5 More tips for better sleep

Sleep and the musings household has a bit of a love hate relationship.  We are very rarely in sync together but when we are, it’s magical.  A few weeks ago my sleep got completely turned on it’s head.  I was barely sleep at night, stealing a few hours during the day and starting the process all over again.  Nothing was getting done and something had to give.

I started doing things differently in the lead up to sleep and I changed my thoughts about sleep.  I have written before about getting better sleep.  I often find that I have the most issues with actually getting to sleep.  Once I am asleep I am generally fine.  Funnily enough that is also Mr 5’s issue.  Here are the things that have worked for me over the last couple of weeks.

Get over the idea that it’s too early to go to bed.

This was my biggest hurdle to getting to sleep at a decent hour.  It sounds strange but it was such a psychological hurdle for me.  I found myself watching ridiculous things on TV because it was too early to go to bed.  I started off small and told myself that I would go to bed to read, with the idea that if I went to bed earlier then I would have more time to read.  I was then finished reading earlier that usual.  It was a game changer.

If you really want to watch a show, record it or use catch up TV.

Are you finding yourself telling yourself that after your favourite show is finished that you will go to bed, only to find it’s been pushed back to 10:30pm?  I like TV, I like getting lost in fiction shows and falling in love with the characters.  So I was staying up later and later to watch shows that I loved, but the ratings didn’t.  Now I just record it or use catch up TV.  The best part about that is that I can fast forward through the ads too!

Write down those thoughts swirling around your head.

Another barrier for me getting to sleep is over thinking stuff.  I think about everything from what I am having for dinner tomorrow to that stupid thing I said in 9th grade.  When I write this stuff down then I am postponing the thought pattern.  It’s a psychological cue to my brain that I got your message, but I don’t have time for it right now.  More often than not it works.  It has the added bonus of creating blog post ideas too.

If it’s going to bother you, get those jobs done before bed.

If I had a dollar for every time I laid in bed at night and thought about the stuff I didn’t do today and need to do tomorrow instead…well I would have enough to employ a full time cleaner.  It’s ridiculous because I spend an hour in bed stressing about the stuff I have to do the next day, when in reality I could just have done them.

Set yourself an alarm for when you want to switch off the lights.

I don’t always stick to this one.  However I do notice the difference when I do.  If you are used to going to bed at 2am then start somewhere that is achievable.  If the alarm goes off at 10pm then chances are you are going to ignore it.  Set the alarm for 30 minutes before you normally switch off the lights.  Then move this time backwards by 30 minutes each week.  It doesn’t feel like such a shock to the system.

What are your tips for better sleep?

Do you struggle with getting to sleep or staying asleep?

Linking up with Jess for IBOT!


6 tips to make the school run easier

It’s term 2 of school and I think we’ve finally managed to ease ourselves into a sort of routine.  There seems to be less yelling, stress and we’ve managed to make it to the bus stop every day this week.

Of course Murphy’s Law says that it will all come crashing to the ground in the near future but for now I am basking in my organised glory.  I’m not selfish though and want to share the love around, so here are my tips for getting your kids ready for school, without tearing all of your hair out.school tips

Pack lunch boxes in advance.

I pack Mr 5’s lunch box the night before.  Some weeks I go one step further and make a weeks worth of sandwiches in one go.  I then put them in sandwich bags and freeze them.  I’ve only tried this with spreads though, so I am not sure how you would go with cold meat or cheese.

Have a designated spot where school shoes, hats and bags are placed.

There is nothing worse than running around like a headless chook in the morning because your kids can’t find their school shoes.  This has happened to us more times than I can count.  Having all of the school things in one place also helps to cut down the on the yelling and the stress thing I mentioned earlier.

Lay out uniforms the night before.

This one has two benefits.  Firstly it helps with keeping the getting ready for school streamlined.  Especially when for Mr 5 putting on his uniform means standing in the middle of the lounge room in his underwear.  Secondly it reduces the likelihood of only discovering that your child has no clean uniforms when you go to pull a clean one out of the drawer!

Set yourself and alarm 15 minutes before you have to actually get up.

I have only discovered this little beauty over the last fortnight.  I am not a morning person but any stretch of the imagination and I really struggle to wake up in the morning.  However I discovered that if I set an alarm earlier than when I need to wake up and play around on my phone for 15 minutes then I’m much more likely to be less of a zombie when the actual alarm goes off.

If you catch public transport make sure you have change or your transport card has credit.

If you have to catch a bus, some drivers won’t be able to accept large notes for a fare.  I make sure I always have enough change in my wallet for at least a couple of fares.  Transport cards are usually cheaper though so it’s better to ensure there’s enough credit on that.  Also if your child is only just starting school, do a test run before school starts to familiarise yourself with the route.

Don’t sweat the small stuff.

In the grand scheme of things it’s all small stuff, especially when the things that you are stressing probably don’t even phase your kids.  Run out of fruit the day before shopping? No big deal.  Does your kid want to wear odd socks?  Pick your battles, this isn’t your hill to die on.  Seriously, your kids will be fine.

What are your tips for getting out the door on time?

Have you got yourself into a rhythm for school yet?

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Asking the right questions

It’s time to check in again.  I really like this list from Pip at Meet Me at Mikes because it’s a little different than the usual check in posts.  I try to write the first thing that comes to my head and it always produces some interesting results.

Making :  a list.  I have been doing my Ta-Da list for a couple of weeks now. It’s been really helpful in making me feel like I have achieved things throughout the day.
Cooking : dinner.  I have made a goal to have list take away.  It’s better for our health and bank account.
Drinking :  lots of water.  I really notice the difference when I don’t drink enough water.
Reading:  a crime series by Kathryn Howell.  I discovered the other day that the book I am reading will be her last and I am a little bummed.
Wanting:  more motivation.
Looking:  a little tired, despite getting decent sleep lately.
Playing:  Avengers.  I have discovered a mobile Avengers game and I am a little hooked.
Wasting:  time.  I have been procrastinating about so much lately. I’m not sure what I am more anxious about, the time ticking away or actually doing the stuff I am procrastinating about.
Sewing:  I still haven’t managed to get over my Year 8 Home Economics experience.
Wishing:  that the answers I have to some life questions were easy to find.
Enjoying:  the cooler weather.  It’s been cool enough to wear a jumper, but not ridiculously cold.
Waiting:  for the alarm to go off so I can wake Mr 5 for school.
Liking:  Netflix. I jumped on the bandwagon a couple of weeks ago and it’s great. I wish there was more of the newer stuff but I’ve been loving watching House.
Wondering:  if I will ever like myself and believe it.
Loving:  the rare moments of spending time with just Mr 5 and Paul. We seem to have a lot going on lately and haven’t had a chance to just hang out doing nothing.
Hoping:  that the beautiful weather this morning keeps up.
Marvelling:  at the things that Mr 5 is learning at Prep. He is loving it.
Needing:  answers that no one but myself can provide.
Smelling:  The residual smell from dinner last night.  I may have burnt it a little.
Wearing:  pyjamas.
Following:  I was following the progress of the great cake making from Hugzilla. There’s talk of match fixing, but I say a win is a win.
Noticing:  that I don’t seem to worry too much about the same things as the Mum’s at school do.  It doesn’t bother me if Mr 5 doesn’t eat all of his lunch, or only eats one thing.  I know that he goes through stages of eating nothing and eating me out of house and home.
Knowing:  that with a little perseverance and a lot of work that I can do this and find the answers.
Thinking:  that I should have bolded the words as I went along.
Feeling:  positive… at least for today.
Bookmarking:  Failblog.  It always makes me laugh and wonder how the hell these people manage to live.
Opening:  a new loaf of bread.  I got a loaf of bread yesterday and half of it looked like someone had punched a hole in it.
Giggling:  at Jump 22 Street.  Paul and I watched it a couple of weeks ago and I’m still laughing at some of the scenes.
Feeling:  like I’ve been here before.

How are you feeling?

Do you feel out of place at school pick up?

Linking up with Jess for IBOT!

I’m sick of being grateful

There are some days when I feel that we are being bombarded with platitudes telling us to be grateful for what we have.  There are endless quotes that say we need to remember what we have because there are people who have less.  Well I am sick of it.

I am sick of being grateful that I have money because there are people who have less than me.  There are people who can’t eat, who can’t have the things that I have.  I am better off than the people below me I am told.

I am sick of being grateful that I have a roof over my head because there are people who would give their right arm to have a house.  There are people who live on the streets and never know where there next meal is coming from.  I am told to be grateful that I have neighbours to complain about.

I am sick of being grateful that at least I only have a mental illness and I am physically well.  I am told that depression isn’t so bad, there are people who have it worse.  What do I have to be depressed about?

I am sick of being grateful that I have a child.  There are people who would love to have a child.  I am sick of being told that I should relish all of the bad times as well as the good times because I will miss them.

I am sick of being grateful that I can afford private psychiatric treatment.  There are other people who are at the mercy of the public system and the treatment that they can afford to give.  I am told to be grateful that I have this opportunity, that I can’t be too bad off if I can afford the treatment.

I am sick of being grateful that someone has chosen to love me.  I have Borderline Personality Disorder, a turbulent past and I’m not always a joy to be around so I should be grateful that anyone even wants to spend time with me.  I am told to settle, at least there is someone willing to go the distance, because obviously I am nothing more than a sum of my symptoms.

Most of all, I am sick of being told that expressing my feelings means that I am being ungrateful.  I am sick of feeling guilty that I am not 100% happy with my circumstances.  Sure, gratitude isn’t always a bad thing, it does help to remember the things that we do have.  However that gratitude shouldn’t be used to make someone feel guilty, that their feelings are less valid because there is someone who has it worse than them.  After all, telling someone to be happy because someone has it worse is like telling someone to be sad because there is someone who has it better.

Are you sick of being grateful too?

Do you think the idea of gratitude has been overdone?

Linking up with Kirsty for I must confess!

3 Parenting Facts I Wish I’d Known

Today on the blog I have a guest post from Reese Jones who is sharing the things she wished that she’d known before becoming a parent.  Hindsight is a bit of a pain, and I’m sure there is always things that we are learning about being a parent.
We all need a helping hand, and first-time parents might benefit from these pieces of advice.448445182_cde2ac0c12_z
(Image Credit: Leonid Mamchenkov via Flickr Creative Commons)

Parenting can be an extremely harrowing experience, and at times, the combined stresses of maintaining a household and making sure that the kids are eating right, getting their homework done, and of course growing into great people, can be quite overwhelming. On some days, we wish that we could take a break from it all, but parenting is a 24/7 job, and we very seldom get the chance to take a break.

But there are some small things you can do to help manage the stress, and make all the duties of motherhood much more tolerable, and in fact, by following these tips, you’ll likely not just make the task of managing a household easier, but also help your kids grow into better people.

1. Don’t Stress Over the Little Things
Every mother has the instinct to give her children nothing but the best things in life, but sometimes, we can get bogged down by the details. This is especially true when our kids start asking the tough questions, and when it comes down to it, sometimes, they younger they are, the fewer details they need to know. Take going to the dentist for example: LA Parent recommends keeping explanations simple, as going into details of what they’re going to the dentist for could only lead to more questions and hesitation on their part. It’s best to stick to the essentials, while remaining honest as to what to expect. And when it comes to making some decisions for our kids, remember that you aren’t alone. In fact…

2. Let the Kids Take the Reins Every Now and Then
If you want your children to grow up into responsible members of society, it’s important to start giving them a bit more control over decisions that affect their lives early on. Being presented with this responsibility helps them build character and learn that the things they do have consequences, and it also shows them that you trust them. In the same way, we can also learn a lot from our kids by giving them the chance to make decisions for themselves sometimes. As a blog post on Tootsa MacGinty explains, “As the adults in the equation, it is important for us to remember just how much influence our decisions have. So, next time we are buying a toy, or suggesting an activity for the girls in our lives,” we need to make sure that we’re not limiting our kids’ options, and instead encouraging them to be themselves.

3. Take Comfort in Knowing There are Things You Just Can’t Do
Nobody will blame you for wanting to do everything for your children, knowing full well that a time will come when you just can’t be there for them. As they grow older, it’s easy to feel like they’re slipping away from you, and as concerned parents, the natural reaction is to hold on to them tighter and to gear them towards what you know is the right path. Unfortunately, this results in helicopter parents – parents who hover over everything their kids do – and insurmountable amounts of parental anxiety.

The trick is to just accept that there are many things that you can’t do, and that you can’t be there to keep your children from falling down and scraping a knee or from accidentally making a mess of themselves at recess. Instead of falling down the path of the helicopter parent, Time Magazine recommends being a “helium parent”: “We should hold on to our children as a child holds on to a balloon. Let them rise, float on their own, but keep a grasp on the string. In time we will need to release our grip, but in the meantime, instead of hovering from above, we should be holding lightly from below. Think of it as parental string theory.”

There are many ways to help reduce parental anxiety, and most of the time, it’s just a matter of grounding yourself and accepting your own limits, and learning to reach out to others for help where you think you need it.

What other tips do you have for first-time parents?

Reese-small“The guest author, Reese Jones, is a mom of two kids and an ed-tech blogger. Writing about education, innovation, and technology is her way of venting out her unspoken thoughts. You can reach her via twitter @r_am_jones or email reese.am.jones@gmail.com.”