I spent too much money on a pillow that was supposed to help me sleep better. The promise was that it would stay cool and not cause any neck discomfort. It is a comfortable pillow, but I still find myself waking in the middle of the night, turning the pillow over to cool it down. So much for the stay cool part of the promise!
When it comes to falling asleep, we have everything from drugs to special pillows to help aid us to dream land. Still, too many of us find ourselves thinking about the deadlines for tomorrow and stressing over things out of our control. Our thoughts race. We need to unwind and let it go. Maybe we need a relaxation coach!
That’s right, a coach to help us let go of our cares and wind down without medications! The coach assesses our nightly habits, asking questions about sleep routine, and worry levels at bedtime. Then he/she asks about relaxation sounds–do we prefer the sound of the ocean, the crackling of a fire, a beautiful chime, etc. The coach will provide us these sounds to help us fall asleep.
Next, we work on a bedtime routine. No more throwing in a load of laundry at 11:00 at night or finishing that last minute deadline on the computer. NO! Instead, we wind down with stretches and maybe a relaxing bath. We establish a sleep ritual like drinking hot herbal tea, darkening the room and reading. Next, we might play a relaxation CD made with a soothing voice or those relaxing sounds to help us relax. I like the ocean with seagulls, but found it made me get up to go to the bathroom too often! Something about the sound of water!
The relaxation coach incorporates a few basic principles that you can probably figure out yourself.
1) Lessen your activity level towards bedtime.
2) Develop a bedtime routine.
3) Come up with a few rituals that help you relax.
4) Make the room calm, dark and cool to help with sleep.
5) Think of something positive, meditate on the goodness of God and be grateful for the day.
The main idea is to be intentional about relaxing and getting ready for bed.
Yes, the relaxation coach is a good idea. But I’ve found one that really works. I get coached through the Word of God. Turn off the thoughts of the day by praying and meditating on a Scripture. I find myself drifting off to a good night’s sleep! God’s Word is comforting like a warm bath. It soothes like the sounds of the ocean. And it takes my mind to a place of rest. He will keep me in perfect peace when my mind is stayed on Him.
Let’s say you just had a check up and found out your blood sugar was too high. Your doctor talked to you about managing your diet in a way that might bring those levels down. Now, it is up to you to follow through with a plan.
Will you do it?
In order to get a sense of your compliance, your doctor might give you an assessment called a Patient Activation Measure (PAM) in which you agree/disagree with 13 statements that are rated on a score from 0 to 100 points. Based on your score, you will fall into one of four categories that measure how well you will engage in your own care.
If you are highly motivated, you will most likely have a better outcome with your health issue and incur lower costs along the way. If you are not so well motivated, well…you are probably unlikely to take your medications, follow through on advice and instruction, skip preventative measure or end up back in the doctor’s office or the hospital.
If you’ve had surgery and need to change your eating habits or deal with a chronic condition like high blood pressure, your activation score matters. Health care providers want you to become confident in your ability to change your own behavior and do what is necessary to take charge of your health.
Most doctors who use this measure are not going to tell you how you score. If you rank low on the score, you are considered passive when it comes to your own care. You lack confidence and problems-solving and may need some coaching. If you score in the second level, you probably have some knowledge of what to do, but could use help. Level 3 people take action and are goal-oriented. If you score in level 4, you are doing new things to make changes, but may need a little help when stress hits high. The higher the score, the more engaged you are in your health destiny.
Why do doctors care about this score? Low scores relate to cost of care. The lower the score, the more likely you will be readmitted to a hospital post 30 days of discharge than those with higher scores (Journal of General Internal Medicine).
For the patient, it’s all about controlling your own destiny and taking charge of your health care. So get activated. You don’t need an assessment to know that the more you care about doing what you can to prevent and manage illness, the better your life will be and the less money you will spend on health care.
You walk down the stairs to your basement. It is filled with stuff, everywhere. There isn’t a pathway to walk because of all the boxes and things you have stored and kept. You are afraid to throw away anything. After all, you might need it one day. Your husband tries to get you to get rid of a few things or even organize the mess. You can’t. You feel weirdly attached to all that stuff strewn through the room. The mess is creating relationship tension.
Are you a hoarder? Is hoarding interfering with your daily life?
If you suffer from what is called “excessive acquisition” and can’t part with your possessions regardless of their actual value, consider hoarding disorder. It is a psychiatric disorder related to obsessive compulsive disorder. It is not attributed to an illness and causes distress.
The problem with hoarding is that you can create unsanitary conditions in the places you hoard. There is also a risk of fire, blocking exits and walk ways, and you may even trip or fall over piles of stuff. Hoarding causes financial problems in some cases due to excess collecting and buying, and creates distress with people you love.
The main treatment for hoarding is cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) in which you focus on the reasons it is difficult to throw things away. You examine your thoughts and feelings about possessions. Medication may also help.
So if you think you need help , don’t live in isolation with the problem. Get help!
Imagine living your life free from distraction, distortion, obsession and self-preoccupation…imagine living in the moment and liberated from the patterns of the past while being excited about the future. Imagine accepting and even celebrating the body you’ve been given, knowing that one day it will be transformed into something more glorious than you could ever imagine.
Most of us can only imagine!
Just as feminists raised their voices against gender discrimination in the 1960s, we need that same passion to be stirred in us regarding body dissatisfaction. The pressure to look like the ionic Barbie is constant and needs to be opposed or we’ll continue to see record rates of eating disorders, cosmetic surgeries and body dissatisfaction. And while our nation experiences record rates of obesity, personal happiness is still tied to thinness. As a result, body image, our mental picture of ourselves, grows more negative as reality fails to match the body idealism we embrace.
God’s Spirit in us tells us who we really are, not the culture. It is the Spirit of Truth, and it counters insecurity.
So how do we live in this culture of body obsession without being conformed to it? Paul addresses this in the 12th chapter of Romans, “So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life–your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life–and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.(The Message 12:1-2).”
Do not think like the culture unless it lines up with the truth of God’s word. When we are constantly told to improve and fix our outward bodies, we are being distracted from the truth of acceptance. Nothing in God’s word says younger looking skin makes you more desirable to God or that big breasts bring success. These are the ideas of fashion gurus, diet experts, the cosmetic industry and plastic surgeons. The intent is simply to get you to buy more product and spend more money.
Paul says fix your attention on God and renew your mind with His thoughts. Don’t be dragged down by the thinking of the culture that pulls you away from the thoughts of God. And that’s exactly what happens when we get caught up in body obsession. Our thoughts are easily pulled away from the way God thinks of us and shifted to the approval of others and some personal standard we have developed from the culture.
Instead, listen to the One who made you, who loves you without condition, and who wants you whole and well.