Sleep Series #1

8 May

I cannot count how many times I have spoken with clients about the importance of sleep.  If you are not sleeping well, everything else in life becomes more difficult to navigate.  Because this is so important, I feel like I need to say this again – when you are not well rested, everything else is suffers. It is my hope that this new sleep series will be helpful to those of you who are struggling with this part of your life.

There are two different types of sleep; and the illustration below explains them well.  A full sleep cyle lasts from 90 to 120 minutes.  In order to feel rested a person typically needs between 4 and 5 full sleep cycles per night.

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What most people don’t know is that waking up in the middle of a sleep cycle can make your mornings that much more difficult.  If you can time your alarm to wake you at the end of a sleep cycle, you are likely to awake feeling rested and ready to go.  Think about a time where you naturally awoke before your alarm was set to go off.  Did you feel surprisingly revitalized?  Now, did you go back to sleep knowing that you had another 30 minutes or so before morning - only to wake to your alarm feeling exhausted?  If you have expereinced this, it is likely that on the first rising you were at the end of a sleep cycle and when your alarm did wake you it was smack in the middle of your REM sleep.

This handy calculator can help you to time your sleep in a way that greatly improves your mornings. Let me know how this works for you.

Perfect is a Myth

30 Apr

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The above photos come from this Buzzfeed post about the workplaces of historically creative people.  As I looked through each photo, I was surprised to see such drastic differences between each space.  I was inspired when I realized how imperfect each space seems. 

There are so many times in which my idea of how things SHOULD be has kept me from moving forward with a goal or decision.  I, for example, would have sat in each one of those creative spaces and told myself, “I will write/ paint/ or create once I get my room organized/ clean/ or conducive to my process.”  This means I would have likely created NOTHING. Think about how this may be true for you.  How many times have you procrastinated a task because the conditions weren’t perfect?  In what ways have you stalled your growth because you didn’t have the perfect amount of free time to devote to that class/project/relationship/struggle?

It is important that we realize “perfect” is a myth.  The conditions to grow and change will never be perfect. The conditions will be messy and often inconvenient.  Are you going to let that stop you?

P.S. I found the Buzzfeed post via this wonderful blog.

Fear of Failure

26 Apr

Did you know that the first book written by Dr. Seuss was rejected by 27 different publishers?  I was unaware of this until I came across this wonderful slide show of 26 successful people who failed at first.  I wonder how many kids would have missed out if Theodor Seuss Geisel had let rejection or fear of failure stop him?

Fear of failure can often cause significant anxiety. And this anxiety can greatly limit your achievements and experiences – IF you let it.  If you were to interview some of the most successful people in your life, they would all have two things in common. They would all tell you that they have stumbled, made mistakes, embarrassed themselves, and experienced rejection. They would tell you that they have FAILED.  They would also tell you that they did not let those failures (or the fear of future failures) keep them from moving forward.

Start each day knowing that you will both succeed and fail at something within that 24 hour period. And end each day reminding yourself of the many ways in which you met your goals for that day.

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P.S. For more about goals, see here.

Choices

18 Feb

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Let’s be honest here, life can be rough.  And often it is just when you think you have the hang of things that some new frustration rears its ugly head. While we cannot predict or control much of what goes on around us, we do have the power to choose how to respond. 

It seems paradoxical, but by accepting the responsibility of choice in your life you can often experience an amazing sense of freedom.  Once we recognize that we almost always have some sort of choice in our circumstance, we no longer play the role of victims in our lives. We become empowered. 

The quote above can serve as a motto for those of us who seem to struggle with choice.  Print it, draw your own version, journal about it. Then hang it someplace where you will see it on a regular basis.  I would love to hear how you experience this change to your perspective!

PS – If you like this quote, you may also like this book.

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Help is out there

11 Jan

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I recently came across this story while browsing the web.  Everything about rapper Freddy E’s suicide is so very sad.  According to the article Freddy E, born Eugene Buhl, had a recording contract and a successful YouTube channel.  What strikes me is that this serves as yet another reminder that anyone can experience dark, lonely moments.  Even with our many ways of staying in constant contact with each other – Twitter, YouTube, Facebook, text messages, blogs (seriously the list just continues) – how often are we really CONNECTING with each other?

Suicide is a scary and uncomfortable topic.  However, that does not mean that we should avoid talking about it.  If you or someone you know has been thinking of suicide, please do not hesitate to ask for help.  Below is a list of resources for anyone who may be looking for a way out of that dark and lonely place.  My heart goes out to all who have been affected by the tragedy of suicide; and my condolences to the friends and family Freddy E.

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-8255

Texas Suicide Prevention

It Gets Better

San Antonio Center for Health Care Services 24-hour crisis line 210-223-7233

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Making those New Year’s resolutions stick

3 Jan

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It is that time of year. The time when so many of us are creating new goals for change and calling them “New Year’s resolutions.”  Unfortunately for many of us, those resolutions will be all but forgotten in less than a month.  The good news is that there are many ways to approach a resolution that will foster success. The even better news is that you specifically CAN follow through with whatever it is that you have resolved to do.

BE SPECIFIC – When creating your resolution, be intentional about describing exactly what is it you want to change.  Instead of saying, “I want to lose weight”  try “I will exercise 3 times a week, and create healthy meal plans every Sunday.”  Instead of “I want to be more positive” try “I will keep a weekly gratitude journal.”  The more specific you are when creating your goal, the more concrete and attainable it becomes.

BE REALISTIC – Set yourself up for success by creating small realistic goals that add up to the bigger picture. By creating realistic goals for yourself you will get several success-oriented mood boosts throughout your journey.  Being realistic also means acknowledging that you are going to struggle along the way.  Don’t let small setbacks stop your progress completely. A setback can teach you about how to succeed in the future.  Learn from your mistakes and move forward.  The only real failure is not trying at all.

VISUALIZE, VISUALIZE, VISUALIZE – Images and metaphors are the language of our subconscious mind.  This subconscious is so powerful in creating meaningful and lasting change.  The subconscious mind is where patterns often live and breathe. What this means is that if you can imagine vivid pictures of your goal, you are that much closer to breathing life into the pattern you are wanting to create.

When imagining the change you want to see in your life, it can be incredibly helpful to channel this onto paper.  My favorite ways to do this are by creating a vision board and engaging in artwork.  Remember, it’s about the PROCESS not the product.

GET AN ACCOUNTABLITY PARTNER – Tell someone who has a positive influence in your life about your goal and offer to exchange motivational support. Set up specific times during the day, week, or month in which you can check in with each other to talk about your progress and struggles on your journey.  Make sure to tell your partner about the specifics of your goal (for example, I will exercise 2 times this week before work). This sets you up to be held accountable for moving forward with your plans.

WATCH YOUR LANGUAGE – I cannot tell you how many times a small word such as “can’t” has stood directly in the way between a person and their goals.  Pay attention to the things you tell yourself. Every time you start to say “I can’t…” try changing that to “I choose not to…”  Take responsibility for your choices and you will be amazed at the sense of empowerment you may start to experience.

SEEK PROFESSIONAL GUIDANCE – Whatever your goals, there is likely someone who has helpful information for you.  Nutritionists, doctors, teachers, money managers, counselors – all out there just waiting to serve you.  There are also so many online resources and support systems that are accessible for free. Take advantage of the resources around you.

Take the first step today toward your resolution and post it in the comments section below.

(image found here)

Hello

29 Nov

Hi and thank you for taking the time to visit my blog. If  you are curious about me, please feel free to venture over to the “about” page of this blog. I am a counselor in the San Antonio area, and I have chosen to start this blog in an effort to connect with others who may be seeking counseling.

 

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