Posts Tagged ‘Tips’

Paralyzed by fear

Finding fear in every thought… being worried about every catastrophe and concerned about every outcome… worrying about things that others hardly notice… It’s a little something known as Generalized Anxiety Disorder.

For the last 2 days I have been stressed out over asking my friend for a phone number of one of the guys who work for him. I just had to ask him one simple question that logically he would have no reason to say ‘no’ to so that I can call the number and ask his worker a question…. Sounds simple enough, right? But I couldn’t bring myself to do it! It it wasn’t for the fact that the guy happened to drive into our yard this morning, I’d probably still be experiencing shortness of breath and would have been able to look forward to another sleepless night…

So what is GAD? Well these guys can put it a lot better (or at least in a lot more words) than I can NIMH and my favorite Help Guide and just for good measure Wikipedia… You can also checkout what our followers thought about it on twitter via #TopicsToDiscuss

I’d rather remind you that as much as anxiety sucks and as much as the fear torments us, we are not alone… You are not the only one! And as long as we have the courage to talk about it, someone will be willing to listen. As long as we remember to fight through the fear and find the calm, there will be support and understanding.

You can set up your own ‘calm plan’ Something that lists all of the things you like to do and all of the things that remove the fear from your thoughts. Make sure this plan is accessible to you at all times because sometimes the fear and anxiety is so great that we do not even realize we are in a state of panic until it paralyzes us. Every step you take and every tip you try is one more weapon you have against your Generalized Anxiety Disorder.

So feel free to share your tips and even the things that did not work for you with us in the comments below. If you have any questions, you can also follow us on twitter and send us a direct message Who knows, maybe we can help each other…

 

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Sleep Is Overrated

“Sleep is overrated” “Efficiency is a word insomniacs use to defend their caffeine addiction” “Sleeping more than 4 hours a night is pointless” All of these phrases have been used about by me… but secretly I would love to be able to sleep for 8 hours straight. I would love to wake up feeling refreshed rather than with a headache. I would like to actively go to bed every night and just sleep rather than pass out from exhaustion. I would love for my eyes to not burn from pure fatigue. I would love to not fall under the insomniac umbrella. But that’s just not meant to be…

Tonight in our #TopicsToDiscuss we asked our followers how they would identify insomnia and where they think it comes from. They pretty much said what the NHS said too

Insomnia is a side effect of many things. Stress. Depression. Bad eating habits. But what side effects result from your insomnia?

  • I struggle to remember simple things sometimes
  • a huge one is the paranoia
  • finding it hard to focus
  • I get really irritable and withdrawn
  • also feel thirsty more and snack on biscuits and other junk food.
  • some people that live with this disorder see things as if they are happening in slow motion, wherein moving objects seem to blend together

There are many levels of insomnia and this is also what makes it so tricky to diagnose. Insomnia is both a symptom and a side effect and that confuses things a bit, especially when you are trying to figure out how to treat it. We asked our followers the following two questions:

What do you do to trick your body into sleeping when you simply can’t stand to be awake any longer? And what has helped you retrain your brain and allow yourself to get some sleep?

  • have a bath in lavender – calming affects of certain smells can help release the tension that is keeping you awake
  • hot milk – it may seem old fashioned but the lacto has a soothing effect on your body that allows it be calm and sleep more peacefully. Plus it is associated with bed time so psychologically there is that advantage too
  • healthy eating is very affective – sometimes just eating less ‘heavy’ meals at night will make a difference. If your body does not have to digest food, it means that it can shut down and relax and not mess with your subconscious throughout the night either
  • caffeine a no-no – if you have a problem with sleeping obviously drinking coffee right before bedtime is not a good idea. A cup of tea or horlics is a better option or simply just a glass of warm milk. But just be careful not to force your body into a detox if you are slightly addicted to caffeine as this could be counterproductive. And sometimes depriving yourself of sleep during the day can help you regain control of your body clock, so coffee is not 100% bad… it’s just something you need to be aware of. There is also a chicken and egg conversation about which one came first: my caffeine addiction or my insomnia?
  • Senses – what you smell and hear makes a difference. The atmosphere that you require to get a good night’s sleep is very important. Try to eliminate all of the things that distract you in your room. Even having too many pillows on the bed or light shining in through the window can affect your sleep. Changing to darker curtains may help.
  • Noise and sounds can also interrupt your sleeping pattern – some people prefer to drown out the sounds with music while others prefer earplugs to remove all sounds completely. You need to try it out in order to determine which one will work for you.
  • Exercise – can be a good way to get rid of all of the extra energy you have and allow you to relax and get a good night’s sleep
  • Pen to paper – writing down all of the thoughts in your head when you want to go to sleep is also a useful tool. If you allow yourself to write these thoughts or concerns down then it gives your mind permission to let go of the thoughts and not fear losing them overnight by allowing you to sleep.
  • baby concept – same routine every night, brush your teeth, comb your hair, listen to the same music or watch the same movie. Like a baby, your body will get use to the routine and realize that you want it to go to sleep. Sometimes it’s like your brain is afraid of missing something so it wants to be awake all the time and if you teach it what to expect and what will happen next, it will realize that there is nothing to be missed by allowing you to sleep

In the medical profession they also use these 2 techniques

  • paradoxical intention – you try to stay awake and avoid any intention of falling asleep; it’s only used if you have trouble getting to sleep, but not maintaining sleep
  • biofeedback – sensors connected to a machine are placed on your body to measure your body’s responses, such as muscle tension and heart rate; the machine produces pictures or sounds to help you control your breathing and body responses

All of these techniques worked for someone… and it most likely failed for someone else, so try them out and let us know how they work for you. There are always more options and new things to try, as long as you are willing to keep looking for that solution, we will be here to help you too.You should consider visiting your GP if you’re finding it difficult to get to sleep or to stay asleep and it’s affecting your daily life. Do not wait until you cannot stand it anymore. You have the power to reclaim your bed as a place of comfort.

Leave your comments about tonight’s #TopicsToDiscuss or tweet us @dontloseurgrip you can even suggest a topic for our discussion next week.

Houseboat Tips

The last 4days I was on a houseboat with my mom and her boyfriend and a few other people I love spending time with, which is why I figured I’d share some tips and thoughts for any of you considering it at some point in the future.

The most important thing to remember is that whatever you don’t use, you can always bring back so it is a case of ‘better to take more than run out in the middle of a huge lake’. Secondly it is vital that you go with people you like! Don’t tempt yourself with the prospect of throwing them over board and feeding them to the crocodiles. If you have these two things under control, there’s nothing else you can’t fix any way.

Toilet paper and fresh water is pretty important; it’s also something most people tend to forget. Silly things like dish washing liquid and hand soap are also things usually left off the list. Plus spices and the basics like coffee and sugar have a way of slipping under the radar too. Try too plan everything food-related with as much detail as you can. Include snacks and the possibility of fish you caught yourself because you need to remember that there are no shops around the corner when you’re on a boat in the middle of nowhere.

If you’re food is all sorted, you can focus on the drinks. Personally asking me what I will want to drink or even eat in 3 days time is completely pointless as I’ll probably end up craving something else anyway. But generally if you take a variety of drinks and anticipate that you will want to give your taste buds something interesting every few hours, it’ll turn out great. In our case we had dietary requirements that needed to be looked after and other medical things we needed to plan for. As it turns out, our planning went down really well.

We did actually catch a lot fish and even had left over worms who kept trying to escape [and I can’t blame them] so we ended up with extra food we left for the captain and the cook as a courtesy to them. We also took a lot of vegetables because obviously we are all prone to eating high carb foods and way too many snacks when we are on holiday, leaving us quite sluggish but counteracting it with vegetables, water and fruit helped us maintain our energy and excitement throughout. If you’re going to a place like Kariba and you know the sun is on a mission to destroy you, best take vegetables like carrots that will increase your Vitamin A intake. Eating fish [high source of Omega 3] is also a great way to chemically perk things up and for our 4 day trip it was perfect for our 3rd dinner. We were already starting to think in terms of packing up and saddened by the end of our trip as well as starting to get slightly annoyed with the personality clashes accompanied by the confined area of the boat. After eating fish however, we were right back in the party mood.

With food and drink is out of the way, we can get to the serious packing! Basically, cameras are the only electronic device you will really be using. There is no signal on Kariba or at least very little and most of it is from the Zambia side so our roaming charges would have been sky high for extremely bad reception. As much as I love my laptop, a boat is really not the place for it and besides, you have nature and people around you which should take up all of your time. We did use a stereo but that was mainly to scare the baboons away and most houseboats have their own anyway. Mini torches and a spot light came in handy, since used them for wildlife watching and midnight bathroom trips that allowed us to go undetected by the many, many insects of the lake. Speaking of bugs: any anti-mosquito or insect repellent you might require, you’re going to have to take with you, just be sure to use eco friendly ones that won’t destroy the natural habitat. We used citronella oil based wrist bands and they worked really well. However we still slept under mosquito nets to keep the bigger moths away. Sunscreen cannot be emphasized enough! Remember that it is not the direct light from the sun that gets to you, it’s the reflection from the water that really burns you, so please take precautions and be safe.

Check with the owner of the boat about their cooler bags and fridge facilities as you need to keep in mind that you will be going out on the little speed boats too and may want smaller quantities of drinks to be taken with you. The great thing about taking drinks and food in cooler boxes is that you will have a place to put the fish you caught during your trip. You will also need to take your own fishing rods and nets, ext if the boat does not have any. Taking an umbrella for the smaller boat is a good idea but again it is wise to communicate with your captain ahead of time as they may have suitable ones available.

We also used the books available on the boat along with normal notebooks during our ‘alone time’ just too fully appreciate the great nature that surrounded us. We took an extra set of towels to use as our swimming towels and a few extra hats in case the original ones got wet or flew over board, a bit paranoid I agree but better safe than sorry. We each had one warm jacket and the rest of our clothes consisted mainly of T-Shirts and shorts as we spent more time in our bathing suits than anything else anyway. We each took a pair of boots or closed toe shoes so that we could go for walks on the islands and flip-flops to wear on deck but again, we hardly used it as we were mainly barefoot. They washed our clothes on the boat so we came back with clean laundry in our suitcases and could easily have stayed there much longer.

With all nature trips like these it really is about timing. There were other boats there that followed 3 hours behind us and didn’t see any of the animals we did, they even got caught in a storm. So if you want to make the most out of this trip, ask your captain for advice regularly, since he is constant communication with other boats and trust his experience. Make sure you know what each member of your party is expecting out of the trip and try your best to please [or even if you must: disappoint] them all equally. This will just avoid friction and decrease the chances of someone feeling like they got a raw deal. We saw animals and we went fishing and we got a tan, so everyone got what they wanted and even more than they expected.

Feel free to add any of your experiences or tips into the comments as I’m planning to go again shortly and probably missed a few things on this – my first trip.

Loving nature,

AM