Finally Get to Sleep

SleepSleep. It’s the elusive thing we drool about like we used to drool over chocolate cake and celebrity crushes. But the more we hear about its importance (e.g. a deficient amount causes everything from diabetes to heart disease not to mention exacerbating anxiety and depression.), the harder it is to surrender to slumber.

Insomnia has always been an wanted visitor in my house. But with two little kids, it seems ever present. The fear of inadequate sleep and having to take care of them turns nighttime into a battle. I worry about having enough energy to catch up after them. I worry that I will never heal from my illness. And then it’s morning and my fears have come true.

If you’re like me struggling with sleep, wanting it, but not knowing how to get it, I’ve gathered a few tips from experts. Let me know if you like it, tried it and if it helps.

This Very Well article talks about everything on sleep and insomnia. Scroll down to get to the good part-actual treatments for sleep. There are things there you might have already heard of like naps, aromatherapy and sleep environment, but there are a few I’ve never heard of. Click on chronotherapy, for example, and find out how delaying sleep by two to three hours can actually be beneficial or sleep restriction, restricting how long you’re actually in bed can increase your sleep efficiency.

I also recommend listening to Jeff Goins podcast The Portfolio Life, in case you’re not already. While he talks about a lot of relevant topics for creatives, this one in particular addresses sleep. In it, he interviews health and sleep expert Shawn Stevenson about the critical importance of sleep, and how to get it. If you’re a busy mom who doesn’t have time to listen to the whole thing, here are the highlights:

  1. Exercise in the morning. Even 5 minutes is enough to get you to sleep better at night.
  2. Eliminate caffeine or limit it to the morning. The effect of caffeine can last up to 6 hours after you drink it.
  3. Turn off electronics before bed. Research shows the light from it shuts down melatonin, which you need to get a restful night’s rest. There is a software called f.lux, which can help block out the blue glow from your computer.
  4. Create a bedtime routine. Yes it’s another thing we do for our kids, which we don’t do for ourselves. But consistent routine sets our mind and body for sleep.
  5. Your gut can affect sleep. Digestion is imperative for restful sleep. There are several articles online on how to clean up your gut.

Arianna Huffington published a book called, “The Sleep Revolution” and Shawn Stevenson also has a book called, “Sleep Smarter.” I have yet to read these, but will be in my to-read cue. If you’ve read one or both, please let me know what you think.

Happy slumber!

*Update – here is another resource with natural treatments for sleep.

 

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Easy Mother’s Day Craft Even Your 3-Year-Old Can Do

I saw a beautiful beaded necklace in a catalog and wanted to get it. Until I saw the price. It was over a hundred dollars!

Taking a second look I realized I might be able to do it and possibly even get my son involved.

A trip to the craft store later and I was set.

The best part?

I had most of the materials. And if you have ribbon, paint (I used kids washable paint) and paint brush then you will have most things too.

I purchased wooden beads (make sure they have holes through them) for about $8 and then I was ready.

The hardest part?

Getting my 3-year-old to stop playing with his toys to do it.

Once he started though, like most toddlers, he was game. He painted most of the beads and then I taught him how to roll it around the paint to create a marble effect. He chose the colors and I strung the whole thing together. It was so fun-I’m definitely doing it again for grandma on Mother’s Day.

Homemade Valentine's necklace

 

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No Backlash Backsplash

It’s funny how nature’s perfection can inspire me to be courageously imperfect.

Like doing my backsplash, for example.

I’ve never done it before and I’m horrible and cutting straight.

But when I saw things like this:

It made me inspired to tackle a kitchen backsplash. Peel and stick ones (I got mine from Home Depot) are super easy I’ve found. It literally just takes cutting with an x-acto knife, peeling the back and sticking it onto a clean surface. I’m really happy with it. But I’ll let you know how it goes after a few weeks of aggressive use.

Backsplash

If you remember, then you must have followed my blog for awhile. This is how our kitchen used to look after the remodel and before a ton of kids:

{Nearly done.}

These chicken wire cabinets have the same shape as the new backsplash. Happy accidents are the best!
Kitchen cabinets

 

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How to Save the World and Yourself

red_coatWe encourage entrepreneurs and businesses to discover what makes a product or service unique so they can stand out from the competition.

Yet, as kids we’re raised to shave down our individuality so we can fit in and belong. It’s not good to be too smart or too funny. It’s not good to be different. If we sparkle a little too much, we make others uncomfortable.

But to be successful in the world (and I mean in every definition of the word) we need to be genuine. We need to find the thing we have that others don’t because that’s what the world is starving for.

We need less John and Jane Does and more Sabrinas and Zeniths.

We need people who are courageous enough to embrace their strengths.

If I want anything for my children, it is to know what makes them weird makes them special.

You could spend years trying to replicate someone else’s success. But you will find your own when you free yourself.

That inner soul who loves to sing, draw, dance or stand up for people’s rights, make others laugh or write poetry in a delightfully odd way, that’s the missing piece of your own puzzle. That’s the gift you were given. It’s what the world hasn’t yet seen. So we need you to be brave enough to risk showing it.

My favorite lines from The Neverending Story:

The Childlike Empress: Bastian. Why don’t you do what you dream, Bastian?
Bastian: But I can’t, I have to keep my feet on the ground!
The Childlike Empress: Call my name. Bastian, please! Save us!
Bastian: All right! I’ll do it! I’ll save you! I will do what I dream!

Dear readers,

Please face your fears. Stand up for yourself. Believe in your dreams.

We’re all waiting for you to discover it, recover it and reveal it to the world.

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Reusing Your Kid’s Drawings

Valentine's cards I don’t know about you, but I’ve been at war with my son’s art. It was becoming an insurmountable pile of daily school drawings. Hating to discard it, I’ve come up with one creative way to reuse it.

In three words-homemade greeting cards.

Since Valentine’s was around the corner, I thought it was a simple way to incorporate my son’s drawings. Also, it would prevent me from having to buy cards that would end up in the trash.

I just happened to have the free (sort of since I had to pay for shipping) personalized notecards I got from Shutterfly. Then, I cut hearts from the paper and glued them on. Stamps and some washi tape finished it off.

Each card was slightly different and all were imperfect. I think in the end they made great cards for 3-year-olds.

 

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A Gift With Multiple Benefits

Crafts for good causesIt’s been a month since Christmas, but hiding under my bed is a gift I’ve been anticipating since before the holidays.

I first heard about Little Loving Hands from author Glennon Doyle Melton’s Momastery newsletter. It was one of her picks for “Good Gifts.”

This week, I finally gave my son and I the gift of doing something together for someone else. Inside the box, was two crafts: 1) wooden hearts for painting into memory cards 2) felt for creating a “Love” pillow After they are completed, the handmade gifts go to Enchanted Makeovers for children and families in homeless shelters.

It was the perfect craft for my three year old. It gave us something to do together. It helped teach him the importance of compassion. And after it’s done, you send it off so you don’t have to worry about more crafts filling up your home.

He says our next big project should be building a house for the families.

There’s a lot not working well in the world. This will not solve everything. But teaching my child empathy and spending quality time together makes me feel like I’m cultivating hope in the world. And I am grateful for that.

Little Loving Hands

*I was not paid to write this post. I just really love it. 

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Addiction to Doing

BeesI’ve come from a long line of them. Workers. Busy bees. One of the reasons why I named this blog, “The Inspiring Bee,” is people buzzing around was normal to me.

So many hot afternoons on Kauai with my grandmother clanging pots, mixing azuki beans and opening the oven door to let out heat and sweet manju. Either that or she was cleaning. There were always floors that needed sweeping, dishes that needed cleaning or laundry that needed to be washed.

Doing meant living. Sitting was equatable to death.

I think that’s how it started-my insistence on doing.

I think that’s why it took an autoimmune disease to stop me.

I was in remission for two whole years before the holidays knocked me off my feet. Obligations, and unhealthy eating were more than my body could handle.

For two weeks and counting, I ended up bedridden. It was a miserable beginning to 2017.

After cursing my illness, I can honestly say I’m grateful.

It is a reminder that being is every bit as important as doing. In 2016, there were days where I’d hike, bike and swim with my boys. But then I would do it until I crashed and end up holed up in my room watching the sun rise and fall.

I’m returning to the lazy me. The girl who my grandmother called, “Lazy bones,” for lying on the couch watching her work. I need her to keep me from doing too much. I need her to remind me that being, just breathing is also a magical, spiritual experience.

For when we stop to breathe, we notice the things we take for granted.

The wind.

The sound of your working heart.

The intuitive knowing that speaks when you listen.

If you give yourself time to savor a cup of warm tea, sit in silence and lie down in reverie, you will hear the call of your heart. You will find energy that you try to gain from Starbucks. And you will reconnect with the part of you, you thought was lost.

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