For all that’s written and spoken about sleep, we all know on some level that sleep is a complex, spiritual event necessary to maintain our health and keep the body and soul together.
I was recently quite ill with a “sinus infection of global proportions” as described to me by a healing friend. My first tip off was when I decided on a Wednesday afternoon that I suddenly needed to rest. Fortunately, I followed my body’s demands and crawled in bed. I promptly went to sleep and woke up on Sunday morning.
On Sunday morning, I was quite tired but felt better. I drank a lot of water, ate fresh fruit, and made it to the doctor’s office on Monday to find out what my problem was. Within a couple of hours, I had had enough blood tests, x-rays, and other scans to learn that I not only had the enormous sinus infection but I also had pneumonia.
I also had a physician who was angry at me, a daughter nurse who was angry at me, and several other medical professionals who were angry.
I doubt if I’ll have this experience repeat itself again. And, I’m certain that this sleep, while highly therapeutic, may have needed some breaks for hydration, etc.
Nevertheless, I’m also convinced that, on some level, the sleep helped my situation.
I was fortunate because I fell asleep without trouble. Sleep is not always available to people who are ill or suffering with troubled health for whatever reason.
And, sometimes people are ill and need nothing more than a good night’s sleep to make things better. So, encouraging a good night’s sleep on a regular basis is a good thing. Sleep, experienced regularly, is important for wellness and good health in general.
What provision do you make for a regular sleep schedule which includes enough sleep every night? Are you able to include enough hours to offer therapy to your self and lifestyle?
Is your pillow adequate for the job?
Truthfully, I’ve blogged many times and will blog many times more about all the things a person can do to get enough sleep. Keep after your sleep until you are able to support your physical, mental, and spiritual health.
The first step involves honoring your self and your need to sleep well in order to live well.
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Artwork provided by Jennette Nearhood
Better sleep includes getting enough sleep at night and waking gently in the morning. That’s what alarm clocks and cell phone alarms are for. Use them to remind you to begin to calm down in the evening and to gently wake you in the morning.
Sleep Encouraging Techniques for you
As you journey down the path toward a better night’s sleep, don’t think of your bedroom as just a bedroom. Think of it as your sleep sanctuary.
Some people report they get to sleep easier if they use a diffuser with a lavender essential oil. You may want to try this. Lavender is one of the most popular and calming essential oils out there but not everyone likes it.
If you like lavender, you can use it knowing that studies find lavender essential oil improves your mood, decreases the heart rate, lowers the skin temperature and blood pressure a bit.
A bonus here is that lavender is not one of the most expensive essential oils. So, this may be an economical solution for you.
Do you have any plants in your bedroom? If not, you may want to add one or two. They purify the air as they reduce mold, filter toxins, release oxygen at night. And, plants are fun to look at.
Lower Lighting is Important for a Good Night’s Rest.
As you prepare for sleep each night, lower the lights in your sleep sanctuary. Bright lights just before getting into bed can trick you into wakefulness. You need light as you get ready for bed, but you just don’t need so much.
When You are Ready to go to Sleep, Turn out the Lights.
Then, when you get into your bed, set your intention. My intention is always for a deep, healing, relaxing sleep so that I will wake up refreshed in the morning when it is time to get up.
Follow your intention with a short breathing exercise .
Begin this sleep breathing by getting comfortable in your bed. Take a deep breath and hold it for an extra moment. When you release this breath, focus on releasing all tension and worries. Blow them far away. With the next breath, let go of any discomfort your body is holding. With every exhale, focus on the word “relax”.
Breathe in peace…breathe out relax.
Hold your breath for a moment and then repeat: Breathe in peace…breathe out relax.
Now, breathe in peace…breathe out relax.
Finally, enjoy your final peace breath and then breathe out relax.
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Do you sometimes have trouble getting through the afternoon? Maybe it’s time to invest in a healthy lunch.
A healthy lunch doesn’t have to be just an extension of an already over packed morning. A healthy lunch should be a respite from the confusion and stress of the morning leading up to the lunch hour.
TAKE A WALK – Whether you work in an office, factory, retail outlet, or home, walking is a good way to make your lunch a bit more enjoyable and healthy. Your lhealthy lunch walk doesn’t have to be long. Nor is it a substitute for food. It is a chance to change your environment and move your muscles for a few minutes.
TAKE A POWER NAP – Five or ten minutes devoted to putting one’s feet up and closing one’s eyes can change your life. No kidding. A few minutes sleeping in the middle of the day makes a lot of difference in the remainder of my day. And, it can make the same difference in yours.
MAKE YOUR LUNCH HEALTHY. Healthy, clean food can make a world of difference in how you function in the afternoon. Basically, that means you eat foods that are food. Boycott chemical laden lunches which are low in nutrition and high in calories and toxic additives.
GET AWAY FROM YOUR DESK. No matter how stressful things are, physically remove yourself from your desk for at least fifteen minutes. Take a walk. Chat with a couple of working colleagues. Make a personal call or two. Your goal is to take yourself away from the desk physically, mentally, emotionally for a few moments.
DO YOU RUN ERRANDS? Walk them if you can. The exercise you get on your lunch break will refresh you physically, mentally, and emotionally.
ARE YOU ON A DIET? Start a lunch group where you eat with other colleagues who are also interested in weight management, health, and nutrition. You can enjoy the group socially as well as support each other as you lose weight.
YOUR HEALTHY LUNCH BEGINS WITH A HEALTHY BREAKFAST. It’s much harder to eat a healthy lunch if you’ve skipped breakfast and are hungry and craving high-fat, high calorie, high carb foods. A good breakfast which includes whole grains and lean proteins will serve you well throughout the morning.
INCLUDE A HEALTHY SOUP. A healthy soup will include the protein and fiber you’ll need to get through the afternoon. The ideal soup will be broth based and will make you feel full while not wasting calories.
LEAVE YOUR BUILDING. GET OUTSIDE. Whether you are running errands, power walking, or visiting with friends, make sure you walk outside your building for a few minutes. Take a few deep breaths. Be outside. Is it raining? Snowing? Broiling hot? Whatever is happening outside your building, spend a couple of minutes experiencing this day. Enjoy a couple of minutes of this escape to recharge!
No matter how stressful your day, consider how best to use your lunch time.
Go for it!
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There are, literally, thousands of things all of us can do. It’s the small changes which add up to meaningful health improvement. I’m offering a group of changes in each blog post which you can choose from. Choose one new thing each day if you can.
My grandmother used to say to me: “You take care of the nickels and the dollars will take care of themselves.” Healthy Small Steps are the same thing. Add healthy habits or lose unhealthy habits a day at a time to change your life for the better.
Substitute A BOTTLE OF WATER for that daily soda. Water is cheaper and wonderful for your urinary health. Don’t like water? Choose tea. There are many flavors out there without sugar, artificial colors, artificial flavors, in the lineup of ingredients.
Spend five minutes every day STRETCHING. You can do this while you’re watching TV. Your joints and muscles will thank you.
Put OLIVE OIL in your salad dressings. Your food will taste better and your body will be appreciative. My olive oil is organic and comes from California. It tastes delicious. It’s nutritious. Organic olive oil is a clean food. My salads are yummy.
Do you eat cereal? Sweeten it with CINNAMON instead of sugar. Your blood sugar levels will improve a bit.
Give yourself a TREAT! Call a friend to chat. Buy yourself a flower. Have a luxurious bath with scented soap. These are all simple, inexpensive ways to reduce stress in your life.
Add a POWER NAP to your day. Spend just a few minutes each day with your feet up, your eyes closed, breathing deeply, relaxing. The remainder of your day will go easier for you!
Switch to WHOLE GRAINS. Whole grain breads and cereals taste better and offer better nutrition. What’s not to love about them?
Sniff a sprig of ROSEMARY. This will give your brain a treat. You’ll be more alert and you’ll enjoy the scent. If you can’t get a sprig of rosemary, try putting a drop of rosemary essential oil on a tissue as a substitute.
QUIT SMOKING. Okay. This one may not be so easy, but the benefits are HUGE. Go for it!
Get a good night’s SLEEP. Okay, this one may not be so easy, either. But the benefits are also HUGE. For starters, schedule enough sleep time in every daily schedule.
Try some of these tips. Lifestyle changes have multiple health benefits. I’ll be sending more along in the next blog.
And, thanks for reading this blog post.
BOOK UPDATE: The second edition of “A Healer’s Handbook” should be out this week! And, I’ve begun volume 2!
I thank all of you for this. If no one were reading this book, this blog, there would be no need for a Volume 2.
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What is healthy, anyway? We’re all concerned about our health on some level. We try to eat better, exercise more, sleep more. There are many components to good health, but, at it’s basic level, what is healthy, anyway?
For starters, a leaner body is healthy. But, losing weight and keeping it lost can seem like chasing the Fountain of Youth.
And, of course, there is the old story about Ponce de Leon finding it. The Fountain of Youth headquarters is in St. Augustine, Florida. You can go there and visit it in a park setting. But, you don’t need to travel all the way to St. Augustine to visit the Fountain of Youth. Branches are right in your own community, maybe even in your neighborhood. Every fitness center around is a branch of the fountain of youth. All you have to do is join up and use a fitness center. The sidewalk in front of your home or office is also a branch of the fountain of youth. All you have to do is get out there and walk briskly for thirty minutes or so every day.
Using your fitness center regularly or walking briskly for a half hour each day will decrease your risk of developing diabetes. This will keep you on the path toward good health. And, while you exercise to protect yourself against diabetes, skipping sugary soft drinks and juices will help. And, if you have diabetes, find out from your health care professional how much exercise you need every day to strengthen your body as you work with this disease.
Trips to a fitness center and/or the healthy walks will help you develop a healthier heart and will help you reduce your risk of heart disease.
What is healthy? Visiting your local fitness center or walking helps you feel, look, and act better. It will also reduce your cholesterol levels. Add some dietary tips when you want to be healthy and you’re thinking of cholesterol. Use olive oil more often when you substitute it for less healthy oils, for example.
A brisk daily walk will strengthen your bones. You can also garden. Actually, the more things you can think of that will get you off your seat and on your feet, the better. And, while you’re getting off your seat, try walking a little faster on the sidewalk and running a little faster on the treadmill. A more intense workout will help you feel better.
What is healthy? Lowering your stress level is one way to improve your health. Hug your pet. And, if you don’t have a pet, can you hug a neighbor’s pet? Can you go to your local pound and walk a dog there? If you go to your pound and walk a dog briskly for a half hour, you’ll be doing two beneficial things at once!
And, what about your memory? Blueberries help. So do crosswords, scrabble, your local newspaper.
And, finally, what is healthy? Connection is healthy. Humans like to be connected to one another. This can mean different things to different people. Taking a class in something will help. Meeting the other people at the fitness center will strengthen your connection to your community. There are a million ways to get connected. A church, synagogue, or temple is there waiting for you. The important thing is to share yourself.
So, here are a few ways to help you define what is healthy for yourself. Find something you like and share yourself.
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The second edition of this book is on the way! Thanks to all of you who are using this book.
Can I offer you Ten Good Tips that will improve your life significantly and still be easy to adapt to your lifestyle?
I hope so! Well, they may not all be super easy to become a part of your life but don’t hit the escape button yet. Please just read these Ten Good Tips and see how many of them you already do and how many of them will be easy for you and how many will be a challenge.
I honestly believe this list is going to be easier than you think. Just, give it a try.
Drink a cup of tea each day and then drink seven more cups of water throughout your day.
Walk 10,000 steps a day. Actually, this may be a lot easier than you think. Many people already walk 10,000 steps daily. If that doesn’t work for you, try to walk for thirty minutes every day.
Can you quit smoking? Have you already quit smoking?
Every day, sit down and put your feet up. Get quiet for five minutes. That’s all.
Reach out to a friend every day. Just to say “hi” if nothing else.
Enjoy a piece of chocolate every day.
Eliminate prefabricated foods from your diet. You know what I mean. The instant macaroni and cheese that I lovingly call “yellow death” and the canned chili with ingredient words no one can pronounce. And, don’t forget the peanut butter with an ingredient list that takes up half the label.
Switch over to olive oil based salad dressings to control cholesterol.
Skip sugary soft drinks and bubbly sodas that have sugar substitutes instead of sugar. Either way, your body won’t miss them.
Add blueberries to your diet to enhance your memory. I buy frozen wild blueberries in bulk to cut their cost. Wild ones actually have more nutrients which are found in the skins because wild blueberries are smaller than the farmed ones. I put them over plain yogurt. Love it!
I’ve added a couple extra items to the list so you’ll have a choice.
Thank you for reading this article!
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The Second Edition of “A Healer’s Handbook” should be available within about two weeks! Thanks to every for your support of this book! Thurman
Still can’t sleep? It’s turning out to be a cold winter in Woodstock this year. But, still not as cold as one would think. The snow melts between the storms.
All these temperature ups and downs invite insomnia in some people. As many articles as I’ve written about sleep, there are always more tips waiting to find space on the blog post.
Still can’t sleep? Have you changed your pillow? If you find yourself awake at night and slugging it out with your pillow, it’s time to go to a store and find one that’s just right for you. There are so many kinds of pillows out there now that a person can get confused. Don’t give up. Think about the kind of pillow you need. You’ll find it!
Sip some mild tea as you relax yourself before going to bed. Give yourself an hour to slow down your systems, calm your brain and nerves.
Still can’t sleep? Try to eat your last meal of the day about three hours before you go to bed. If you are afraid you’ll be hungry, eat a banana before you go to bed.
Wear ski socks when you go to bed. Studies show that people sleep better if their feet are warm.
Have you moved your office out of your bedroom? If not, now is a good time.
What about your curtains? Heavier curtains block light and encourage sleep.
Finally, if you have read all these blog posts about sleep, and none of the tips seem to work for you…it might be time to try a sleep center and take a sleep test.
Thanks for reading this article.
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I’ll be posting more regularly now that the reflexology book is going into it’s second edition and the hunger book is nearing the end. You’ll be reading about their availability soon!
I can blog posts until the end of time and never overestimate the benefits of a good night’s sleep. A healthy night’s rest is one of the most important things a person can do to maintain a youthful appearance and lifestyle.
- Sleep Improves your Memory. As you sleep, your brain organizes your memories for you.
2. Adopt a Sleep Schedule. Try to go to bed and get up at the same time every day. As you work on your sleep schedule, allow yourself eight hours sleep in every 24-hour period. This can be a real help because your body will soon prepare itself to sleep in the evenings when it’s time to go to bed. Your circadian schedule will really help you out here.
3. Make your bedroom dark at night. It’s easier to sleep in a darkened room. The darker you can keep your bedroom at night, the better.
4. Check your meds. There are many meds which can interfere with your normal sleep. Check the meds you’re taking. Change out any meds and/or foods and beverages which might be the culprits.
5. Nothing is more likely to induce sleep than being in the dark. Night time is when we produce melatonin.
There are things we can do to encourage sleepiness. When night approaches, keep your lights down low and avoid overhead lighting. Use dimmer switches on lights and lamps.
While you are enjoying a calming evening in a darkened room, this is a good time to enjoy softened and restful music. Or, this is a good time to do some gentle yoga stretches. Or, this is a time to do some calming breathing. Finally, this is a good time to enjoy the cool stillness of the night air, the stars in the sky, a moonlit night.
But, whatever you do, include darkness as part of your nightly routine.
6. High Blood Pressure? Sleep helps lower blood pressure and elevated stress hormones. Get treatment.
7. Valerian has a reputation for improving sleep quality. Taken properly, this may work for you.
8. Anxiety, Depression, and Tension are three common causes of insomnia. If you think you suffer from one of these, get treatment. Treating your anxiety, depression, or tension may well take care of your insomnia issues.
As you try out these different tips, remember that getting from insomnia to a good night’s sleep is a journey. You’ll find things that work and things that don’t work. And, none of it will work or not work 100% of the time.
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Thanks for reading the book.
More and more people seem to be suffering from lack of sleep. Stress is overtaking our lives, it seems. About a third of the people I encounter are battling insomnia. But, stress isn’t the only cause of insomnia. Low levels of estrogen and thyroid can rob you of your sleep. Adrenal imbalances prevent sleep. Nutritional deficiencies contribute to insomnia. And on and on and on…
With this article, I offer the first in a series of posts dedicated to suggestions you can use to assure you a better night’s sleep. You may have some client partners to share this information with also.
Some suggestions may be things you already know about. That’s okay, it’s always nice to review and update information you may have forgotten you know.
Other suggestions will be new. That’s good, too. It’s always nice to add new skills to your tool box.
But, whether they’re tried and true, or brand new, give them a try.
- Simplify your bedroom. By that, I mean: Move all your electronic devices out of your sleep space. Computers, phones, TV’s, etc., emit signals as well as lights which can disturb a good night’s sleep.
- Hide your alarm clock under your bed or in your closet. The last thing you need on a sleepless night is to be continually reminded of how quickly or slowly time is passing.
- Regular Exercise is important. Try to get at least twenty minutes of exercise daily. This habit will not only help you sleep better, but it will help you feel better during the day, too.
- Avoid caffeine, alcohol, and tobacco in the evenings. I know this sounds super boring, but this suggestion is both real and completely spot on. As evening approaches, drop the coffee, and go for other foods and beverages which are relaxing. One of my favorite bedtime snacks is a small container of plain Greek yogurt topped with whipped cream. It’s nutritious, delicious, and it never keeps me awake. If I wake up in the middle of the night, I eat this as a snack to help me go back to sleep.
- Then, there’s the old tried and true Usui Reiki Therapy. When a client complains of insomnia, offer to teach him/her Reiki. I find Reiki to be one of the best sleep aids out there. When I use Reiki as as way of going to sleep, I never make it through a session. I’m always asleep in less than 20 minutes.
- Develop winding down habits to help you prepare to be sleepy as you go to bed. This may mean a guided meditation, calming music, warm bath.
- SKIP THE SLEEPING PILLS. There are many herbal and nutritional preparations that may work for you. Try them out until you find one you like best. For your first selection, you may want to try melatonin, a product which should be taken about an hour before going to bed. Melatonin is not a sleeping pill. It will only work if you have a low melatonin level.
- Start paying attention to your sleep habits by learning when you go to bed in the evenings. Your goal is to be able to allow yourself about eight or so hours to sleep each night.
Finally, I don’t know about you, but I hate the way I feel when I don’t get enough sleep.
Thanks for reading the first in this series of sleep promoting posts. Insomnia is so prevalent these days. It’s accompanied by depression and anxiety.
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Check in regularly to learn more things you can do to get a good night’s sleep.
PS: I have more information about insomnia in my book.
Do you attend continuing education classes, workshops, sessions throughout the year? If not, you’re missing out on the most important part of self-care.
Continuing education classes not only teach us new ideas, techniques, attitudes, postures…they stimulate our minds.
Continuing education classes offer emotional and spiritual stimulation.
Continuing education classes offer networking opportunities of a quality not found anywhere else.
Every continuing education experience is reflected in better work on your client partners.
In addition, continuing education classes usually offer a chance to receive and give body work while you’re learning.
You return to your table renewed and rejuvenated.
Continuing education classes offer you a chance to expand your service skills. I am a reflexologist. This is the work I offer my client partners daily.
I am also known for being a companion animal massage therapist, a Reiki master teacher. I have been attuned to nine different forms of Reiki. Finally, I read tarot cards.
I learned all of these skills on continuing education hours.
To be honest, I’ve studied things that I don’t practice but not one minute of the continuing education hours were a bust.
I am a much better practitioner, blogger, writer, teacher because of my fellow professionals who shared their knowledge with me through continuing education classes: Jonathan Rudinger, Penelope Smith, Dawn Hayman, Mary Ruth Van Landingham, Shoshana Hathaway, Tom Rigler, Rev. Dan Chesbro, Kerrith McKechnie, Marge D’Urso, Alberto Villoldo.
So, my message is this: enrich your life, expand your practice, get continuing education hours!
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