With the constant flow of upcoming events, endless movement within the hustle and bustle of today’s society, staying caught up with your schoolwork, working steady shifts, making time for your hobbies—all on top of trying to balance a healthy social life, comes the inevitable loss of hours of sleep and the negative effects of sleep deprivation. Even if you are getting in a good six to eight hours of sleep a night, with the extra workload you are taking on, your body actually requires more than the average recommended hours in order to properly re-energize itself. As a balanced life is supposed to result in feelings of ease and contentment, here are some ways to continue lightheartedly throughout the seasons for all of those who find their shoulders are falling a bit slumpy.
1. Make Some Time
I know schedules are already tight, but the only way you are going to be able to keep your head on straight is if you find a whole day to dedicate to yourself, and yourself only! If you really cannot afford to put aside one day, then one evening will suffice. During this free “me time”, you are entitled to a bath with surrounding candles, scented by your choice, to add to some much needed aroma therapy. The other day I worked a 12 hour serving shift and let me tell you, coming home to a hot lavender-scented bath totally made my mind drift from thoughts of physical abuse to prancing through fields of flowers, setting me up nicely for a good night’s rest. If a bath is out of the picture, you can also work on organizing your space, whether that space is within your household, or an office. Clearing physical space will allow for some head space to clear up, setting you up for an easy adjustment in getting back to business the following day. Just find the time to do at least one thing for yourself that you’ve been meaning to get around to.
2. Change Your Alarm to Nature Sounds
If your alarm sound is the automatic bell noise or the sirens, it is time to change it up! Any sort of strong chiming or ringing will totally set you up for the morning jitters and scrambling of thoughts before you even get to your eggs. If you have an iPhone, try the “Twinkle” or the “Uplift” alarm sounds for a change. They are much more gradual in volume and pleasant in sound to set you up for a slow, yet effective awakening.
3. Don’t Eat or Drink Before Going to Sleep
It is recommended to have your last meal at least three hours before you plan to go to bed to allow for proper digestion. With drinks, even water and tea, you should have your last cup at least an hour before you go to sleep. This is to prevent any jolting-awake sort of action to run to the bathroom, or waking up to excessive bloating that puts a huge toll on your bladder system. Let’s learn to take care of our bodies, it’s okay to start small.
4. Always Go Through a Proper Bedtime Routine
Make sure to take off ALL of your makeup and wash your face and hands thoroughly so you can wake up feeling fresh. Nothing is worse than forgetting to take off your makeup, and waking up with raccoon eyes and scurrying to take a shower. Avoid the scare, take that extra five minutes to freshen up in the night time, and wake yourself with a good stretch and a fresh face!
5. Freshen Up Your Sheets
After a chaotic day, week, or month, you deserve to get into bed as if you were Sleeping Beauty and had years ahead of you to sleep through. Seriously! So, when you find yourself hurrying to get your loads of laundry done, make sure you toss in your pillow cases and sheets. Even if you really can only find time for five hours of sleep, you have got to make that limited time count! Very often we forget to treat ourselves during these crucial times of giving, but listen here: you do deserve to sleep those five hours in clean, fresh, lemon-scented sheets! Perhaps washing your sheets more often will even encourage you to find time for a nap or to get into bed sooner than usual!
6. Know Your Limits
I, too, have the common problem of not knowing how to say “no”. I will bust a sweat in working double shifts so someone can run off to a family dinner, or I’ll agree to seeing two different people in one night, cutting each outing short in the meantime. I have had such a hard time in submitting papers and articles, and working that my body finally became my spokesperson and said “no”. I couldn’t do all of these things anymore, my plate was full; I wasn’t spread out too thin, but rolled out to transparency. And so this breaking down was where I finally stood up and learned not to drown myself in shifts and an overload of tasks. I gave up a shift, and took a day off where I was able to find the time to comb my hair! Take it from me and avoid putting yourself in this situation. If you find yourself already being thrown into such a predicament, know that beneath your body that so frequently acts as this big, strong machine, you have a voice that has been silenced for too long. It is okay to let your boss know you need a couple of extra days on that assignment, we’re all human, we get it. Being overworked is never too lame of an excuse.
Just in case we needed the reminder once more, please get some rest. I know you have to be up early the next morning, but hold back on the coffee for one day and make note of how badly your body needs its rest. A weighted blanket may also benefit you and help you get the sleep you deserve. Make it a goal to find enough time to sleep that you get the opportunity to need to flip your pillow over to the cold side. If you can’t remember the last time you’ve done this, you need to slow things down.
Remember, all things do pass. If you really are feeling as if you’re in a slump, try to remind yourself of the reasons you are doing it. Really try to see in a different, more optimistic light. As difficult as it may seem, it can totally turn your day right around. Find your reasons, and breathe deeply. Your health and well-being always comes first, never neglect yourself of this truth.