Are your finances keeping you up?

We are in a recession people! The petrol price is shooting up whilst Christmas and ‘Back-2-School’ loom just around the corner.

With many anticipating no chance of a performance bonus or even a significant annual increase it is no surprise that many are staring at the ceiling instead of falling asleep peacefully.

Today’s families just getting by, and it is no surprise that financial stress is the leading cause of burn-out and a big factor in sleeplessness.

Many workers are taking on longer work hours to try and fill the gap between what they really earn and what they need to earn. This may mean working passed their natural bedtime, working night shifts or taking on a second or third job.

Whilst much is beyond our control (like the soaring price of food) what is in our control is how we choose to spend our time and our money.

Here are some time and money savers for those feeling the pinch in these economic times

Plan Your Meals

Sit down and plan your meals for the week ahead on a Sunday. Buy only what you need to prepare these and you avoid buying take-aways or having food spoil in your fridge.

Shop Online

Shopping online is the ultimate time saver. Whilst the initial ‘set-up’ takes time you can simply edit your usual list there after. This helps you stick to buying what you need and not buying into in-store promotions to save money on items you didn’t really need to start with.

Cook in bulk

Electricity is expensive people so save on your energy costs and cook or bake in bulk. Don’t make one lasagna- make two. Don’t bake one batch of muffins- bake three! You can then set aside the pre-cooked or pre-prepared meals that live happily in the freezer until you need them.

Buy local, seasonal foods

It’s spring in SA so now is the time to tuck into avocados, bananas and strawberries. Don’t buy fruit and veg that has had to be imported (such as lemons and oranges) as we are not in that season. You will be paying a premium for foods that have travelled far.

Car Pool

It’s good for your wallet and its good for the environment too. Try to connect with a fellow student or work colleague and share the commute when possible. This could halve your travel costs!

For more helpful strategies to manage your financial anxiety visit this blog post.

Get rid of fear – start here

A video clip of actor Will Smith has gone viral after the father shared an epiphany he had three years ago after going sky diving for the first time with friends on a talk show.

Will goes on to explain how facing his fear of skydiving has taught him that the only way to get rid of fear is to face it- each and every day.

If there was one concept that I would suggest to people to take a daily confrontation with its fear. The problem of fear is that it lies,” said Will.

Will goes on to explain how fear only exists before you face the perceived danger and that staring the actual danger in the face is “the most blissful experience of your life- there is zero fear. The point of maximum danger is the point of minimal fear. Its bliss.”

Many of us spend so much time fearing the things that have yet to happen or that might never happen that we avoid living life fully.

“There’s no reason to be scared. Its only gonna ruin your day…God placed the best things in life on the other side of terror.”

What are you scared of? Falling in love? Asking for a promotion? Moving into your own home? Looking foolish in front of your colleagues?

Facing your fears daily will allow you to live the way you truly want to rather than shrinking back.

Want more helpful strategies to live life to the fullest?

Check out these blog posts:

Is social media giving you anxiety? Here’s how to take control

At best social media is a powerful tool that promotes connection. At worst, it can be damaging and self-destructive. It can cause anxiety – and we know anxiety is one of the biggest barriers to sleep.

Why are so many choosing a ‘social media detox’ and how do you know if you too are addicted?

Amanda Lambros, Clinical Fellow in the Faculty of Health Sciences at Curtin University said recently in an article in the Huffington Post:
“Social media can become extremely addictive in our lives, and also can be damaging depending on how you use it. It’s one of those things that has the power to benefit you, or have really negative effects, depending on how it’s used.”

Here are the most common symptoms related to social media anxiety:
• You fear checking your social media sites
• You feel worried if you don’t get a chance to check your social media feeds
• Your palms become sweaty when you go on social media sites
• Your gut feels tingly in anticipation after posting on social media
• You have a good day if you get many likes and a bad day if you get few likes or comments
• You find it difficult to finish tasks without checking social media feeds
• You find yourself making negative self-comparisons that harm your self-esteem and satisfaction.

Answered yes to most of those? Here are some solutions:

1. Limit the time you spend on social media.
This is easier said than done, but here are some helpful ideas:

• Remove social media apps from your phone so that you have to intentionally log onto a computer to check feeds.
• Use a nanny app so that you are cut-off at a specified time.
• Have a ‘smart phone bed’ in your home where all family members put their phones for the night. This prevents phones landing up at the dinner table or in bedrooms.

2. Limit what you see on social media
• Stop following feeds that have disturbing content.
• Un-friend people who don’t bring joy to your social media life. If this feels too confrontational then you can choose that their posts do not show up in your feed.
If you would like to find out more about how social media impacts your mental health here is a great article: Social media can cause loneliness and anxiety in young people

We have rounded up a few articles on the Sealy blog, with tips on how to feel less anxious and so get better sleep:

Gadgets that help you calm down

Why less is more

Do you have an anxiety problem?

Written by Roxanne Atkinson

Want to sleep better? You may need to get a dog

The presence of a dog is a powerful stress-buster. If you’re struggling to fall asleep each night due to bedtime anxiety, adopting a dog may be all you need to get a better night’s sleep. Here’s how a dog can benefit your sleep.

1. A dog can help you feel more secure
Whether you choose a cute (but yappy) furry friend or a soft (but scary-looking) furry protector, you’ll sleep better knowing you have someone looking out for you.

2. A canine friend can help you relax
Stroking a dog lowers your heart rate and blood pressure. Cuddling a dog has the same benefits as cuddling a human-being- lots of feel-good hormones that make us feel all loved-up and dozy.

3. Owning a pup helps combat loneliness
You have someone to talk to and to look after. Plus feeling loved and appreciated help to ward off depression- a good friend of many sleep disorders such as insomnia and over-sleeping.

4. Pet owners have to follow a routine
There is always someone waiting for you at home who is super-happy to see you and needs feeding. Your dog’s biorhythms and day-night feeding schedule will support your own good sleep schedule.

5. Dog owners go for more walks
Getting fresh air and exercise helps you fall asleep faster at night. More activity during the day means better sleep at night.

Choose the right pet for your family by consulting carefully with animal organisations such as the SPCA . Read more about co-sleeping with your pooch:

Pets – do you let them in or keep them out?

I’ll rather not sleep with my furry friend!

If you are sleeping with your pet, make sure you keep your mattress clean with a good quality mattress protector.

 

Article written by Roxanne Atkinson

Three gentle ways to deal with kids’ bedtime anxiety

A lot of kids don’t like going to sleep. They get scared. They feel worried and they imagine all kinds of scary things. If your child is trying everything to delay bedtime, here are three ways to help them deal with their bedtime anxiety:

 
Happy thoughts
It is incredible how powerful words are. Help your child battle worries with positive affirmations or prayers. They can ‘throw’ the bad thoughts away and then pick some new prettier/stronger ones. Phrases like ‘I can go to sleep’; ‘my family loves me’ or ‘I am safe now’ can help little hearts and minds settle down.

Fantasy play
Children have the most phenomenal imaginations and what better way to fight these fears than with fantasy itself? Give your child a ‘magic torch light’ or a ‘bottle of ‘Monster spray’ to keep with them… just in case.

Comfort toys/pets
A special blankie, teddy or real-life furry friend can make falling asleep in your own bed much easier. When it comes to dogs, cats and bunnies sleeping in your child’s bed, do what works for your family. Oh, and let your child use these strategies as long as they need to… there is no rush to grow up after all.

Read more on this topic:

Do clever kids battle to sleep?

Does a bedtime routine really help kids sleep better?

Solving kids’ sleeping problems

 

 

Simple tips for dealing with insomnia

Insomnia is a disorder characterised by difficulty falling asleep and/or staying asleep. Many sufferers get into bed at an acceptable hour but take longer than 30 minutes to fall asleep and report multiple night wakings. In severe cases, the periods of sleeplessness stretch on for hours. This means that those that suffer from insomnia live sleep-deprived.

Insomnia cannot be treated directly. What must be unpacked and addressed are the underlying causes. Here are the most common:

1. Depression
Mood disorders and sleep disorders go hand-in-hand as they are governed by the same batch of neurotransmitters. Mood disorders can be successfully treated with the use of anti-depressants that help in the production of dopamine. This means you will sleep better if you were struggling to fall asleep due to anxiety or irritability. It will also mean that you find it easier to do things during the day (like cook, exercise and work) which also improve both the quality of your sleep and how you feel about your life.

2. Allergies
Insomnia can be linked to underlying allergies – both environmental and food-related. Eliminating the allergies where possible and taking a course of antihistamines can ease the insomnia and get you back on track.

3. Addiction
Overcoming addiction is a great battle. Alcohol, prescription pills and recreational drugs like cocaine and tik all wreak havoc on sleep. Sleep disturbance is also considered a trigger for relapse into drug abuse, which is why it is vital that those recovering from addiction, do all they can to get their regular zzz’s every night. Only non-addictive sleeping tablets should be taken.

4. Hormonal imbalance
Pregnancy and menopause can trigger insomnia due to hormonal changes. Some individuals will require hormone replacement therapy to help them sleep until the transition period comes to an end. Many women report that massaging with essential oils (like lavender and chamomile) and/or taking a mineral supplement (such as magnesium and zinc) helps them fall asleep faster.

5. Anxiety
Lying awake counting your worries is unhelpful. Write down your problems, keep a gratitude journal and get yourself a pet. These will all reduce your anxiety, slow your heart rate and decrease your stress hormones.