Monthly Archives

June 2015

Solutions to Stress Management…Eat, Sleep, Breathe.

By | Blog Post

Are you struggling with job pressures, arranging childcare, taking care of ill family members, over commitments, or financial issues? How about positive life changes such as, a new job, a new relationship, or moving into a new house? The non-stop pace of modern society causes most of us to experience challenges with stress throughout the year. The ever-increasing demands of daily life trigger our “fight-or-flight” response; our internal alarm system. This response sets off a biological chain reaction – marked increase in blood pressure and production of the hormone, cortisol. High cortisol levels and high blood pressure are not healthy on a prolonged basis. For many of us our alarm system rarely shuts off. Thankfully, there are tools at our disposal that we can use to reset our alarm system.

Identify Your Stress Triggers
With the body always on high alert, it’s imperative that you learn and practice stress management techniques before stress gains control over your life. Learning to identify your stress triggers is the first step. The hassles you face each day are a good starting point. Often, they are the easiest to recognize and take measures against to minimize or avoid. In some cases, you may not be able to control stress factors- but you can change how you react to the situation. Try writing a “Dear John” break up letter to one of your top stress triggers:
Dear Stress, It’s time for us to break up. I don’t want to continue letting you control my mood. You are not a positive influence in my daily routine, and while you may stick around, I will no longer allow you to make my blood boil. You are simply not worth sacrificing my health!
Stress Relief Techniques
There are many stress relief and relaxation techniques available, and no doubt you’ve heard of many of them before, however putting them into practice in your daily life often takes professional help and guidance. Many of us are so stressed out that we devour fast food or skip meals altogether. Take the time to cook a healthy meal with leftovers for lunch. Sit down with your family for dinner and cut out late night snacks- stressed is desserts spelled backwards. Good nutrition takes care of many physical issues and contributes to an overall sense of well-being.
How well you sleep affects your stress levels as well. More than 60% of Americans have trouble falling asleep. At Solutions Wellness Center we teach proven sleep wellness practices, also called, “Sleep Hygiene,” that are relatively simple to incorporate into your daily bedtime rituals. You can control your sleep environment, your preparation for bed, what you eat or drink before trying to fall asleep, and exercising at the right times. Seven to eight hours of sleep does wonders as you face those stress triggers in the morning and throughout the day.
Remember to pause and breathe deeply. Once adopted, this simple habit leads to a more relaxed state, especially during times of stress. Simply smiling or laughing, though difficult during tough times, can provide substantial benefit to reducing stress. It is true that laughter is the best medicine.
Solutions to Stress Management is a two-hour class that provides practical tips and solutions to dealing with and controlling stress. For a full schedule of our Wellness classes, go to www.solutionsandme.com/wellness-classes/class-calendar/ and check out all of our upcoming classes. You can also call 970.249.4449 to inquire about the next sessions.

Solutions to Sleep Wellness – Taking Control of Your Nights

By | Blog Post

“Sweet dreams are made of this . . . everybody’s looking for something.”  Remember the 80’s song by the Eurhythmics?  If you have “searched the seven seas” for the answer to a good night’s sleep then read on for some simple solutions that could improve your overall wellness.

Are you among the overwhelming 62% of American adults who suffer from difficulties related to sleep?  Even more alarming is the fact that sleep loss issues currently cost U.S. employers more than $18 billion in lost productivity.

If you can identify with one or more of the difficulties below, then it’s time to learn how to fall asleep well and stay asleep (7-8 hours recommended for adults):

  • I have problems falling asleep at night because I just don’t feel tired.
  • I wake up soon after I have fallen asleep and then I can’t get back to sleep.
  • I wake up early in the morning long before I want to get up and I just can’t get back to sleep.
  • I snore so loudly that it disrupts my sleep and/or the sleep of those around me.
  • I frequently have nightmares or horrible dreams.
  • I sleepwalk.
  • I don’t feel well rested in the morning even if I have gone to bed early and slept at least nine hours.
  • I have trouble staying awake during the day.

Strategies to help you fall asleep and stay asleep really come down to four things:

  1. Environment
  2. Diet
  3. Exercise
  4. Preparation for sleep

Your sleeping environment has to do with the lighting, sounds, temperature, and your sleeping surface. These are easy things to change, and will result in a much more restful night’s sleep. Simple tasks like getting rid of flashing lights from electronics such as DVD players or electronic clocks and stopping any wakeful activity done in the bed, like reading or watching TV.  Such wakeful activities can actually trick the body and mind into associating the bed with other things that keep you awake.

Many problems associated with falling asleep can be traced back to food or other chemical intake that occurs within two to three hours before the attempt to fall asleep.  One should avoid stimulants like caffeine, nicotine, and foods high in carbohydrates or simple sugars.

Exercise can both help and hinder the sleep process.  When engaged in at least several hours prior to the Hour of Sleep (HOS) exercise makes a person feel tired and sleepy, and can aid to the sensation of a good night’s rest.  However, if engaged in too close to the HOS, exercise can also have the effect of heightening a person’s wakefulness- making it more difficult for them to fall asleep.

Preparation for sleep is perhaps the most important strategy.  Healthy preparation includes: scheduling, relaxing bed time rituals, guided imagery, progressive muscle relaxation, self-hypnosis, and cognitive self-therapy.

Solutions to Sleep Wellness is a three session, (six-hour) course that will guide you through the process of keeping and analyzing a sleep journal, strategies for waking up, and developing your personal plan for sleep hygiene. For a full schedule of our Wellness classes, go to www.solutionsandme.com/wellness-classes/class-calendar/ and check out all of our upcoming classes. You can also call 970.249.4449 to inquire about the next sessions.