you don’t already get my email updates, be sure to subscribe (see the box or click here) so you’ll be able to keep up with our #lifedeclutter and other goodies. (Kinda ironic that I mention subscribing when I haven’t tamed my own inbox, huh? I promise I won’t inundate you with daily annoyances. I email when I publish a blog post, and sometimes I send stuff exclusively for my subscribers, but that averages to about once a week.) At the moment, the free resource for subscribing is “8 Tips for Saying No Graciously” – a two-page PDF that will help you get started on what you want to do, not what you think you have to do.
I’ve learned to say no to a lot of things. In fact, I’ve used my tip sheet “8 Tips for Saying No Graciously” as my subscriber freebie for the past couple of years because I want you to understand the importance of saying NO to the nonessentials and YES to what moves the needle in finding your purpose and living it out.
If you’ve hung around To Well With You (or me personally) for any length of time, you know that I follow Michael Hyatt and have learned a lot from him. He bills himself as “your virtual mentor,” and that really fits. His courses, books, podcasts, blog posts and other resources have taught me so much – it’s like a college major! In fact, he’s where I first heard about the book Essentialism.
Despite learning the importance of saying no, I still need occasional reminders to focus on what’s important. (I’m a WIP – a work in progress!) And I strive to pass along what I’ve learned and provide tools to help you do that, too.
Y’all, I’m not one to tout products very often, as you know if you’ve been hanging with me for a while. But there’s a super deal going on at Beautycounter called the5-Minute Face, and I don’t want you to miss out. The special deal goes away Sunday night, so you need to hurry.
As you also may know, I recently found the skin-care and cosmetics company of my dreams(!), and I want to keep sharing my love for Beautycounter and what it represents to me and millions of others. You canread here about my search for safer beauty products, why I love this company, and my ultimate switch from a brand I had been representing for nearly 18 years.
Onmy Beautycounter page, you can customize your 5-Minute Face by clicking through 6 steps; the site helps you pick your colors, starting with foundation and ending with lip gloss, with a dose of the NEW mascara (details below) thrown into the mix. Whatever it is, we’ve got ya covered.
The 5-Minute Face page includes a zippy little video that walks you through the steps in less than two minutes. It’ll take you a bit longer than that to execute, 🙂 but the short tutorial will give you the basics. (This one is for Deep skin tones, but you can also see clips for Fair, Light and Medium skin tones.)
BONUS: With your purchase of the 5-Minute Face bundle ($148 U.S. for $194 U.S. value), you get a FREE Retractable Foundation Brush ($35 U.S. value) (so you’re really getting $229 in products for that $148 purchase). When I became a Beautycounter consultant in April, I didn’t use a foundation brush. I had always preferred my fingers or a good sponge. I was skeptical. But after I tried this beautiful brush, I was in love! Why had I ever doubted the usefulness of a foundation brush???
LET’S TALK PRICING
Before I let you go, let me say a little bit about pricing, and then a couple of other NEW items of note:
You might experience a bit of sticker shock when you compare Beautycounter products with what you’ve been using (especially if you’ve been picking up cheap foundation and eye shadows at the dollar store). But one thing I’ve noticed about this beautiful brand is that A) there is more product in a container, and B) you don’t have to use as much, so your product will last longer than others. (I can attest to this in my personal use of the skin-care line and the color cosmetics, and I also had a customer tell me she doesn’t have to use as much of the shampoo as with her other brand, PLUS it makes her hair feel amazing. She lives in an area with funky water, so she had been struggling to keep her hair from drying out and her color from fading. Bonus: She loves how it smells!)
I’m working on an ounce-to-ounce comparison chart of Beautycounter vs. my old brand so that I can demonstrate that you’re getting at least as much bang for your buck, if not more. Stay tuned for that.
Even if the above were not true, for me it’s worth paying a little more to know I’m not putting a bunch of toxic chemicals on my (and my family’s) face, hair and body. (Did you know Beautycounter has Kids and Baby collections, too? I use the Baby Calming Diaper Rash Cream on my eczema!) Beautycounter has aNever List™ of more than 1,500 questionable or harmful chemicals that it never uses in its products. I’m proud of that commitment to safety, even if this makes the procurement process a bit more challenging.
OTHER (NEW-ISH) BEAUTYCOUNTER PRODUCTS TO CHECK OUT:
Two NEWmascaras: If you want va-va-va-volume, check out our Volumizing Mascara, which is a brand new product; and for ooh-la-la-length, we have a new formula for our Lengthening Mascara.
JOIN OUR MOVEMENT
If you want to become a Band of Beauty member and get rewards, discounts, the opportunity for free shipping, exclusive members-only offers, plus a FREE gift with your first order of $50,visit my page and click “Become a Member.” Or if you want to go all in and join the mission with me,visit that same page and click “Become a Consultant.”Ask me for details, or just sign up!
REASON TO SIGN UP WITH BEAUTYCOUNTER TODAY
Just look around, and you can already tell that the holiday selling season isn’t approaching – it’s already here! As a beauty consultant for 18 years, I can assure you that now is the best time to get started, whether you just need to earn a bit of extra spending money or you want a new career. Your income is limited only by the effort you want to make. (If you have questions,get in touch with me here or leave a comment on the blog or my Facebook page.)
So, whether you want to jump in with both feet or just want to test the waters, don’t forget – the special deal on the5-Minute Face ends Sunday night. Hurry and take advantage of this sweet deal!
Have you tried Beautycounter? If so, what’s your favorite product?
It seems I’m not the only one who struggles with issues related to food, nutrition and physical health. I did a quick survey of my subscribers and Facebook visitors recently, and I couldn’t have been more shocked at the results.
Not surprised that the No. 1 topic was diet and nutrition but that the consensus was UNANIMOUS. Everyone who replied to the email or visited the Facebook page wanted to talk about this topic next at To Well With You. (The choices were emotions/depression; finances/debt reduction; and diet/nutrition.)
Well … until I cajoled my skinny husband into voting. He picked a different No. 1 topic, but he said diet/nutrition was “a close second.”
Because Bruce ranked diet a close second, it shows that even underweight people struggle with food and nutrition issues. Bruce has Crohn’s disease, but he’s been super-thin all his life. And Candy, who commented on the Facebook page, said she had always been underweight until the past few years, and now she struggles with the opposite.
Life, age, hormones, medical problems, stress … they’ll do that.
I didn’t struggle with my weight (besides the typical female lament, “I’m fat!” when I wasn’t) until around age 30. (I can remember noticing around Christmastime a few weeks after my birthday that my butt was bigger than I had realized. It happens slowly …)
I’ve put off writing this series because I wasn’t sure where to start. I know I’ll be opening a can of worms once I get going, and where do we stop?
But I’ve opened the can, poured hot sauce on it, have my fork ready, and here we go.
A couple of people you’ll be hearing from as we take this journey together:
Dr. Margaret Rutherford, the clinical psychologist I referred to in my email to subscribers. She has a wonderful podcast,SelfWork, that makes me feel as though my best friend, mentor and sounding board are all speaking directly to me. Dr. Margaret practices in Fayetteville, Ark., and I met her through the Arkansas Women Bloggers community. I’m excited that she immediately accepted my invitation to help us sort through the noise and the mess of our thoughts and feelings around food. I’ll be asking her about emotional eating and lots of other stuff, and I hope you’ll feel free to ask questions, too. Dr. Margaret developed an eating disorder when she was in college, so she’s been there, y’all.Here’s her latest blog post, an excellent discussion of the emotions around food. (Tip: It really isn’t about the food.)
Dr. Beth Milligan, a medical doctor who’s been my friend since seventh grade! Dr. Beth was my personal physician when she practiced in North Little Rock, Ark. She’s since moved her practice and I moved to another town, so we only see each other on Facebook nowadays. Dr. Beth makes me laugh, and I always enjoyed looking at the autographed pic of Tom Selleck on the wall of one of her exam rooms! Dr. Beth wasn’t as surprised as I was that the survey respondents were unanimous about nutrition as their topic of choice. She has treated a lot of people with weight issues in her years of practice. I can’t wait to glean a few nuggets of insight from her. (And there’s bound to be a laugh or two.) We’ve been saying we need to collaborate on something, so I guess this is our chance! Here’s a link to Dr. Beth’s website.
Other clinicians or experts yet to be determined. I’m a podcast junkie and I love to read, so I’ll provide you with some good resources to check out. I’ll also reach out to others who can talk us through some of the topics we want to discuss.
You. I’d love to tell your story, share your insights, discover what you’ve learned, or maybe just support you in this community if that’s what you need. As I often say, WE’RE ALL IN THIS TOGETHER. I believe God made us for community, and He has brought us together to learn from and help each other. If you’re brave enough to be interviewed for a future post, I’d love to talk to you.Contact me here.
Friend, I have SO many thoughts running through my mind as I write this. I’ve been bouncing ideas around in there constantly since getting the survey results.
Please give me your feedback. Do you have questions? Advice? Share them in the comments, post them on the Facebook page or send me a private message. We’re gonna tackle this can of worms, one bite at a time.
If you’ve known me for more than 30 seconds, you know these things about me:
I’m on a mission to declutter pretty much everything about my life (physical, mental, emotional, financial, you name it). I started calling this journey #lifedeclutter, and I’m a bit obsessed with the idea. Not that you can tell it to look at my workspace, but I’m getting there. It’s a process …
I care about “clean” everything – clean environment, clean eating (I have my own definition of that, and it’s another area that’s “in process”), clean household, bath, cosmetics and skin care – everything.
I’m a researcher by nature. Or maybe by training (which came first …).
So, knowing those things, you wouldn’t be surprised to hear how wildly excited I was to discover the answer to my quest for cleaner skin care and cosmetics.
Without boring you with the details, I’ll just say that several years ago I went on the hunt for a brand that I could feel good about putting on my skin. I could never find one that was safe enough to justify switching from the major brand I have represented for nearly 18 years. Nothing ranked so much safer that I would want to give up that other brand in favor of it.
The clincher was that Beautycounter is actively pursuing laws for safer personal-care products.
In fact, 450 Beautycounter Consultants across the United States and Canada met with their elected officials in March, urging them to pass more health-protective laws on the beauty industry (there hasn’t been a major law passed in the U.S. since 1938). Here’s a 1-minute video that shows a few of the consultants talking about visiting their elected officials last month.
WHY DOES IT MATTER?
Many products – more than we will ever know – contain ingredients that are known or suspected to cause cancer, hormone disruption, skin conditions and other health concerns. You might think makeup and skin-care products are only skin deep or that “a little bit doesn’t matter,” but some of them absorb into your body, and the cumulative affect can create havoc on your health.
For me, it’s been a years-long and continuing process to clean up my household and my body … still a work in progress.
But when I know something is harmful, I can’t ignore it.
‘THE NEVER LIST’
Beautycounter has aNever List™, “made up of more than 1,500 questionable or harmful chemicals that we never use as ingredients in our products. This includes the 1,400-plus chemicals banned or restricted in personal care products by the European Union, plus additional chemicals where information screened by Beautycounter indicates a cause for concern.”
(I never saw that much concern by the makers and promoters of my old brand.)
This makes me happy, and I’m proud to represent (and use) a brand that’s concerned with safety and transparency, going so far as to advocate for more regulation in its own industry!
Founder and CEO Gregg Renfrew says, “My dream is for all people to have access to safer products.”
I feel good about putting Beautycounter products on my body, washing my hair with them, cleaning my face and prettying up with them. Bonus: They smell AWESOME! The smell-good comes from fruit extracts, so you might get a whiff of orange when you rub on the Citrus Mimosa Body Butter, or you’ll close your eyes and swoon at the scent of coconut oil when you use the Cleansing Balm on your face. Or maybe you’d like the heady jasmine of the Plumping Facial Oil. It’s all good.
No artificial fragrance, “chemical smell” or other scary stuff. Just pure, clean, amazing-smelling deliciousness.
Want to know more about the company?Click here for the rest of the story.
Andclick here if you’d like to shop with me or get more info. (Thank you in advance.)
What products or practices have you changed in the interest of your health or that of your family? Leave a comment to share. And please share the post. 🙂
In Tips for better sleep, Part 1, we talked about several ways we can make sleep happen. In the interim, I’ve been depriving myself of sleep to get some essential work stuff done. Go figure.
Let’s continuing counting sleep:
8. Make your sleep space cool, comfy and calm. Some would tell you that your bed is for only two things: sleep and (that other thing, if you’re married). They’ll tell you not to watch TV in the bedroom, not to do work while you’re in bed … and lots of other no-no’s. I love to read in bed until I get sleepy, but I don’t think that counts as activity; it actually helps me fall asleep. I’ve stopped reading on my blue-screened devices, though (see next tip). Some would argue that watching TV helps them fall asleep. If that’s you and it works, more power to ya. Just be sure the volume doesn’t wake you up later (better yet, set a timer to turn it off if your TV has that function).
Keep the thermostat in the 60s when you’re under the covers; you may have to experiment with the temp that’s best for you.
If you’re a light sleeper (as I am), you need a dark, quiet room. I wear a sleep mask, and I keep two fans blowing; one of them is really loud. The fans are strictly for white noise; I have them pointed away from my body.
For travel, I used to take a small fan with me, but I broke my favorite little fan a couple of years ago and haven’t found a replacement that’s loud enough; that was before I discovered the White Noise app for my phone. Ahhhhh.
9. Turn off (or dim) your screens at least an hour before bedtime. That “blue light” emanating from your devices disrupts your circadian rhythm and hampers sleep. Warm that blue glow to a golden one. On my computer, I use an app called f.lux, which changes the screen color depending on the time of day (toward bedtime, it also pops up a message that says, “You’re waking up in [x] hours”; an hour later, it updates me again). On my phone and tablet, I have the settings adjusted. If you don’t want to use apps, get some goggles (two of my sources in this post provide links to the same pair on Amazon – and, no, I am not an Amazon affiliate). This article goes in depth about the disruptive effects of artificial blue light.
10. Use essential oils. Try lavender, vetiver or chamomile, or consider a blend of several oils. I get mine fromRocky Mountain Oils* (after doing research on quality and other considerations). I use the Tranquility blend from RMO; I rub it on my chest and the soles of my feet at bedtime. You can also diffuse these blends in your bedroom (I haven’t tried that yet) or sprinkle a few drops on your pillow.
*FYI, I’m not an affiliate of Rocky Mountain Oils; I just believe in the quality of oils and the customer service from this company, and they’re less pricey than those of the multilevel-marketing brands.
11. Take a nap when you need it.I take a nap as a routine. As I said last time, the conventional wisdom is that a short nap (what they used to call a “power nap”) is better than a long one. I maintain that it depends on the person and the circumstances. My blogger friendJimhelpfully emailed me a link toan article on the benefits of naps. It, too, recommends shorter naps but allows that longer ones can be beneficial:
“The longest naps – lasting about 90 minutes – are recommended for those people who just don’t get enough sleep at night. Since it’s a complete sleep cycle, it can improve emotional memory and creativity.”
I fall into that “people who just don’t get enough sleep at night” category. Hence my Sunday nap, in which the goal is two hours. #ilovenaps
Also, advice from Becca at my church: When you’re getting ready for a nap, treat it like you’re getting ready for bed. Get under the covers; just lying on top of the bed will not give you the maximum level of comfort you need for restorative rest. I told Becca she was “preachin’ to the choir.” I change into my nightgown, crawl under the covers, put my sleep mask on, turn both fans on and make sure my bladder is empty (sorry if that’s TMI).
12. Have a small, healthful snack an few minutes before bedtime. You heard that right; it’s OK to eat just before you go to bed IF you follow this guideline: Make it small, and include a good fat (organic nut butter, a small handful of walnuts) and a healthy carb (small piece of fruit or veggie). Skip the protein, as this can interfere with sleep.
13. Avoid caffeine and other stimulants. You knew that one, though, right?
14. Consider natural supplements, and make sure they’re high quality. I take 400 mg of magnesium at bedtime. Here’s the one I took until recently, before I went back tothis less-pricey one that I’m equally pleased with – it doesn’t contain fillers or other unnecessary ingredients. Another alternative is Epsom salt, which is magnesium sulfate. Please consult your doctor if you have a health condition such as diabetes or heart disease. Also, start with a lower dose until you know the outcome, if you know what I mean (magnesium is a natural muscle relaxer and can be used as a laxative).
15. Experiment with pillows; get a new mattress. I have a 20-year old neck injury, and over the years the pain and stiffness have had an increasing impact on my sleep. I can’t tell you what type of pillow is best for you, because I’m still figuring that out for myself. But consider that part of your problem may be your pillow. And if your mattress is old and saggy or lumpy – or full of dust mites, mold or other toxins – consider replacing it.
16. Deal with your allergies. Sinus pressure hinders my sleep much of the time. This is another area I haven’t quite got a handle on, so do as I say and not as I do.
17. Don’t let your pets sleep with you. This is another area where you should do as I say and not as I do. We’re way past training Pepper to sleep elsewhere. She’s old, blind and tiny, and she needs help getting onto and off the bed. She used to be able to climb the stairs to the bed, but since she fell off a few months ago, she’s afraid. And I’m not going to force her to sleep elsewhere and listen to her bark all night. (She already barks way too much during the night.) My dog is a head case. So … do as I say, not as I do.
Up next: As my #lifedeclutter continues, I have a new thing to tell you about. Heck, I’ll probably announce it on the Facebook page this weekend, so head on over there and Like the page, scroll through the posts and get to know how we roll there. While you’re visiting, share something about yourself.
When we last met up here, I tried to express, without making the post a statistical snoozefest, thatsleep is important. (I wanted you to get to the end of the post before you zzzzzz…..)
As we all know, lack of adequate rest can cause all sorts of problems, from brain fog to accidents to dumb decisions to chronic stress and disease.
Today it’s time to talk about how we can make sleep happen. I asked for a few ideas in the comments here and on theFacebook page, and I think most of you must have been taking a siesta, because I didn’t get a lot of response. Or … you’re like me and have so freaking much going on in your life and on your computerized devices that you didn’t notice I was asking. 🙂 Actually, I posted the question twice and got a little feedback on the other one, but no actual tips. So the feedback comes from my personal experience and that of a couple of people I talked to.
As for my own advice, with all the talking I do aboutmy love of naps, you might think I consider that the No. 1 way to get rest.
Naps are a stopgap. They’re secondary to getting a good night’s rest in the first place. So how do we do that?
Let’s count the ways:
1. Take it seriously. The first step to fixing the problem is to admit you have one. Admit that it’s not cool to burn the candle at both ends. Talking about how busy you are and how little sleep you “need” – and thinking it makes you more important than those who try to get the recommended seven to eight hours a night – is crazy talk. It’s popular in our culture, but it’s still crazy.
2. Maintain overall good health. This one’s tricky. You become healthy by getting adequate rest by eating healthy foods, exercising and keeping bad stress to a minimum by getting adequate rest. Yep, I said that. It’s circular.
3. Have an evening routine. I told my hairdresser, Natalie, that I was looking for sleep tips, and she shared hers:
She starts getting ready for bed at 8:30 p.m. It’s nonnegotiable (just likemy Sunday nap). She takes a relaxing bath with a “lavender scented bath soak,” dims the lights to “create a complete relaxation zone,” then she “lubes up” with a soothing lotion. And she goes to bed right after, so as not to re-stimulate her brain and body with other concerns. Natalie understands the importance of good sleep, so she makes her nightly ritual a priority. Smart woman. (I may have to remind her of this nighttime routine after the baby arrives in a few months! Yep, she’s expecting her first.)
4. Do a few minutes of yoga or deep breathing. A while back, I found a gentle, 26-minuteevening relaxation sequencefromYoga Journalthat makes me feel soooo relaxed at bedtime. Try it! If you don’t want to do yoga, sit in your chair (sit up straight, like your mom told you to) and spend 10 minutes breathing deeply while clearing your mind of its stressors – heck, clear it of everything except the reminder to breathe in … and out … deeply. And you don’t have to wait until bedtime to lower stress with deep breathing; practice it throughout the day. Here’s how:
Sit up straight and tall. Breathe in through your nose for about 4 seconds. Then breathe out through your mouth for about 8 seconds (a 1:2 ratio). Do this half a dozen times, and try to incorporate the practice into your day as you recognize that you’re tense. You can even do it at your desk or in your car (parked, please).
5. Count sheep. Or 5’s. Candy, via theFacebook page, said she uses various mantras but recently has seen “counting by 5’s” to be effective. Count backward from 1,000 and see how far you get. Count your blessings (that could be a post in itself!). Count anything that will help you relax. Just don’t count your worries.
6. Practice biofeedback.My hubby isn’t really the person to ask for sleep tips … except this one. I asked him to share:
“I learned the essentials from a theater-type who taught it to acting classes to help students marshal energy for diving into their roles.
“To begin, stretch out on your back on the floor or comfortable surface, close your eyes and be still for perhaps 30 seconds. Quiet room, perhaps gentle background music. … Then consider the outer reaches – think of each toe in turn for a few seconds, imagine a wave of tension flowing out of it or, inversely, a wave of rest/comfort flowing in. Tension being released, jitters being damped down, calm settling in; if you can feel the pulse in a toe, think of slowing it. After toes, fingers. Ankles, wrists – work your way to the middle.
“The middle is your heart rate and your breathing; as the outer reaches settle, you’ll be needing less work from heart and lungs and you can send them the same soothing wave signal and should be able to slow the rates. … Let go and sleep easy.”
7. Keep the same bedtime. Try to hit the pillow at approximately the same time each night (or morning, if you work the night shift), even on your weekend. Resist the temptation to stay up late when you don’t have to work the next day.
Homework assignment: 1) If you have a great sleep tip, share it in the comments or on the Facebook page. I already have 10 more tips written and waiting for the next post, but I can always add more. 2) In the coming week, try one of the seven tips mentioned above, then return here next report back here. 3) Share this post.
We’ve all heard plenty of statistics about the devastating effects of sleep deprivation.
This post won’t be heavy on statistics, partly because stats can vary widely and I’m confident that what I’m presenting here supports my argument for more rest.
And also because statistics can be boring and might put you to sleep.
Oh, wait …
(If you’re reading this close to bedtime, feel free to stop and go to bed. No, seriously. Your sleep is more important than finishing this post right now.)
If you think I’m referring only to extreme sleep deprivation (pulling all-nighters) as “devastating,” understand that chronic sleep deprivation (even just a little too little on a routine basis) hampers proper functioning.
Over the years, studies have presented evidence of:
Impaired physical performance. Athletes who sleep adequately have been shown to perform better than those who don’t, and the same holds true for all sorts of activities. Some studies have compared sleep deprivation to drunkenness above the legal limit for alcohol. Do you want to be on the same highway as a driver who’s had too much to drink … or too little sleep? Or, worse, do you want to be that driver?
Impaired judgment (see previous item). Maybe you’re an accountant and mistype a number, and the IRS goes after your client, who sues you. Or maybe you’re a medical student and you ruin someone’s life – and your career. Maybe you make the wrong decision in a social setting and end up pregnant by a stranger – or with a sexually transmitted disease. (Extreme examples? You be the judge – but first get a good night’s sleep!)
Crankiness (not that I would know anything about this 🙂 ). Relationships suffer: family, social, spiritual, workplace. A bad mood and impaired judgment can lead not only to lawsuits and diseases but an unhappy, dysfunctional household and other relationship problems.
Overeating and weight gain. This can be the result of hormone imbalance and cravings – and I’m not talking carrots and celery sticks. Under-sleeping can lead to a rushed schedule and food on the run, and emotional factors that lead to overindulging or unhealthful eating; It can be from impaired judgment, the need for comfort and a host of other physiological factors.
Immune system impairment and chronic illness. Even an excess of caffeine (coffee addiction, anyone?) can have unfavorable effects on your health. A friend’s loved one – a young man in his 20s – died because of prolonged excessive consumption of energy drinks, which included megadoses of caffeine. I know of a coffee variety called Jet Fuel; if you’re jet-lagged, choose sleep over caffeine.
Depression. Before I came out on the other side of my depression – in the mid-1990s – I was working a 4-to-midnight shift; I’m a morning person, and I never felt rested in those years. Besides depressed, I was cranky, angry and critical about everything around me. Do you think I was a fun person to be around? (NOTE: When I worked through the depression, I still had the crazy work schedule, so I’m not blaming it solely on sleep deprivation, but it played a role.) Fortunately for Bruce, I had worked through my depression before we started dating. He knew me in those years, though, and he worried about me.
If you are depressed, reach out to me (or someone else you can trust) and we’ll talk about ways you can get help. I’m not a clinician, but I can point you to some resources. (My pastor’s wife and a good, in-depthbook and companion workbookwere my lifeline; for you it may involve medication and/or another type of solution.)
IF YOU ARE SUICIDAL, seek IMMEDIATE help from your physician, your pastor or someone else you can trust, visit the confidentialNational Suicide Prevention Lifelineor call the Lifeline at(800) 273-8255(toll-free numbers are also available for Spanish speakers, hearing impaired, veterans and people in emotional distress related to “natural or human-caused disasters”).
SO … HERE’S WHERE THE RUBBER MEETS THE ROAD.
About 10 years ago, I started requiring a Sunday nap to get through the week. It was not long after I started The Worst Job I’ve Ever Had (I still have nightmares about it). I was stuck in that 60-hour-a-week job for 11 months, and I’m convinced it would have killed me if I hadn’t broken free.
I’ll tell you that story some other time (such as: in my last week there, I was diagnosed with a heart condition that eventually led to surgery). But today, I want you to think about YOUR story.
Ask yourself a few questions:
Do you feel tired all the time, or much of the time?
Do you get cranky, hangry (hungry/angry) or forgetful more than occasionally?
Do you feel achy or breaky in your body … or your emotions?
Do you drag your butt out of bed – and off to work or school – every day, and the feeling lasts all day, every day?
Have you ever stopped to think about the amount of sleep that is optimal for your body and brain? It varies with age and other factors – small children need about 13 hours; teenagers about 9 ½ hours; and adults about 7-9 hours – so you need to figure it out if you don’t already know.
I’ve written about the importance ofmy nonnegotiable Sunday napand my designation of Sunday as my Sabbath. For you it might be a different day of the week, but YOU NEED A SABBATH.
If your schedule is too busy for adequate rest, you need to figure out a way to change that. The past couple of weeks here at To Well With You, we’ve talked aboutmargin(which includes saying NO to nonessentials) anddecluttering(which includes the admonition to take a break from unproductive habits to clear some space for mental calmness). Today, it’s rest. (Next week: ways to get more and better sleep.)
Homework assignment: Ask yourself what ONE step you can take in the coming week to make a change in your sleep habits and satisfy your body and brain’s need for restorative rest. Post a comment here or on the Facebook page. Your idea just might spark a good habit for someone else.
Next week we’ll consider some ways we all can make changes, so come prepared to share your ideas and let us know how your week went. I’ll share our collection of ideas in the next post.
We’re all in this together, my friends. Now, go have a restful week. Zzzzzzzzzzz.
Psychologist Dr. Margaret Rutherford’swebsiteandpodcast. I met Dr. Margaret through the Arkansas Women Bloggers, and I was happy to know that she started a podcast, SelfWork, a few months ago. She addresses a variety of issues, including depression. (Need a calm, reassuring voice to settle you down? Dr. Margaret’s podcast is your ticket.)
How well did you do on your homework assignment last week?
What? You forgot all about it?
OK, refresher: We talked about creating margin. Your assignment was to take 10 minutes (plus a few seconds) to pause, breathe and think about how you could create some space in your schedule … in your head … to cut back on the crazy. And then write it down.
If you didn’t do the assignment, here’s your second chance. Go on; we’ll wait.
The next thing is a bit different but still gets us toward our goal.
Your goal may not be exactly what mine is, but maybe they will align, because my ultimate goal is this:
To help you live to your fullest potential, to figure out your purpose (if you don’t know it already) and to live the life that God intended when He created you. Your life has meaning, and He does have a purpose and a plan for you. And when you figure that out (and live it out), it brings Him glory.
I can’t tell you what your exact purpose is, but I’m here to help you figure it out.
And let me repeat this, in case you skimmed past it:
YOUR LIFE HAS MEANING.
It has meaning, but sometimes we’re too distracted by stuff to remember that.
So we need to do something about it.
Today’s assignment is to establish a time each day – just 10 minutes – that you can do something productive. Ten minutes, people. You can do it.
Maybe your inbox is bursting at the seams. Maybe your desk is piled with crap*. Do you need to make a couple of quick phone calls? Is there moldy food in the fridge? Do you have a gazillion photos on your phone that are gobbling space and slowing things down (and maybe causing you to pay for extra storage)? Is the countertop in the bathroom so cluttered it stresses you out every morning?
So that you won’t think I can’t feel your pain, here’s the right half of my bathroom counter:
Yes, it stresses me out, and decrapifying it is on my to-do list.
What do YOU need to decrapify this weekend?
Homework assignment: Spend 10 minutes decluttering, organizing, purging or in some other way tackling something that has been on your to-do list for too long.
Go ahead. Put down the internet and do it now.
After 10 minutes, stop, even if you’re not finished. That’s enough for now. (Besides, I want you to finish reading this post.)
Now pause for a moment: Doesn’t that 10 minutes of productivity feel GOOD?
That’s what I call a baby step. And if you’ll do that every day for the next week, you’ll be well on the road to establishing a habit.
You’re in the habit of checking Facebook, watching TV or playing [insert addictive phone-app game] for well over 10 minutes a day, no?
So consider this Step 1 toward PRODUCTIVITY.
Next: Post a victory comment and/or share a productivity tip or resource of your own (a few of mine are below), then share this post with a friend who needs to decrapify something and spend a few moments being GRATEFUL that you have more than enough to be happy.
*DISCLAIMER: My mother did not teach me to use the word crap or any variation. In fact, she maintains that if I say “crap,” I might as well use the S word. (She has a point, so pardon my French.)
This morning, through one of Lorie Marrero’s videos, I discovered GiveBackBox, which looks like an awesome program. If you don’t live near a Goodwill (which creates jobs and which Lorie partners with), you might find GiveBackBox useful. Here’s the founder talking about how it started and how it works:
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