Sleeping is one of my favourite activities, although I don’t seem to get a lot of quality sleep. I have found throughout the years that are a few things that will help me feel a bit better.
Change your sheets and pyjamas often – nothing like the feeling of clean sheets to help you have a good night’s sleep.
Avoid electronic devices – or at least install apps that will diminish the blue light on your screens such as Twilight for your phone or f.lux for your computer.
Change your pillows often – to avoid allergies and dust mites accumulating.
Avoid spending time in your bedroom when not sleeping – it’s a tough one for me, though as I end up sitting around watching Netflix on my bed.
Nap if you must but not for long – go for power naps of 20 minutes instead to feel refreshed.
Get the best mattress you can afford – this is possibly the best money you’ll ever spend in your life. Be it a mattress for adjustable beds, memory foam, or springs, you need to find what works best for you.
Avoid thinking about work or problems before sleep – or insomnia and anxiety might occur.
Do some light exercise before bed – yoga or something that will relax your body.
Take a hot bath – since I started taking a bath in the evenings instead of showering in the morning, I feel much more relaxed when I go to bed.
Meditate – there are some great free apps out there to help you relax and unwind at the end of the day.
Avoid drinking alcohol – I have been avoiding drinking the odd glass of wine, particularly on school nights as I have noticed that it affects the quality of my sleep. There is a reason why this happens.
Avoid drinking too many fluids before bedtime – or you’ll be getting up in the middle of the night to use the bathroom. I keep making this same mistake!
Find the best positions for you – it is important to pay attention to your spine, to avoid pain and waking up feeling refreshed. The following video has quite a few good tips:
What are your favourite tips – what did I miss?
PS: extra points to anyone who knows which song the title came from PSS: this post has been made in collaboration with Adjustablebeds.co.uk, words and opinions my own.
In the depths of Winter, I finally learned that within me lay an invincible Summer.
Happy New Year! I’m glad to see 2016 behind me, as it was such a difficult year personally. Ever since I got diagnosed with cancer in September 2015, I kept pushing forward to get back to normal and regain my energy and had so many plans for my life… But like heavyweight champion Mike Tyson said, “Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the mouth.” And what happened feels like it.
The last two months of the year were spent off work due to burnout. I had been feeling ran down physically and ended up having a lot of symptoms that turned out to be burnout.
It was easy to understand why: coping with a long-term illness, the treatment side effects and stress at work led me to a state of complete mental exhaustion. Turns out I’m not even on my own on this, and there are other countless women suffering the same things that I have been.
So, my GP upped my meds, sent me home and I had to find a way of pulling myself out of it. I am not one to think that positive thinking alone can resolve all your problems, especially when the problem is depression or cancer. If that was enough, anyone with depression would merely just think themselves better and that’s not how it works. But I also knew that I had to take active steps to get better.
The good news is that I’m back at work and feeling a lot better, after a couple of months of taking care of myself and taking steps to improve wellness in my life. Everyone is different and I don’t think that what I’ve done is an infallible recipe for everyone but if by writing down what I did gives anyone else some ideas on how to deal with their own situation, it will be worth it.
How I’ve been getting over it:
Reduced my commitments, social and work – rest is precious and if you are able to reduce hours at work, do so. I am currently working 4 days per week and although I don’t get paid as much, the extra time does a world of difference.
Took time off work – as long as I needed to feel better. If you’re exhausted you’ll only get worse and your productivity will dip anyway. Ask your doctor for help, they are usually understanding and happy to help you get better.
Sleep well and enough – sometimes it’s easier said than done if you’ve got a tendency to be an insomniac. Take naps when you feel you need to. I spent two weeks mostly sleeping initially and it did me a world of good. Don’t overdo it though, as you can’t just stay in bed for the rest of your life, as tempting as that prospect might be.
Pampered myself – Had my nails done at the salon and had myself a facial at Mayfair Aesthetics. As I had health problems, I am not allowed to do any laser facial rejuvenation treatments but I had a regular facial and it’s extremely relaxing. I’m happy that they were careful to advise me not to do anything more complicated that could have consequences.
Went out for walks – now that I live in East London, it’s a lot easier to go out and walk for a bit to get the cardiovascular system pumping and the endorphins flowing by going street art hunting.
Avoided isolating myself – Even when I was mostly sleeping, I was using social media as a lifeline to not feel so isolated. Also have a lot of good things to say about my housemates, who were lovely and understanding during this low time. Slowly I started going out for short periods of time and seeing friends and that really helped.
Started eating better – I saw a nutritionist doctor (an actual NHS doctor, not just someone who read a couple of books about nutrition), courtesy of Mayfair Aesthetics. I did a food journal for a week and then together looked at the things I was doing wrong and doing well. At this point, I wasn’t interested in weight loss as much as i’m interested in feeling more energetic and just maintaining my weight, as the meds made me a bit heavier. I came back with personalised advice and feel a lot better for it!
Examined my priorities – I’ve started putting myself first and tried to eliminate superfluous sources of stress and complication.
Started doing more art – I’ve written before about how I got into street art and my therapist had advised me to spend more time doing art to help rebuild my confidence and sense of personal well-being. I did so and ended up doing an art market, getting a piece into an exhibition in a gallery in London and sold a few pieces to a couple of US Instagram friends. This did wonders for my self-esteem and confidence. Art really is the best therapy!
I am now kinder to myself – I avoid stressful situations and try to not be too hard on myself when I don’t accomplish all the items on my always endless to-do list. Taking it easy is my motto for 2017!
Simplifying my life – I love clothes and shoes but as before, I’m working hard to reduce the amount I own, by not buying as much as before and passing items on to friends or the charity shop. I still have too much for the amount of space I have but it’s definitely getting a lot better! Also, the Mari Kondo folding method is the best thing ever.
I’m sure there are many other things I could be doing to recover (if you have any great suggestions, please let me know in the comments) but these so far have been helpful. I’m not entirely well just yet as I have some difficulty dealing with stress still, but it’s a work in progress and I’m doing my best to help myself.
PS: I was a guest at Mayfair Aesthetics but words and opinions are my own.
Whether you work at home or in an office, it’s important to pick the most appropriate furniture for each situation in order to create an environment that is comfortable and appealing. If you’ve been reading my blog, you will know that I’ve been redecorating and putting together my little studio in my house. For me, colour and light are important, as well as making the most of the available storage for all the artwork pieces as well as materials yet to be used. It also needs to be comfortable and inviting, as well as easy to tidy up and maintain.
For anyone looking to improve an office space, taking comfort into consideration is also extremely important, as most people spend the majority of their days at work. This will not only will improve general wellbeing but will also help prevent sickness and promote productivity.
An office chair that’s ergonomic and appropriate for the type of work is the key piece on every workstation. A good chair will prevent back pain and tiredness and as such, it’s best to invest as much as you can in it.
To read a few interesting facts on office chairs, click to read the E-book “The Most Important Piece of Furniture in Your Office” after the jump.
Most people spend the majority of their lives at work and for that reason, it is important to work in an environment that is designed with staff wellbeing in mind. This is important as it not only benefits staff’s general and mental health but will also be good for employers – a healthy and comfortable employee will experience lower levels of stress and as such, become more motivated and productive. In a fast paced city it is important to provide workspaces that are pleasant so to have an office fit out in London (a particularly fast and stressful city, I should know) there are a few things and ideas that can be taken into consideration. To have a look at an infographic with a few How To suggestions on how the office design affects a worker’s wellbeing, click through the jump!
Sara Doucette is a frequent blogger and an occasional illustrator. She spends 50% of time daydreaming of art projects and petting random cats on the street and the other 50% documenting it all on Instagram.