June 28, 2010

How to Get Some Good Zzzzz's

This is sponsored content from BlogHer and Crystal Light.

Sleep is precious. Don't you think? So why do I stay up so dang late every night?

I think it is because it is the only quiet part of my day. I don't need to elaborate do I? I love the time after I put the kids to bed and there is peace and quiet. I can do what I want to do. I can finally relax. That is when I like to get on the computer, watch a movie (while folding laundry), read or exercise. All of a sudden, it's after midnight and I have to get up at 6am to go to work! So, why is it important to get enough sleep?

Here are some of the benefits of good sleep:

*Improves your mood
*Can help with weight control because when you are exhausted you are more likely to reach for sugary, high fat and high carbohydrate foods to give you quick energy.
*Keeps your heart healthy
*Sleep reduces stress levels
*Reduces inflammation
*Gives the body time to repair
*Improves your memory and concentration

Okay. I'm sold! Now, how do I get better sleep?

*Get on a schedule.
*Don't eat 2 hours before bed. Especially heavy or spicy foods.
*Make sure your room is DARK. No TVs or computers on.
*Keep your room at a cool temperature.
*Create white noise. I sleep with a fan on in my room every day of the year for that very reason.
*Only use your bed for sleep. Otherwise you might associate your bed with working, studying, list making, TV watching, etc.
*Relax before bed. Take a shower, listen to soft music, do some light reading.
*Don't drink too much before bed. That will just lead to late night bathroom trips!
*Avoid caffeine, nicotine and alcohol before bed. Caffeine can affect some people up to 10 hours before bed. So limit the caffeine after lunch. Nicotine is a stimulant and can cause withdrawal symptoms during sleep. Alcohol can reduce the quality of sleep.

Four or five years ago I was dealing with horrible anxiety and depression. I would get panic attacks at night and dreaded going to bed. What made it worse was that I was alone at night. My husband worked 3rd shift and I was left with just my obsessive thoughts, fear and panic. I had to fall asleep with the TV on just to not be left alone with my thoughts. The lack of sleep made my condition worse!

Here are some ways I have dealt with anxiety and insomnia:

*I kept a journal. I wrote down my thoughts so I wouldn't have to think them anymore and could relax.
*I practiced deep breathing. In through the nose and out through the mouth.
*I used a relaxation technique where I systematically contracted and relaxed all the major muscles in the body starting from my toes all the way to my head until I was completely relaxed.
*If my thoughts started to get out of control, I would count backwards from 100 by three's. 100, 97, 94, 91, 88.....and so on. Try it! It's hard and you can't think of anything else while you are doing it.
*I stopped watching the news, CSI or ER before bed or ever! Disturbing stuff! I hated those episodes of ER when someone came in with a simple headache or nosebleed and by the end of the episode they were dead. I had anxiety about my health, so I knew I needed to stop watching those shows that put weird, obsessive thoughts in my head.
*Change your room around if you can. If you dread going to sleep, try putting your bed in a new spot to create new associations.

I hope some of these tips can help you. There is nothing worse than not being able to sleep!

What tips do you have for getting a good night's sleep?

Leave a comment below and be entered to win a $100 gift card from Crystal Light.

See what other bloggers have to say on this topic and enter their giveaways by visiting the BlogHer Crystal Light Round-up Page.

To get more info on Crystal Light visit their homepage, here.

For official rules click here.

June 20, 2010

How to Keep a Positive Attitude

This is sponsored content from BlogHer and Crystal Light.

This has been a difficult post for me to write. I have a tendency to "look" like a positive person and even "talk" like a positive person, but inside I struggle with a lot of negative thoughts and feelings about myself and my situation in life. I think many of us do. When I feel myself slipping into a pattern of negative thinking, these are some of the things I try to do.

1. Count my many blessings- Sometimes I get into the pattern of wishing this or that could be different. So much so that I don't acknowledge the the ways that I have been richly blessed. Sometimes when I pray, I challenge myself to only give thanks. I don't ask for anything. I just list all my blessings and thank God for all the good things He has given me. I usually end up in tears, but happy tears are good.

2. Be thankful for my challenges- Yes, that's right. Be thankful for the hard times in life, because they will make you stronger and cause you to grow as a person.

There is a law in medicine called Wolff's Law. It states that bone in a healthy person or animal will adapt to the loads it is placed under. If stress on a particular bone increases, the bone will remodel itself over time to become stronger to resist that sort of loading.

I think that the same principle applies to us. Over time, with determination and faith, we can be strengthened as individuals to bear the loads we are asked to bear.

I see this all the time in my work as a Physical Therapist Assistant. One example that stands out to me was a man who had sustained a traumatic brain injury by falling off a roof. He was working so hard to relearn some of the simple daily activities that we do with out thinking. About 3 weeks into his rehab, were walking together with his 3 IV poles when he saw a lady on a mat who looked like she was in a lot of pain. She had recently had a knee replacement and was working with a therapist to get it to bend. My patient who had endured a life altering injury leaned over to me and said, "Glad that's not me!"

He was learning to deal with his challenge. He was being strengthened to bear his load so it didn't seem so heavy anymore. And isn't it true that you can look at other people's problems and be instantly thankful for your own!!! It keeps it all in perspective.

3. Forget myself and help others- There is something very spiritual about helping others. When I set off to help others, I am the one who gets blessed. I feel happy, peaceful, content...positive.

4. Exercise and eat well- I can tell you from personal experience that this works! I have dealt with postpartum depression with all my kids. After my second child, I was having daily panic attacks and I felt like I was in a dark hole that was impossible to escape. I felt alone and hopeless. I started talking to a therapist and learned how to cope with the anxiety. I knew that a lot of my anxiety stemmed from concerns about my health, so I decided to get really healthy so I wouldn't worry anymore. I hired a trainer and it changed my whole way of thinking. He helped me get into the best shape of my life. I became stronger physically and also personally. My confidence grew and I had a passion that I enjoyed. I became an endorphin junkie! My whole way of thinking changed and I have not had a problem with panic attacks or irrational, obsessive thoughts since.

5. Remember....- One of the most important words we use. When I feel overwhelmed and hopeless, I try to remember challenges that I (with help from above) have overcome in the past. I try to remember the good that came out of those hard times. I try to remember that, just as in the past, I can overcome hardship. I will learn. I will become stronger. Maybe some good will come of it. Maybe in the future I can help others who are going through the same thing.
I'm thankful that I have kept a journal in certain periods of my life. It is kind of amazing to look back and see how some of my darkest and lowest times opened me up to new understanding about life.

What helps you keep a positive attitude? Answer this question by leaving a comment on this post to be entered to win a $100 Visa gift card courtesy of Crystal Light.

Go to the Crystal Light BlogHer round-up page to read what other bloggers had to say on this subject. And yes, that means more chances to win!

For more information about Crystal Light, visit their homepage here.

To see my past posts go to my Crystal Light Homepage, here.

June 14, 2010

Bosch Giveaway!

I just wanted to let you know about an awesome giveaway at Deals to Meals for a Bosch mixer! I have a Bosch mixer, but it is 35 years old. I would love a new one! Go to Deals to Meals to enter now!

June 10, 2010

How I Plan to Relax and Enjoy this Summer

I need to learn how to relax and enjoy the simple pleasures of each day. I've had the tendency to always look forward to the future. I love to cross days off of my calendar. Why do I do that? What's the rush?

My goal this summer is to relax enjoy the simple pleasures of:

My Kids:
They will never be this age again. Time flies so quickly.
-I want to watch them catch fireflies and maybe join in on the action.
-I want to take them on walks to the park and catch them as they speed down the slippery slide.
-I want to take them to the quaint street fairs at night and see the carnival lights flicker in their wide eyes.

-Is there anything better than the sound of the ocean? I hope this summer I can walk up and down the shore at dusk and feel the cool ocean breeze and not be thinking about tomorrow or money or any of my stupid worries.

My Community:
There are so many things I enjoy in the summer, and I don't need to go far to find them.
-I love to find treasures at yard sales, early Saturday mornings.
-We have free movies for the kids at our local movie theater every week.
-Have you ever been to a major or minor league baseball game on a cool summer night? There is something about a lit baseball field that is magical to me!
-I'd also like to check into the local theater groups who put on outdoor performances. That would be so fun!

Cooking and Good Food:
I really love to cook and try new recipes. It is such a simple way to bring friends and family together. I'm actually a terrible host. I'm always so worried about things being perfect that I can hardly enjoy myself.
-I want to be more relaxed and focus on the people rather than perfection.
-I want to eat outside when the weather is cool and breezy.
-I look forward to cooking vegetables from our garden.

Quiet Time:
Life is crazy. Work, kids, chores, exercise, church, family, responsibilities. It hardly seems like there is time to just be quiet.
-I want to take time for me. To relax, take a nap, read a book, pray. No TV, no radio, no computer, no distractions.
-Take time to write in a journal. Record the ups and downs of life and reflect upon the blessings with which I have been blessed. Sometimes the "busyness" of life clouds my ability to see the small miracles of every day.

What will you do this summer to enjoy the simple pleasures of life?
Leave a comment on this post to be entered to win a $100 Visa gift card from Crystal Light.

Read what other bloggers have to say and have 7 other chances to win $1oo by visiting the BlogHer Round-up page.

To learn more about Crystal Light, visit their official website, here.

June 7, 2010

Crystal Light Homepage

I am so happy to be able to participate in this series of posts sponsored by Crystal Light. I have been a fan of Crystal Light for years!

I will be writing a new post every week for the next four weeks. Each week you can leave a comment on the post and your name will be included in a drawing for a $100 Visa giftcard that will be given away at the end of the 4 weeks. There will also be a $1,000 drawing on the Crystal Light Round-up page. How cool is that?!?!?!

Fourth Post: How to Get Some Good Zzzzz's

Third Post: How I keep a Positive Attitude

Second Post: How I Plan to Relax and Enjoy my Summer

Here is my first post: How to Stay Fresh and Hydrated in the Summer Heat

For more information about Crystal Light, go to the official Crystal Light website.

Check out what other bloggers are saying at the Crystal Light Round-up page.

For official rules, click here.

How to Stay Fresh and Hydrated in the Summer Heat

This is sponsored content from BlogHer and Crystal Light.

I have always been a summer girl. I grew up in the perfect weather of Southern California and was a resident "sun worshiper". We didn't have air conditioning in our house back then, but a few fans in the house could keep us cool. It was definitely hot, but there was the cool ocean breeze to cool you off.

When I got married, 10 years ago, I moved to Pennsylvania and learned what a sticky and uncomfortable summer was all about. Now I dread summer!

The summers here are all about thick humidity, afternoon thunder storms and never feeling cool, unless you are indoors with the AC cranked up full blast. I've noticed that the only time I talk to my neighbors is in the spring and fall. The winter is so dang cold and the summer just makes you feel sticky and gross. All you want to do is hide inside!

So how can you stay fresh and hydrated in the summer, especially when it is hot and humid? Here are some tips:

*If you are wanting to work in your garden or exercise, try to do that in the early morning or evening when the temps start to go down.

*Eat lots of ice cream and Italian ice.

*Watch Ice age with the kids and pretend you are snowed in.

*Drink lots of water. If you get bored of plain old water, add some Crystal Light. There are so many flavors, pick out a few or try them all!

*If you are working outside in the heat of the day, twist and pin a wet, thin towel around your neck filled with plenty of crushed ice. The ice melts and the cool water runs down your back wetting your shirt providing even more cooling.

*Eat watermelon. It is 90% water!

*Keep a spray bottle handy. A squirt in the face will feel so good! Hey...how about a squirt gun fight for the kids!

*Clean out your freezer. Enjoy the cold.

*Keep water in your car....just in case you break down. You never know!


*Wear white.

*Learn how to ice skate.

*Keep a pitcher of water or Crystal Light in the fridge and drink from it all day. Make sure you drink at least 64 oz every day to stay hydrated.


*Stock up on plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables. Try your local farmer's market.

*Make ice pops in the ice cube trays. Try making Crystal Light pops for a cool treat.

*Go to the movie theater and see a good summer action flick! I always have to take a jacket in there even in the middle of the summer! Burrrr!

*Wear less makeup but make sure to wear sunscreen.

*Drink water at each meal.

*Try not to think about global warming. ;)

Do you have tip for staying fresh and hydrated in the heat of the summer? Leave a comment with your tip and you will be entered to win a $100 Visa gift card.

And guess what? You have 6 other chances to win a $100 Visa gift card and a $1,000 sweepstakes on the BlogHer roundup page.

For the official rules, click here.