4 Steps to Improving Your Mental Health Through Better Sleep

When we don’t get enough quality sleep, most of us worry primarily about how tired we’ll feel the next day. It’s only when it becomes an ongoing, chronic issue that some of us start to realize the mental impact of poor sleep. It’s not just that we feel low, stressed, or unfocused: Research has shown that sleep deprivation could be a cause of certain psychological disorders as well as a symptom of it. Luckily, a few simple changes to your sleep habits and environment can be enough to improve your quality of sleep, and in turn ensure your mental well-being. 

Guest Post by: Stephanie Haywood from MyLifeBoost.com

Photo Credit: Photo via Unsplash.

When we don’t get enough quality sleep, most of us worry primarily about how tired we’ll feel the next day. It’s only when it becomes an ongoing, chronic issue that some of us start to realize the mental impact of poor sleep. It’s not just that we feel low, stressed, or unfocused: Research has shown that sleep deprivation could be a cause of certain psychological disorders as well as a symptom of it. Luckily, a few simple changes to your sleep habits and environment can be enough to improve your quality of sleep, and in turn ensure your mental well-being. 

Dr. Stacy can help you create a personalized mental map to help you reach your health and fitness goals. Schedule an appointment today!

Make Your Bed as Comfortable as Possible

Start with the obvious. If you want to sleep well, you need to make sure your bed is perfectly suited for it. If you haven’t switched mattresses in a while, you may want to invest in one of the new “bed in a box” models. Next, focus on your pillows. According to Good Housekeeping, the key to a good pillow is providing a neutral alignment with your spine. In general, this means side sleepers need thicker, firmer pillows, and stomach sleepers will need thinner pillows. 

Assess Your Environment

Your room should be geared toward restful sleep. If there’s too much light, try installing blackout curtains. Noisy city dwellers could benefit from a white noise machine. Too warm at night? Open your windows or get a fan.

If you get too warm or too cold during the night, you may want to invest in a fan or portable heater. Alternatively, if you fear expensive electric bills, something as simple as opening the window or buying warmer pajamas can make a world of difference. 

Last but not least, make sure that you keep your bedroom organized. Disorganization can lead to you experiencing feelings of anxiety, which can very easily disrupt your sleep. In addition to keeping your room clutter-free, make sure you take the time to clean your bedroom doors and windows. Every little bit can make the space more relaxing.

Create a Relaxing Bedtime Ritual

If you tend to lie awake in bed going over the day’s problems, your problem has less to do with your environment and more to do with the state of mind you are in when you go to bed. In order to prepare your mind for sleep, create a bedtime ritual that relaxes you and winds you down. 

You could, for example, have a soothing herbal tea with sleep-inducing properties, such as chamomile, passionflower, lavender, lemongrass, or valerian root. You could also take a long hot bath or shower or read a few pages of a book. A few stretches can also be extremely effective, and they have the added bonus of soothing sore or tense muscles. You can do knee-to-chest stretches for lower back pains, lunges for sore glutes, and child’s pose for releasing neck tension. 

Once you’re in bed, meditation can be an extremely effective way to stop spiraling thoughts. Popular meditation app Headspace has an entire section dedicated to sleep, including guided meditations as well as relaxing sounds and music. If guided meditation isn’t your thing, try taking some deep breaths to clear your head and relax your body. 

Get Moving

Your quality of sleep is not just linked to your bedtime habits. What you do throughout the rest of the day also matters. The best example of this is exercise. In itself, exercise is excellent for both your physical and mental health. However, regular exercise is also linked to good sleep, with several studies showing that people who work out tend to sleep better.

It doesn’t matter when you work out, and it doesn’t even have to be intense exercise. As long as you do it regularly, you will likely see an improvement in your quality of sleep within a few weeks. 

Every night, our minds and bodies have the opportunity to rest, reset, and process the day’s events. If your environment and habits aren’t geared to allow this, it is going to be a lot more difficult for you to get the sleep you need to feel mentally well. Start by identifying what your barriers to sleep are, and then address each one individually until you have perfected your sleep routine. Your mind will thank you. 

No Gym? No Problem: 
You Can Do These Workouts Anywhere!

Staying fit during COVID-19 can feel almost impossible. In many places across the country, gyms are still closed. Others are open, but some people just aren’t willing to take the risk of heading back just yet. However, staying active is as important as ever — if not more. Not only does it keep us healthy and fit, but it’s also one of the best mental health tools at our disposal. Regular exercise significantly reduces the intensity of anxiety and depression. 

Guest Post by: Jason Lewis of StrongWell.org

Photo Credit: Pexels

Staying fit during COVID-19 can feel almost impossible. In many places across the country, gyms are still closed. Others are open, but some people just aren’t willing to take the risk of heading back just yet. However, staying active is as important as ever — if not more. Not only does it keep us healthy and fit, but it’s also one of the best mental health tools at our disposal. Regular exercise significantly reduces the intensity of anxiety and depression. 

Studio B offers fitness treatment and training to help keep you going with your regimen at home. Contact us for more information! 970-422-1761

Clarify Your Goals 

A plan is the first step on the path to success. Without a plan in place, you’re setting yourself up for failure — at worst — and settling back into poor habits that got you here in the first place. Sit down with pencil and paper in hand and clarify your goals.

Warming Up 

The last thing you want is to sustain injury when first jumping into a new workout regimen. Get your body ready to move. 

  • Warm up every time you exercise to prevent injury
  • If you exercise in the morning, try a yoga workout to wake your muscles up. 
  • Stretching before and after a workout is important for maintaining your flexibility. 

Upping Your Heart Rate 

Good cardio is one of the core foundations of a long, healthy life. Not only is it important for a healthy heart and increased “good” cholesterol, your endurance will increase, which makes future workouts much less taxing.

  • Figure out your target heart rate and use a fitness tracker to keep tabs on it. 
  • Running, jogging, and biking are all great ways to enjoy cardio outdoors
  • Few other types of exercise induce sweating like cardio, so be sure you’re wearing soft, flexible and breathable workout clothes and undies.

Strength Training 

You can gain muscle anywhere. Choose one or more areas to target and use a variety of weights and other equipment to optimize overall body strength.

  • Building muscle allows you to burn more calories at rest. 
  • You can set up a home gym with your favorite equipment.
  • Make sure your home gym stays tidy and decluttered so that you don’t experience jumps in your stress levels during your workouts. 
  • There are also bodyweight routines that provide a great no-equipment solution. 

Eventually, we’ll all be able to get back to normal. Finding ways to stay fit in the meantime, however, will make the transition back to the gym much easier. Don’t let this time set you back! With focus and motivation, you can stay on track no matter where you are. 

4 Science-Backed Ways Exercise Boosts Mental Health

We’ve all been especially challenged lately, whether it’s from the pandemic and its aftereffects, social unrest, a job loss or other economic hurdles. As a sign of the times, drug and alcohol abuse has markedly risen. There is hope and it’s found in exercise, a fact that is based on evidence from a number of studies and research papers.

Photo credit: Pexels

Guest Post by Jason Lewis of StrongWell.org

The health and wellness experts at Studio B present these four science-backed ways exercise can help you get back on track to your old self or even a new, improved self. 

1. Physical exercise can ease symptoms of depression.

Studies have shown that people who have depression or other mental illnesses are more likely to also have problems with substance use and addiction. Finding a treatment option that can treat both depression and addiction is an important part of many recovery programs, and exercise is an excellent way to treat both at the same time. In fact, the journal Frontiers in Psychiatry discussed results from 21 studies, which showed that running could reduce the symptoms and feelings of depression during addiction recovery. Maybe it’s time to hit the pavement. 

Be sure to equip yourself with quality running shoes, a good investment that doesn’t need to break the bank thanks to online coupons and promo codes like those found at Nike.com. The worst thing that can happen if you’re running, jogging or walking in poor-quality shoes is injury to your feet, legs or back, preventing you from following through with a rigorous exercise regimen. Other conditions that may develop by not wearing quality shoes are corns, bunions and plantar fasciitis, all painful enough to make exercise a burden.

2. Exercise can help you grow brain cells.

The hippocampus is a part of the brain that plays a critical role in memory and regulates emotion. Addiction can negatively impact different parts of the brain, and the hippocampus is especially vulnerable to substance abuse. 

What’s more, research has shown that all those burpees and squats could help your brain grow new brain cells. This can help you gain confidence as you move forward in improving your mental health. Exercise is an activity where you can see results instantly and gain motivation to make it a habit.

3. Exercise can reduce cravings.

The relationship between mood and craving can influence relapse and prevent long-term recovery. A study published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine shows that getting out and exercising, even for 10-30 minutes, can reduce cravings and substantially improve mood. You can get gains in more ways than one. Remember that going outside and working out, even for a short time, can help you weather the storm and achieve the long-term goals you want.

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4. Results are seen in improved aerobic power.

Be aware that, if you are on the road to recovering from substance abuse, past addiction may have weakened the heart. In fact, there is a much higher risk of heart disease and premature death when substance use weakens the heart and it can’t pump blood as efficiently. So take it easy when first starting your exercise regimen.

One clinical study evaluated the effects of high-intensity interval training for individuals recovering from substance abuse, and it showed that patients who exercised vigorously were able to increase the volume of blood that their heart pumped, improve their maximal cardiac power and reduce their risk of mortality. This is a fantastic reason to make sure physical fitness is an important long-term part of not only improving your mental health but also your overall recovery routine.

Including physical fitness in your plan to improve your overall health can help grow new brain cells, reduce stress and renew self-confidence. The connection between mental and physical health cannot be overstated. This includes all kinds of exercise, so you won’t need to be a super athlete to exercise safely and efficiently. While each person’s path has its own twists and turns, you’ll find unique self-confidence and opportunities as you persevere.

Studio B is an integrative healthcare studio in Durango, Colo., specializing in individualized treatment and coaching for optimizing your health. To experience a health clinic that feels like a health club, contact us today! (970) 422-1761

How to Plan a Budget-Friendly Self-Care Getaway

We all need a break sometimes but it can be hard to find the money to take a vacation. Here’s some budget friendly ideas to get the rest and self care you need.


Guest Post by Cheryl Conklin at www.wellnesscentral.info

Photo Credit: Pexels

Do you ever feel like you’re just dying for a vacation? It may be truer than you think. Non-stop work with no quality breaks is definitely bad for your creativity, productivity, and even your physical and mental health. However, many of us go for years or longer without taking a trip to get away from it all. This delay often comes down to costs. That said, there are plenty of ways to affordably manage a self-care-focused getaway.

Search for Deals

To get the absolute most bang for your buck, try to find travel deals you can use to help finance your trip. For example, you can book your rental car, hotel stays, and other travel costs through sites like Google Flights, Hotels.com and Hotwire. Another fruitful way to save money on your trip is to check tourist sites and travel companies. These agencies understand the expenses involved in vacation, and by offering discounts, they can bring in customers they otherwise couldn’t reach. So, look around online or reach out to your destination’s tourism office to figure out what kinds of offers are available.

If you want to save even more and will be gone more than one night, consider a private rental. Not only will you have more space, but you’ll also save on dining out since you’ll have access to a kitchen. Plus, privacy is much more attainable when you’re in your own space, meaning you can get more out of your self-care endeavours. 

Hit the Road

One great low-cost way to travel is to go on a road trip. You can make the most of your journey by stopping at plenty of destinations on the way. Not only does this give you the chance to experience places you’d probably never see otherwise, but it’s also relatively low-cost. Roadside attractions know they’re riding on tourist interest, so they have to stay affordable.

Go Camping

Looking for an escape from the hustle and bustle of urban living? Consider going camping. This is a great way to connect with nature and get some time away from phone screens and car horns. Since campground fees are usually low, you only need to worry about the cost of gear. If you don’t have your own tent, don’t fear — you can rent camping gear through outdoor shops. If nothing like that’s available near you, ask your friends; Someone may have gear you can use. If you need to buy gear, avoid costly camping retail stores and look to sites like Overstock instead. Here, you can find all the equipment you need at a lower price, especially if you can tack on promotions or coupons. 

Go for the Secret Staycation

Getting away doesn’t always require actually getting away. Simply spending time off work and out of your routine can go a long way toward giving yourself the break you need. However, to really nail in these benefits, keep your stay-at-home plans to yourself. Anyone you tell has the potential to stop by or expect you to come hang out since “you’re free, you can make it!” By just saying “I’m on vacation that week” and leaving out any specific details about your time off, you can make a staycation a legitimate retreat.

Consider Voluntourism

Finally, you can get some time away from your regular routine and help the world all at once by embracing voluntourism. These sorts of trips are usually lower cost since you’re not traveling to hit the beach and lounge. These usually come with a lot of hard work and often require significant manual labor. However, when the workday is done, you’re free to explore the area and have some time to yourself. These trips aren’t for everyone, and if you work a physical job, they may not be the respite you really need. However, working with your hands can be a surprisingly effective breather for those who spend most of their days at a desk.

Vacation isn’t just fun; it’s legitimately good for you. Getting some time away from your regular routine is some of the absolute best self-care you can give yourself. By finding affordable ways to travel, you can take the trip you need to recharge your batteries.

Using the Exercise Training Window to Help Navigate Nervous System Regulation

The more I work with people using energy systems, the more I realize that one way into our experience is manipulating our “work” load. As we work on pushing up against our anaerobic threshold we can learn to expand our arousal level and increase our ability to self regulate.

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