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Sleeping well is self-care

With the pandemic going on and on, we’ve all had feeling down in the dump moments. At times, you may have found it difficult to bounce back and get on with your life. Why is this so? The COVID-19 situation has created an atmosphere of uncertainty and fear, which has made you hyper-vigilant and second-guessing, […]

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With the pandemic going on and on, we’ve all had feeling down in the dump moments. At times, you may have found it difficult to bounce back and get on with your life.

Why is this so? The COVID-19 situation has created an atmosphere of uncertainty and fear, which has made you hyper-vigilant and second-guessing, with offshoots of decision fatigue, low self-esteem and exhaustion. 

In your efforts to remain COVID-safe, you tend to forget about your well being while trying to meet your professional and personal obligations.

 You soon start having sleepless nights, difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep through the night with early morning awakening. It’s easy to ignore sleep deficits but not for long as it impacts your daily functioning, decision-making skills, and ability to concentrate.

 Looking for immediate gratification, you go on social media or use medications to help you fall asleep. I’ve had many clients of diverse age groups report they’ve asked their healthcare provider to increase their prescription for their ongoing sleep problems.

 Pushing through your day may seem to be a good strategy, but if there are many days you’re doing so, it’s time to take preventive actions, like looking at your self-care routine. Are you getting enough sleep, or you can’t stop yawning while driving your children to school? 

You know you need to do more to stay healthy but worrying about everything and anything (generalized anxiety) holds you back. You start worrying where you could have gone wrong with your job or your family’s hand-washing routine. 

Taking out a predetermined time for self-care can be a daunting task. In this case, the first step is to have a ritual or a go-to stress buster, a cup of coffee to calm your racing thoughts. 

When you are involved in doing routine and pleasure-giving activities, your behaviour acts as a mood elevator, as per cognitive behaviour therapy. The cup of coffee gives you some semblance of control and pulls you into the present, thus putting a brake on your cascading thoughts.

You can build on this by categorizing your thoughts connected to anxiety about your children, elderly parents, or job. 

Next, you can identify the times when you have got these thoughts. You can look at the events that precipitated your anxiety about your children’s online learning, documenting or making a mental note of your follow-up actions. 

Once you have a clearer picture of the causes, time of occurrence, and approach, you can have an action plan to minimize or resolve your issues.

You can also develop a hierarchy of your worries, giving each worry theme a grading. 

These anxiety management measures will not solve your problems. Still, they can help you think clearly and assess your available options, which will help you do active problem solving to use previously untapped resources. 

Hopefully, you’ll be able to reserve some time in your busy schedule for self-care, have more control of your daily activities, family time or an extra cup of your favourite beverage, all leading to a better night’s sleep.

This article was published in The Miramichi Leader.

My thanks to Alexandra Gom for sharing their work on Unsplash.

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