Wellness Wednesday – go to bed

Cristy’s dialogue with her (left) brain on Super Tuesday (primary election night in Minnesota and many other states):

Higher self: You need rest; time to go to bed.

Left brain: But there’s political news! What if I miss something?

Higher self: Whether you stay up late or not, you won’t change the results.

Left brain: I wanna watch news coverage and eat snacks.

Higher self: That may be the pattern you have established in times of stress. But it really doesn’t help anything.

Left brain: I’m still gonna do it.

Higher self: I forgive you.

Left brain (while watching disappointing news coverage): Why are people such idiots?

Higher self: Go to bed. People seem less idiotic when you get more sleep.

Left brain (sticking tongue out like a toddler): I don’t believe you.

Higher self: That’s okay. I love you anyway.

Calvin bored now
Really Mom, it’s time to go to bed.

***

cristy@meximinnesota.com

 

Sunday haiku – hostel

hostel stairs.jpg
The view down the stairs of the hostel where my husband and I  stayed on Friday night. 

First time hosteling

Duluth, at Hostel du Nord

Cozy bed and cheap

hostel bed
The double bed that we were able to score on a last minute basis while we were on an overnight trip and had an appointment on the north shore on Saturday. Everything else we tried, including hotels and state parks, appeared to be booked for the weekend. 

***

cristy@meximinnesotana.com

 

 

TBT – Go easy on yourself

Throwback Thursday – an edited post from December 2017 that feels timely. 

This time of year can be difficult, especially for anyone dealing with seasonal affective disorder (SAD) that may originate from the lack of light and lack of fresh air.

Symptoms I experience can include anxiety, the blues, and changes in my mood or appetite. Many of us have increased cravings for carbohydrates, and we may feel sluggish or have difficulty concentrating.

For several years, I have used exercise, dietary strategies such as a vitamin D supplement in the morning and magnesium at night. I try to get enough vegetables for their anti-oxidant properties and fiber, but in Minnesota nothing is fresh this time of year, so it can be difficult.

Getting enough healthy fats in my diet more recently has been a wonderful benefit to my health overall. I have learned more and more on how balancing our brain chemistry with healthy fats is really important.  “The Chemistry of Calm” by Dr. Henry Emmons, contains some wonderful advice there on how to overcome anxiety. He presents the information from both Western and Eastern traditions. I strongly encourage you to check it out if you want more scientific background on drug-free ways to overcome anxiety.

I still struggle with insomnia periodically, usually when the seasons change and/or when I am under stress. I know how important sleep can be for good healthy, so I try valiantly to get more, and sometimes it still eludes me.

compassion
Photo credit link

Over the years, I have learned some strategies which help. It is a learning process, and I have to accept that it takes some time to change old habits. I am undoing a pattern that was established (and possibly reinforced) for 25-30 years. I may not unlearn it overnight. But due to the remarkable neuro-plasticity of our brains, we are capable of training ourselves out of old patterns.

The biggest factor to remember is to have compassion for ourselves, and not to label ourselves as “anxious” or to consider ourselves flawed in any way. Instead of saying, “I am an anxious person” try instead: “right now I am struggling with anxiety and I am learning how to manage it.” Thus, the condition is temporary and not a part of our identity.

It is important not to identify too strongly with any label, as this may convince us we a permanent, unalterable condition. The truth is that we have far more capacity for change than any of us realize. And this learning how to manage our struggles is where wisdom is born. Nothing is wrong with us. This is the human condition.

About half of our life may be happy or joyful (or maybe slightly more). But about half of or life will be negative emotions. This contrast is what makes life so rich and interesting. If we can go easy on ourselves, realize that sadness and feeling down sometimes are a part of life, then we can truly appreciate the joyful moments.

Compassion for ourselves and for other people is really the engine that helps us live a good life. We sometimes have that inner critic that resists compassion, questioning if we deserve it, speculating that we do not. If we come from religious backgrounds where original sin was a big part of the emphasis, this may be harder for us.

It may take some time and practice to cultivate compassion for ourselves. But it is possible. And with this self-compassion comes the ability to have compassion for others as well. In this time of dark, cold, weather, that can go a very long way.

If you are struggling with SAD, anxiety or depression, please get help from a trained mental health professional, and/or seek support. It is not a time to “go it alone” when you are dealing with this stuff. Sometimes families are not as understanding, so try to find someone who can help you get the support you need.

cristy@meximinnesotana.com