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. 

Born Tough has proven to be tough and soft at the same time.

A few months ago we were approached by Chris with Born Tough and Elite Sports Clothing lines to test out their fitness clothing and determine if we thought it was a good choice for our customers and clients.

We’re excited to be working with Born Tough and Elite Sports to try out their products!

Over the summer my husband Jeff has been our testing model. He’s been testing out their long sleeved Men’s Core Fit Shirt over washes, places, spaces, and workouts.

And …

he’s loved working out in it. It’s smooth, quick drying, and moves with him through a variety of workout moves.

It’s fitting but not too tight. The cut and material allow for easy movement between strength, functional, and cardio workouts.

It’s a great go to shirt for whole gym experiences, plus moves between workouts and life at his college administration job with no fuss.

As his partner, I really like how soft the shirt is and the fact that it doesn’t smell after a session.

He’s also been able to use it as a comfortable base layer in our chilly mountain air camping and hiking through the Colorado Rockies.

He’s been trying it out in the studio, our cabin in northwestern Wisconsin, and outside in Colorado with similar results even when the weather was hot and muggy on a bike ride by the river.

Here’s a few shots of the shirt (and Jeff) in action.

Check out more clothing options here:

https://www.borntough.com/collections/gym-workout-bags
https://www.elitesports.com/collections/boxing-gloves

4 Ways to Relieve Household Stress While Self-Isolating

The COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdowns have put lots of pressure on parents over the past couple of months, and while you have a bit more freedom to leave your home now, your options for activities are still rather limited. As you try to balance working from home with your kids hanging around and taking care of your other domestic responsibilities, you may struggle with rising tensions in your household. Here’s how to address a few potential sources of tension and create a happier environment within your home.

Guest Post By: Emma Grace Brown Emmagracebrown.com+emma@emmagracebrown.com

Unhealthy Lifestyle Habits

Has your family been neglecting exercise and healthy eating since you all began isolating? Practicing unhealthy habits can make you feel anxious, depressed, and irritable. It’s easier to manage household tensions when everyone is prioritizing their physical and mental health. Plus, focusing on fitness can be a fantastic way to release tension! Develop a solid workout routine, and choose exercises that the whole family can join in on.

It’s also important to clean up your diet. When you’re spending more time working out, it can be hard to find opportunities to cook, so Play Date Fitness recommends using an electric pressure cooker to concoct tasty, nutritious meals with little effort. 

Eliminate Fear

The connection between psychology and physical movement just can’t be ignored. When you feel fearful, it’s because your nervous system is in overdrive, and adrenaline is coursing through your body. Let’s face it – this has been a scary time, and your family may need to be proactive about addressing those fears. You may already know that exercising helps you maintain a more positive attitude, but what about slow, mindful movement? 

You can incorporate both meditation and yoga into your family fitness routines. These practices can help you relieve stress and process uncomfortable emotions. When you’re doing yoga with young children, Yogi Approved suggests doing poses together when possible – for example, you can pick up your toddler and rock them during tree pose! If you want to go further in this journey, you can also check in with therapist and wellness coach Stacey Reuille-Dupont, who offers telehealth services so you can connect from anywhere.

Indulge Your Sense of Adventure

Want to help your whole family become healthier and have fun while you’re doing it? If you’ve been cooped up indoors, it’s time to embrace the warm weather and get some fresh air. Head out the front door to enjoy some wellness-boosting outdoor activities together! After all, exercise and time in nature can perk you up, and everyone in your household probably needs to stretch their legs and blow off some steam. Activities like hiking, biking, running, and even rock climbing are great for people of all ages, and your kids may even discover a new favorite hobby during your outdoor excursions! 

No More Boredom

After spending such a long time isolated with your family, everyone in your household may be feeling a little bored – and you know that when your kids are bored, they’re more likely to get into squabbles! If you suspect that boredom is the cause of rising tensions in your household, it’s time to help your kids find some new hobbies. 

Both kids and adults might enjoy gaming together. If your family wants to get into gaming, you just need to make sure you have the right tools! For instance, if your children are interested in online multiplayer games like Fortnite, you’re going to need a strong connection to the internet that won’t drop while they’re playing. Companies like Verizon can set your household up with fiber optic connections, which allow for smoother gameplay and faster download speeds.

If you feel like everyone in your family has been on edge since the beginning of this pandemic, you can begin taking steps to ease these tensions. By prioritizing your health, making more time for outdoor activities, and leaning into mindfulness, you can embrace your time at home together and take advantage of self-isolation. 

Photo via Pexels

4 Health Tweaks You Can Easily Introduce to Your Daily Routine

Are you looking at 2020 wondering how you will implement changes to your health goals? Feeling overwhelmed already? This year look to simplify changes by making small tweaks in your current routines and add little increments to your health behaviors for maximum success.

Guest Post By: Jennifer McGregor

Well-intentioned health goals are a dime a dozen. Everyone always has something that they want to achieve, whether it’s losing 20 pounds or running a 5K. For many, reducing stress is also a compelling objective, especially those in high-stress occupations like caregivers. Regardless of what your goals are, know that it takes more than just good intentions to meet them; you need action, too. Thankfully, with strategic tweaks here and there, you, too, can incorporate solid health practices into your daily routine. Here are a few to get you started.

Choose the good.

The fulfillment of any health goal invariably starts with one thing—making good choices. In fact, mindfulness is known to not just improve your physical health, but also your mental well-being, too. 

No doubt, the thing that particularly benefits from this is your diet. The practice of mindful eating means listening to your body’s signals—that is to say, eating when you’re hungry as opposed to bored and knowing when to stop. Not only that, but it also means consciously choosing to consume food that’s healthy and nourishing, cutting back on processed food rich in sodium and sugar, which would be particularly beneficial to caregivers prone to stress and conditions like hypertension. Another way to eat healthier (and less) is to order healthy options from a meal delivery service because with pre-measured ingredients, you can control portion sizes

Beyond just your diet, being mindful means making choices that truly serve you and your body, too. This can be as simple as going to bed an hour earlier to get more quality shut-eye, or even taking the stairs instead of the elevator.

Move with intention.

Of course, regular physical activity is a must for just about any health goal. And it’s hard not to see why with the many known benefits of movement. Its physical perks such as weight loss and improved immune and lymphatic systems—to name just a few—are common knowledge, but even more interestingly, movement also enhances brain health, elevates your mood, and reduces stress.

While the idea of movement inevitably brings to mind exercise, there are other ways to go about it, too. This could be anything from stretching to dancing to gardening. Indeed, simply being on your feet will already do wonders to your well-being holistically, so it’s great practice, therefore, to always make it a point to move.

Prioritize relaxation.

As rewarding a vocation as caregiving is, it also leaves you vulnerable to feelings of overwhelm and frustration, making caregiver stress a real problem. This is why it’s doubly important for caregivers to make relaxation and stress management a priority. 

Doubtless, the easiest way to go about this is to introduce relaxation techniques to your routine, such as meditation and deep breathing. It’s also a good idea to make it a point to go on a break and take time to do something you love, like reading or pursuing a hobby. Going on vacation is another way to relax. Even a staycation in your own city will do wonders for your overall well-being. 

Allow indulgence.

In the same vein as taking downtime, you should also give yourself a license to indulge from time to time, as long as you make it worthwhile. For example, partaking in your daily red wine is one indulgence that’s really good for you as red wine is chock full of antioxidants that protect you from a plethora of diseases, as well as anxiety and depression. Hiring a health and lifestyle coach is another, as you could certainly benefit from a customized health plan, plus it helps to have someone hold you accountable.

Suffice it to say, health goals are just ideals when you don’t have concrete steps to follow through on them. Thankfully, being healthier need not be earth-shattering. So start making small changes and see the difference.

Photo Provided by Author: Jennifer McGregor via Upslpash.com. Image URL: https://unsplash.com/photos/VKnjdEesFxw ~ Image Credit: Photo via Unsplash.com