Secrets for Peaceful Slumber

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Do you struggle with sleep? It seems like most adult women I know have a difficult time getting enough restful sleep. 

Whether it’s waking up every few hours with a baby or toddler, a husband that snores, staying up late to get some precious alone time or time with the husband, anxiety-related insomnia or night-wakings due to pregnancy or menopause…it’s tough for us women to get the recommended 7-8 hours of shuteye every night.

I’ve struggled with this in the past. And I even sought out help from a counselor to deal with it. I found out that my insomnia was stress and anxiety related, even though I didn’t think I felt stressed or anxious. It turns out that you don’t have to have racing thoughts keeping you up for your insomnia to be from stress. I just had a hard time shutting my brain off and getting into a relaxed state. I was constantly thinking, not necessarily worrying about things, just thinking and planning things.

Here’s a few tips that I’ve been using to help me sleep better.

  • Journaling before bed: I take good old-fashioned pen to paper and just write for 15 minutes or so before bed. I have no agenda with journaling. I just write what comes out. It helps me process my day and make a plan for the next day.
  • Avoiding caffeine after lunch: I love my morning coffee, and I don’t think I’ll ever give it up. But I know I can’t have caffeinated drinks after lunch time or else I’ll have a hard time sleeping that night. If I need something tasty, I stick to decaf tea, soda or coffee.
  • Turning off electronics: This is so hard for me to do! My goal is to shut down the computer, put away the smartphone and turn off the TV an hour before bedtime. I’ll admit; it rarely happens. But when it does, I sleep well.
  • Yoga or conscious relaxation: I have short yoga DVD that is designed to relax and prepare the body for rest. It’s awesome, but again, I rarely use it. More often, I do a little deep breathing and conscious relaxation while lying in bed. I close my eyes, breathe deeply and focus on relaxing the major muscle groups of my body. 

It looks like I’m not alone in finding these techniques helpful either. Health.com shares 7 Secrets for the Best Sleep Ever, and they jive closely with my list.

What are your sleep tight secrets?

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My Post-Mommy Girlfriends

I read this (awesome) post yesterday from Kim at My Twinstastic Life, and it got me thinking about my group of girlfriends. I’ll be the first person to admit that, before kids, I didn’t really value the importance of my girlfriends. That’s why I don’t have any lifelong friends, and I’m not close with many of my high school or college friends anymore. Quite honestly, that makes me sad, and I know it’s my own fault for not putting forth the effort to keep in touch when our lives took different turns. But I digress…

After I got married and settled down into adult life, I realized I was lonely. I had a great husband, was working my professional life and had many acquaintances, but I yearned for close girlfriends who were in a similar stage of their lives, with similar values and goals. I prayed for a long time that God would bring just one strong Christian woman into my life as a friend. And as God is wont to do, he didn’t disappoint.

Over several years, I developed an awesome group of girlfriends. One, in particular, I know was handpicked by God to help me navigate the world of infertility treatments, IVF, twin pregnancy and parenting twins. (H, yep, I’m talking about you!)

My girls, as I like to affectionately call them, have saved my sanity on more than one occasion. From those panicked parenting calls in the early days, to commiserating when my kids were going batshit crazy for no discernible reason, to reassuring me that I would live through the tyrannical three’s….they’ve been there for me, and I’ve done the same for them.

As our close-knit circle has grown, I’ve realized that God has put each one into my life for very specific reasons.

The Straight Talker: I’ve touched on the importance of H in my life already. I consider her the straight talker of our group. She has the most kids, and she’s the perfect girl to ask for advice. As she’ll tell you, she’s the most normal person she knows, so of course, she’s the most qualified to give advice! She was my lifeline through infertility and twin pregnancy. And she continues to give me reality checks when I start to obsess over silly things, like whether my kids should go to summer school to get prepared for kindergarten. (If you’re curious, the answer is no. They’re already in full-time day care!)

The Bleeding Heart: My girl B is the most compassionate, caring person I know. She has a heart for the world, and I’m lucky that that includes me and my kids. She, unknowingly, challenges many of my beliefs and gives me the confidence to try new things, like organic gardening and eating meatless meals regularly. With an older son and a daughter the age of my twins, she also provides me with much-needed perspective. I still remember all the pep talks she gave me when I was going through a particularly difficult time with dealing with my tyrannical three-year-olds.

The Life of the Party: J is a force to be reckoned with. Never one to sit still or cautiously dip her toes into life, she blazes full-force into all that she does. J makes sure we’re all having fun regularly, and challenges us to do some pretty crazy things. (Bikini wax party anyone?) She’s my running buddy, my encourager and my fellow coupon diva. She’s also crafty, a trait I am sorely lacking. But I forgive her for that. 🙂 She’s also my go-to girl for advice regarding my son’s special needs, IEPs and therapy. I know she was handpicked by God for our little sorority, and I know she’s going to make an amazing mom.

Do you have a group of girlfriends that you can’t imagine life without? 

How Not to Make a Water Table (Blast from the Past)

I started blogging back in 2008, and maintained a family blog for about a year. I’ve been revisiting some of those old posts and reminiscing about the earlier ages and stages of parenting my twins. Here’s one that made my laugh when I read it. Enjoy. 🙂

A few weeks ago, I got the idea that I could make a fun water table for the twins out of some household items. Basically, it’s just a container to hold some water and some toys for the kids to use to play with the water. What’s hard about that? I have tons of things that can hold water around the house.

I decided to use a Rubbermaid-type storage bin to hold the water. As I carried it outside, I was thinking to myself how darn smart I was to think of this idea. I was feeling like a total crafty resourceful momma. I should have known this was going to end not as I had planned once I got that crafty momma feeling. The last time I had that feeling ended in disaster… I attempted to make homemade play-do that turned out hard and crumbly.

So out we go to enjoy the sunshine and beautiful weather. I filled the tub up a bit, then turned around to put the house away. As I turned back around, this is what I saw:

At that point, I figured what the heck, let him play in the water if that’s what he wants to do. I took off his soaking wet shoes and let him go at it.

After awhile, they got thirsty and decided to have a drink. Again, I thought, what the heck. They’re kids; let them have a little fun!

While it may not have turned out as I had planned, it was still a lot of fun! Don’t worry though… I also got them a real water table that they are enjoying a lot!

Originally posted May 8, 2009

I am a writer

I am a writer. Not just a corporate communicator. Not just a blogger. Not just an editor. Not just a former writing teacher.

I am a WRITER.

I always have been. From the first short story about an orange cat named Marmalade that I wrote when I was seven, to the senior seminar paper I wrote in college, to that news blurb I wrote an hour ago for my day job.

I know this may not sound shocking to you considering the name of my blog–Mother.Runner.Writer.

Actually, I’ve never had a problem declaring myself as a writer, but I’ve always justified it. I’m a writing student. Or a writing teacher. Or a corporate writer. Or a new blogger. Or a freelancer.

Well guess what, babycakes…it doesn’t matter. You’re a writer just the same.

This is the first post in a series related to 15 Habits of Great Writers, facilitated by Jeff Goins at goinswriter.com. As I develop this blog, it’s my intention to include a mix of content about my running life, my family life and my writing life. By focusing on these three aspects of my life, I hope you’ll enjoy a more authentic version of me and more compelling content that strikes a chord in your own lives.

Pink Sparkly Headbands

“Mommy, can you help me with my pink sparkly headband?” asked my four-year-old daughter Addison.

“Sure, sweetie. Here, put it around your neck like a necklace first. Good. Now, we need to pull it up over your forehead,” I said as I helped her put on her glittery hot pink headband.

“When I’m a mommy and I’m all grown up, I’m going to wear pink sparkly headbands all the time when I run races like you, mommy,” she said as she smiled up at me.

And that’s why I head out for a run after working eight-plus hours at my desk job and not seeing the kids since 7:30 that morning. Those 45 minutes when I’m out running–and not home with them–isn’t taking anything away from them. It’s actually giving them additional years with me as a healthy mom and hopefully giving them extra years to their lives because they’ll continue in a healthy lifestyle as adults.

Why I Run (An Ode to National Running Day)

Check out www.runningday.org for inspiration, local running meet ups and to share in the fun that is Running Day. You can also create your custom I Run badge and share with your Facebook and Twitter friends. And if you tweet, follow @runningday and check out the #runningday tweets.

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I run…

to redefine my limits

to prove to myself that I can

to feel strong

to feel alive

to be healthy

to lose weight

to wear cute running clothes

to wear un-cute running clothes (hydration pack, anyone?)

to give my pasty skin a little sun-kissed color

outside in the rain and snow

outside when it’s 90 degrees or 20 degrees

to escape the chaos of twins

as a stress-buster

to be an example for my kids

to inspire others to improve their health

for the camaraderie

to keep my sanity

because I can.