30 Day Challenge – Week 4 – Final Results

We shouldn’t put off until tomorrow that which we can start today.

This is the final post in a series. Read the initial post, Week 1, Week 2, and Week 3.

30 day challenge - week 2 results (2)

It is said to take anywhere from  21 – 66 days to build a new habit, with the time really varying from person to person. I started this 30 day journey as a way to get back on track with some of my daily habits that had slipped lately and refocus my priorities. I wanted to concentrate on the following:

  • Gratitude: I had lapsed from writing daily gratitudes
  • Mindful eating: I wasn’t logging my food
  • Fitness: I had added some extra pounds I wanted to lose
  • Mindset: I wanted to see if yoga would be more beneficial for all of my ailments than my typical mindless treadmill walking
  • Rest: I wanted to get my sleep habits back on track

So here is my final check-in of my 30 day personal challenge for the month of April. Continue reading “30 Day Challenge – Week 4 – Final Results”

30 Day Challenge – Week 3

This is the fourth in a series. Read the initial post, Week 1 Progress, and Week 2 Progress.

30 day challenge - week 2 results (1)

A set-back is defined as a reversal in your progress. This past week I experienced a bit of a set back, that I wrote about in my post on The Challenge of Slowing DownI hurt my back, came down with strep and inflamed vocal chords, and was ordered to go home and rest my voice. Then came the fibromyalgia flare. And then word that one of my cousins, who is just a few years older than me, died unexpectedly. Talk about some stress on the body.

This is what happens when you ignore the little voices in your head telling you to take it easy. Take a day off. Get some rest. If I had rested sooner, maybe I wouldn’t have developed strep and lost my voice, maybe I wouldn’t have gone into full fibro flare mode.

“Temporary set backs are overshadowed by persistence.” ~Quentin L. Cook

Continue reading “30 Day Challenge – Week 3”

30 Day Challenge – Week 2

This is the third in a series. Read the initial post and Week 1 Progress.

30 day challenge - week 2 results (2)

Here is my Week 2 check-in of my 30 day personal challenge for the month of April.

“Difficult roads often lead to beautiful destinations.” ~Zig Ziglar

Difficult roads

Continue reading “30 Day Challenge – Week 2”

30 Day Challenge – Week 1 Results

This challenge is about being DELIBERATE. It’s about finding some peace with myself, my body, my physical capabilities, and my limitations.

I made it through week 1!

This is the second in a series. Read the initial post here. 

My body is wearing out. Since 2000 when I was diagnosed with a herniated disc in my lower back and a few months later fibromyalgia, my body seems to have been on a steady decline. I used to be a treadmill warrior, committed to reaching those 10,000 steps a stay so my Fitbit would say “Nice job, Cindy!”. Well injuries and physical therapy and doctors recommendations to try something else have convinced me that perhaps I needed to fold up the treadmill for good. Or at least for the next 30 days…

So I embarked on my 30 Day Challenge with these guidelines: Continue reading “30 Day Challenge – Week 1 Results”

30 Day Challenge to a Better, Stronger Me

I am embarking on a personal challenge for the month of April, to try to tweak some of my habits, to be more consistent with my practices. As JJ Virgin always says, “Little hinges swing big doors.” Sometimes those little tweaks make a big difference!

Continue reading “30 Day Challenge to a Better, Stronger Me”

It Begins with Sleep

I have taken a very deliberate break from blogging and social media lately, as the demands of my day job have been consuming my time and energy. And much like others at the beginning of every new year, I have been trying to lose a few stubborn pounds that have crept on. I already have a pretty healthy diet and exercise program, so I decided reducing stress and getting some extra sleep might just be the two missing factors. And when your schedule is already overflowing and you need some extra Zzzzs, something has to give – for me that was writing and browsing social media.

But, with Sleep Awareness Week around the corner it was time to write a new post…. Continue reading “It Begins with Sleep”

How to Sleep Better

“Sleep is the Golden Chain that binds health and our bodies together.”

I fully intended to get this blog posted back in May during Better Sleep month but, as is often the case, life got in the way. I have struggled for years with getting good quality sleep. There are nights where I just cannot fall asleep, and others where I just can’t stay asleep. While the ideal amount is between 7-9 hours for most, I still average about 6 hours a night. More than 7 hours of sleep, and I feel out of sorts. Lately I have been much better about sleeping through the night, since incorporating some simple strategies.

Those who suffer with fibromyalgia syndrome know how difficult it can be to get a good night’s sleep. In fact, sleep disturbances are one of the common symptoms associated with the condition, which then compounds the daytime fatigue. But allowing the body to rest and recharge at night is so critical to everyone’s physical and mental health, not just those with fibromyalgia.counting-sheep-1

“Sleep is the Golden Chain that binds health and our bodies together.”

~ Thomas Dekker

Health Benefits

That old saying “early to bed, early to rise makes your body healthy, wealthy, and wise” is more than just an old wives’ tale. Here’s a list of health benefits from getting adequate sleep:

  • It can help you fight off diseases
  • It can help improve your mood
  • It can lower your risk for obesity and help you lose weight
  • It can decrease inflammation
  • It allows the body to repair itself from stress and ultraviolet exposure

“By helping us keep the world in perspective, sleep gives us a chance to refocus on the essence of who we are. And in that place of connection, it is easier for the fears and concerns of the world to drop away.”
Arianna Huffington

Getting those Zzzz’s

While you sleep, your body is working to heal itself, build up your immune system, and recharge your brain cells. Now the struggle is that people with fibromyalgia have trouble falling and staying asleep. We often don’t reach that deep sleep stage required for all of the restorative health benefits. There are a myriad of underlining conditions that could be preventing you from getting a good night’s rest:

  • Health Issues such as allergies, sleep apnea, asthma, narcolepsy, or hormone imbalance
  • Physical Issues such as chronic or acute pain, or certain prescription drugs
  • Mental Issues such as depression, stress, or anxiety
  • Environmental Issues such as too much light in your room, drinking alcohol or caffeine, or performing shift work

So assuming you don’t need to have a medical condition checked out, how do you improve your sleep, to reap those benefits? Getting into a routine helps. Here are some simple strategies that might help you establish that routine:

  • Go to bed and get up at the same time each day.
  • Set a regular bedtime routine.
  • Curb the electronics in the bedroom, that is no TV, iPad, etc. before bed.
  • Keep your bedroom comfortable, quiet, dark and cool.
  • Avoid heavy meals close to bedtime, and don’t eat 3 hours before bed.
  • Exercise daily.
  • Avoid caffeine and alcohol.
  • Do not use tobacco.

“Golden Slumbers fill your eyes. Smiles await when you rise.” ~ The Beatles

Bedtime Routines

As we age we need less sleep, but we still need good quality sleep. Uninterrupted sleep. One of the best habits is to take a warm bath or shower before bed. This raises the body temperature, and then allows it to cool down faster, which helps you reach that deep sleep. Couple that with some aromatherapy, and you should feel relaxed and calm for bedtime. I developed my routine after reading Arianna Huffington’s book Thrive that discussed redefining success and details her wake-up call. She has another book called The Sleep Revolution that undoubtedly has more information on the subject of sleep as well.

Here are some of my favorite bedtime and bath aids:

So go draw a bath, sip some tea, rub some lavender oil between your toes and get a good night’s sleep. These are my tried and true methods. You’ll thank me in the morning!

For more sleep strategies, visit the National Sleep Foundation,”The F Word” blog and Sarah’s Fibromyalgia Sleep Chronicles series, or listen to JJ Virgin’s podcast with Arianna Huuffington – two big proponents of sleep!  Do you have other sleep strategies you use?

Cheers!

Cynthia