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10 OCD Steps For Great Sleep

Hello!

As promised last week, I’m going to share my extensive sleep routine. I have numerous OCD/Obsessive/Type A quirks (that’s what we’ll call them) and have never been a great sleeper until I stumbled upon these options and then slowly added them until I was miraculously sleeping throughout the night.

Ok, here goes.

1.Hug and kiss all of the kids good night at 8:00 p.m. Yes, ALL of our children retreat to their areas of the home at this time. Most (none) go to sleep immediately but instead read, draw, play Legos, watch television (the boys) – you get the point but our point as parents to 8 children is this, mom and dad need two hours of alone time to decompress, regroup, and relax before the circus begins all over again at 6 a.m.

2.Draw the room darkening shades and room darkening curtains.  I need pitch black without a trace of light in my room in order to sleep.

3.Watch Netflix with Ryan in bed until 9:30

4. 9:30 – take 1/2 a Unisome.  I started this when I was pregnant for Mabel and have never stopped.  Honestly, I’m not sure I actually need it anymore but who wants to take that chance?

5. take 1/2 tea magnesium calm in water

6. Make Yogi Sleepy tea and add 1/2 tea Reishi Mushroom.

7. Take CBD Tincture

8. Rub Hemp Balm wherever there’s pain (usually my feet and hip)

9. Drink tea while falling asleep to Friends (Yes, it has to be friends)

10. 10:30 – Fan on, lights out – Ryan’s job because I’m usually already asleep.

 

 

There ya have it! Yes, I’ve tried Valerian and Melatonin.  Both give me weird dreams. Maybe this routine will help someone else in need of a solid night of sleep.

On a different note, I really should have affiliate links for all of these products, but I don’t.  I’m horrible with details, and I don’t have the time to mess with it.  It’s been suggested on a number of occasions that I should pursue a marketing specialist and/or blog manager for monetizing options, SEO, picture layout, etc.  I’m open to this idea; however, the right person would have to be content with primarily working for a percentage of the profits at this point in my career. Maybe a stay at home mom who wants to make a little extra cash? A college kid who knows his stuff?  A retiree? Some thoughts. If you know someone who would be a great fit for a position like this, please send them my way at jessplusthemess@gmail.com.

Just keep livin!

(This post does contain affiliate links that I may receive compensation for).

A Birthday Wish for Luke

It’s Luke’s 15th birthday exactly one month from today. August 12, 2004 he came screaming into this world as he was gently lifted from the gaping hole in my belly. I held my breath & desperately prayed that he would defy every odd and please dear God, let him LIVE and he did! Hallelujah! and he not only lived but he thrived and progressed for almost 15 years! Praise Jesus! And as thankful as we are for his life and progression, the simple fact remains that as Luke ages and gets bigger and stronger and goes through puberty with lots of pent up testosterone flowing through his body, his needs have become quite intense, and it’s difficult to keep him satisfied, entertained, and at times, safe.

Continue reading “A Birthday Wish for Luke”

I Stopped Drinking

I gave up wine for 30 days.

Yep, even the first two weeks of summer break.

Today is the 31st day.

Most who know me or even know me from online know that one of my favorite ways to unwind is on the patio with Ryan, enjoying a cold glass of chardonnay and an assortment of cheese and crackers. This little treat is like my participation ribbon at the end of a day – not first, second, or third place – just simply, yes! You showed up and accomplished another day with 8 kids! Here’s your prize! Enjoy.

The decision to stop this pleasant tradition was partly evoked by a trip to the library where I saw Annie Grace’s book The Alcohol Experiment.  I thought, Could I do this? I had considered removing one food group a month to (hopefully) pinpoint the origin of my eczema flareups and figured May might be a good month to start – with alcohol – specifically wine and the occasional beer. This isn’t the first time I’ve completed a similar feat, but in the past the decision often ensues after the holidays or vacation when my body needs a detox from overindulging. I love a good challenge, and I tucked the concept away in the back of my mind.

After we moved, I was in a great place emotionally.  I was walking every day, doing yoga, engaging with Ryan as we enjoyed weekly date nights exploring restaurants, and having lots of family fun with the new opportunity’s city life offered. At the end of most days, a glass of crisp, buttery chardonnay or a cool wine spritzer became an anticipated treat and then… then I broke my foot and Luke started screaming non stop and some other really difficult situations occurred that I haven’t healed from and so I won’t write about them yet, and the glass of wine I enjoyed became glasses of wine and the social media scrolling (which I also restructured as I detailed in last week’s post) that was typically limited to school time hours was seeping into family time hours, and I felt like none of it was serving me very well anymore.

My anxiety was mounting.  I was not dealing with the uncomfortable feelings and instead wine and scrolling because a mindless way to make motherhood a little bit easier and allowed me to disengage. The typical glass followed by a walk, became glasses as I sat on my rear end unable to move and instead of catching up on the day, I replayed and relived the recent trauma by obsessing and sent myself further into a hole of misery with every sip I took.  Not a productive cycle. It was time for a reset.  I had to reprogram my habits surrounding what wine had become during the past few weeks, and as research shows, it usually takes approximately 30 days to form new habits. I immediately secured The Alcohol Experiment which became the perfect tool to accompany me on my alcohol free journey.

Thirty-one days in, I enjoy the new me that has emerged from the ashes. I’m stronger, more confident, and much less skittish because I’ve retrained my brain to deal with anxiety rather than ignore it.

The past month felt a bit like a pregnancy; a familiar analogy. The anticipation of an improved life as I gave birth to a new me. I figured out what my triggers were and how to feed my system with new thought patterns, tools and skills. I tried to center most decisions around being the healthiest version of myself so that I could bring life to others. I’m still pregnant in a sense because it’s an ongoing process of renewal as I unearth some deep-rooted junk and learn ways to muddle through.  Because that’s what it is, right? When shit lands in our lap, we muddle through, inch by inch with either healthy tools like working out, gardening, reading, or crocheting or unhealthy tools like gossip, beer, filling our bodies with preservatives, or shopping.  It can all get out of hand pretty quickly if we don’t clear our heads, reevaluate, pray for grace, and retrain our brains.

The only time I really craved a glass of wine was during my monthly cycle (sorry guys).  Something about the estrogen fluctuations, sugar cravings and hormones must have previously been satisfied with wine because in place of it, I made (and enjoyed) a cake with 6 cups of sugar along with strawberry shortcakes, blueberry crisp and homemade ice cream.  Other than those couple of days, it wasn’t a craving at all, and I accomplished a ton! Such as –

  1. I lost weight
  2. I painted my kitchen
  3. I found joy in former activities such as crocheting, reading, crafting, and writing in a journal.
  4. I updated my proposal
  5. I conducted meetings about starting a new Lucas Project chapter
  6. I read ten books!
  7. I found a therapist
  8. I crocheted a blanket for Annabelle’s birthday
  9. I set aside an hour every day for quiet time (reading, writing, prayer)
  10. My head is clear. I wake up and I’m ready to face situations that previously would have sent me into a spiral of despair as I’m now able to step outside of myself (or Betty – stay tuned, a post on her soon) and view situations objectively and rationally.

The cons included my hormones, the eczema flareups did NOT decrease, and I really didn’t like not having a choice.  I know that sounds strange because it was a self- induced experiment, but when I commit to something, I am in 100%, and in my mind there is NO choice.

Where do I go from here? Day by day, choice by choice. The idea of having a glass of wine has truly become a take it or leave it thought. I am now empowered with so much more mindfulness after reading the book and dealing with my feelings. Therapy has also helped. The anxiety is almost completely gone, and I feel courageous for completing the commitment. As with any decision moving forward, if I feel like it needs to be addressed again, I will stop and reevaluate. I incorporate this philosophy into numerous aspects of life including: food choices, social media, exercise (that usually needs to be added), wine, engagement with my children, and the list could go on and on.

This essay is simply my honest experience and is in no way a prescription or guide for someone addicted to alcohol.  If this describes your experience, please seek professional help. Maybe you see yourself in some of my words, and it’s time for a reset in your life. I can attest that it really does work! Maybe it’s not even wine or social media but something else.  We all have a thing or two we turn to in times of difficulty, and it’s learning to manage these decisions and not let them manage us.

I’m certain I’ll enjoy a glass of wine from time to time; a birthday celebration, vacation, or a night spent with girlfriends, but I’ll be mindful – God willing, and it’s all by his grace, isn’t it?  Grace to take it moment by moment – decision by decision – in his power and leading.

Next up, no gluten for June.  Hopefully I see some improvements with the eczema.

 

Just Keep Livin!

Snapshots From a Social Media Free Weekend

I decided a few weeks ago to give up social media on the weekends. This decision came together for a few reasons such as –
  1. I’m not very good at rest and even worse at the concept if I have the opportunity to constantly work (via social media).
  2. I realized the onslaught of never ending information was making me anxious and depressed. Yes, I care about people, yes, I want to know how they’re doing, but after awhile it just becomes too much, and I have to step away.
  3. Social media was making me less present and available for those I love – my husband and children.
  4. I’ve found I’m much more productive in so many other areas of life by setting boundaries around social media on Saturday and Sunday.
  5. Finally, I’ve also discovered the flip side to be true – I’m much more productive and engaged online Monday through Friday because I’ve had a mental break over the  weekend.
This past weekend was fantastic. We began Saturday morning with giant banana split yogurt parfaits, then we all helped dad plant the garden, followed by chores which resulted in Wendy’s frosties and a trip to the store where the kids picked out a new book for being so helpful. Saturday night we had homemade pizza and strawberry/beet sorbet. We intended to go to church on Sunday morning, but Luke slept in until 9! So instead we took the family to the park, Ryan and I went for a hike, and then I parked my rear end in bed and poured over my new cookbooks from the previous day’s shopping excursion. It was good for my heart & perhaps my experience will encourage you to try a social media free weekend.
See you Monday!

Just keep livin!
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Sunlight Burning at Midnight

Sunlight Burning at Midnight