Now more than ever, we all need to take time to recharge. This week’s topic – sleep – is the body’s natural way of recharging our emotional, mental, and physical batteries every night.
Yet, studies show that one-third of American adults don’t get the recommended seven to nine hours of sleep each night. Just getting to sleep is an issue for many people. And physical problems, environmental disturbances, or emotional concerns can often interrupt a good night’s sleep.
I’ve had plenty of issues with sleep, and I’ve found that having a consistent routine around sleep hygiene has made a huge difference. Here are some things I do to help me get to sleep:
- Get plenty of exercise during the day. My goal is to get 3,000 to 10,000 steps a day.
- Turn off all technology at least one hour before bedtime … my goal is two to three hours before bedtime … and no TV in the bedroom!
- Limit caffeine. I’ve tried this in many ways, and no caffeine after my morning coffee works best for me.
- Don’t eat after 8 p.m. Did you know that some foods (citrus, spicy, fatty, and heavy) can disrupt your sleep? I’ve set a goal to “close” the kitchen after dinner.
- Control the lighting and temperature. I’ve removed just about all the ambient lighting in the bedroom and turned down the thermostat a notch. Did you know that cooler temperatures help you sleep better?
- Once I’ve checked the above boxes and tucked myself in to bed at night, I say a prayer of gratitude for all the good in my day.
Another way to improve sleep quality is to focus on your breathing. One thing we’ve heard over and over again from the participants in our breathing meditation classes is that they get their best night’s sleep of the week after the classes! That’s because of the great work of our facilitators – Polly, Sarah, and Cathy.
Here are some breathing techniques that have helped me:
- 2:1 Breathing – There are different variations of this, but in all of them, the exhale is twice as long as the inhale. For example, breathe in for a count of four, then exhale for a count of eight. Or try a five count for the inhale and a ten count for the exhale. Just be sure the ratio is 2:1. This stimulates the relaxation response and prepares the body for sleep.
- 4-7-8 Breathing – This is the same as above, but with the added step of retaining the breath for seven counts before you exhale.
I can tell you from experience that if I wake up at night, focusing on my breath instead of whatever is repeating through my head can help me get back to sleep.
Maybe it can help you, too. Consider joining us for a breathing meditation class soon. We’d love to have you!
Founder and Executive Director
Courage to Caregivers
I have to believe that we are all connected and continue to be, even when our bodies are no longer here…when we cease to breathe and our flesh is no longer alive with blood pumping through our veins. I have to believe that we somehow still communicate, have interplay, that our energies relate to one another in ways that we are not aware of. I have to believe that we all matter and that it matters what we do and how we live, and that we live. I mostly have to believe that loving matters, and that the energy that love generates, that our caring for one another, and our support for each other is necessary. I have to believe that the space in between one human being and the next is not a void or a distance…but an invisible glue that is our human connection. #saratoga #saratogasprings #love #lovematters #brother #create #creativephotography
Today is a SPECIAL DAY – one of my truly BFF’s and her Prince Charming got married 39 years ago today (and thanks to Prince’s mother the beautiful Iris,) I met my Prince Charming the day before at their rehearsal dinner!
I met Helene right after I separated from my ex-husband, she became not only my friend but also a sister, cousin, aunt, and sometimes mother of advice. Helene is the best friend everyone wants. She understands you (me), and even though we can go months and sometimes years without a real conversation, our connection is honest and robust. I have known my BFF 40 plus years, and we will continue this friendship for eternity.
It’s a funny story about how I met Richard the day before their wedding. Rich, the friend of the groom (Lanny), was also the videographer for their wedding, and in my life, at that time, I had a plant and floral business, so I was their floral designer as well. As we met at the Temple for the rehearsal, in walks Richard in a white suit – reddish cropped beard – looking like he owns the place and I mistake him for the Rabbi (only to learn later he was not, and he also wasn’t Jewish, OH MY!)
Rich and I collaborated on the ceremony details, and at the end of rehearsal, I went home while the rest of the party went to dinner. (This was in the days before Cell Phones!) When I walked into my townhouse, I heard a message playing on my answering machine, and it was Lanny suggesting I come to the dinner, Richard requested my presence, and Iris was quick to accept his wish. Without thinking twice, I turned around and went to the dinner.
At dinner, I felt like Richard, and I had known each other for years. We sat with four of his friends, and they included me as if we were all life-long companions. After the dinner, the guys separated and went to a mini bachelor party held in the hotel room of one of the male guests, and the women went back to Helene’s place, and chit chatted. I don’t think an hour elapsed before Rich and Will (Lanny’s brother-in-law) came over to Helene’s room, suggesting that it may be more fun hanging with the females, and slowly the other men converged on the room too.
By this point, Rich and I were on a mini date.
The next morning, I had to get up early to pick up the flowers and set-up the Temple (the Chuppah), and my new pal Rich, helped. That whole day we were inseparable, and when Helene arrived at the Temple to get dressed and have me prepare her make-up, she was smiling from ear to ear. Although she wasn’t sure, Richard was my perfect Prince Charming; she had witnessed the immediate connection. She gave me some words of wisdom, “BE CAREFUL!”
The wedding was beautiful, and the appropriate number of happy tears were shed. Rich and I took a stroll down the aisle right after I fell catching the bridal bouquet. I could say the rest is history because June 13, 1981, Rich and I met, and now we have been married 36 years because of the union between two of our friends and the huge heart of Iris Light.
Helene and Lanny have been extended family since that day 39 years ago, attending family events as well as accepting the honor to be our son’s God Parents.
In addition to Lanny and Helene, we gained Will and Cindy Metzger (brother-in-law and sister to Lanny.) We have been blessed because of their union on this day in 1981.
If you had told me on June 12, 1981, I would meet my Prince Charming, and thirty-nine years later, after many detours in our lives, the four of us would still have a lasting relationship despite – Sickness, Health, Richer and Poorer we are still standing strong!
Happy 39 years to Helen and Lanny Light, may you continue to LOVE!
First they came for the communists
And I did not speak out
Because I was not a communist.
Then they came for the trade unionists
And I did not speak out
Because I was not a trade unionist.
Then they came for the Jews
And I did not speak out
Because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me
And there was no one left to speak for me.
– Pastor Martin Niemoeller
Why should you want to Make History with the Virtual AgeMarch™ on 9/12/20? Because the AgeMarch™ is for you – ONLY YOU CAN HELP PREVENT AGE DISCRIMINATION! At some time or another, we have been faced with prejudice or discrimination based on our birth date. It is like the story of the Three Bears, either it is too hot (TOO OLD) or too Cool (TOO YOUNG), rarely is it just or right!
Too often age or the appearance of it involves treating a person less favorably and that is not fair, nor is it the justice we all deserve to follow our passion and or perform a job. People should not be discarded because someone believes with age comes an inability to function, the number of years someone has lived should not be a factor. With age often comes experience, a worthwhile asset.
My friend, Barbara Rose Brooker, founded the AGEMARCH.org in 2010 and she has successfully brought people together to celebrate and proudly promote their AGE of ABILITY. This year on the 10th Anniversary we will be hosting a VIRTUAL AGEMARCH, allowing people from around the world to attend. We want you to join us.
Sign up on www.agemarch.org, for the first GLOBAL VIRTUAL AgeMarch in history. This will be on September 12, 2020 – AgeMarch was FOUNDED by Barbara Rose Brooker in 2010. Send your photo and sign with your age printed on it. Also, check it out at https://www.facebook.com/barbara.r.brooker
You will be on global zoom (YouTube) holding up your sign and each of you will share your story about why you’re on AGE MARCH. Help change our anti-age culture into a pro-age culture, age equality for ALL, promote a generation where age doesn’t count, and where people aren’t defined by age!
It’s 2:53 am, and I am up and awake. When I took one of my nightly walks to the bathroom, my son approached me as I was walking out and said in a somber tone, mom, we need to talk. When your kid (no matter the age) asks to speak with you, sleepy or not, you listen. Alex reminded me of me when I was younger. I allowed my head to conjure up all types of fear, and I would trash them around and develop them. My mind’s eye would photograph each thought in bright techno-color. If I didn’t talk them through out loud, I would worry to the point of anxiety and depression. Hoping to help my son avoid those lows, I let him talk…All he wanted was for me to listen.
Many of us are not sleeping well during this strange time in our lives. The last time I remember feeling a sense of control outside of my home was in the ’60s and the race riots that were ragging. The news information we received then was not delivered 24/7, and we were dependent on the morning or afternoon paper and the evening news.
Back in the 60s, we didn’t spend much time calling family and friends outside of our area code as long-distance was costly and often used for special occasions, not daily chatter. We didn’t have social media or email, so even a letter or a blog like this would need to be mailed to the person you wanted to share with.
Since my youth, in the 1950s, I have witnessed many changes in life and have experienced stress, anxiety, as well as depression, but I refused to let the situations destroy me. I took the opportunity to create myself, often taking the fork in the road to keep me on a path of growth. However, to maintain my health, I must now find a way not to let the needs of others invade my calm. I must place the oxygen mask over my nose and breath so I can be of assistance when someone calls my name.
Saturday, May 2, 2020
It Should be Kentucky Derby Day
It’s another Saturday in this new Pandemic World. I am fortunate to have somewhat of a schedule for newclevelandradio.net during the week, recording and preparing podcasts. However, most weekends seem to zap me of energy as the days drag on with little to do. However, today is different. My husband and I did some closet cleaning in the studio/office this morning as we are attempting to do some reorganization. Now if you have ever been in the home studio I will tell you that my husband is a pack-rat, not a hoarder. I think we have three or four end of life computers in the closet and one set out in the room. As my hubby would say, you never know we just may need parts from one to fix another. Did I mention parts that go back to a Commodore 64? If you have no idea what that is, you are very young indeed.
Additionally, I have two podcasts today and both should be fun and interesting. The first is with Just4theSpellofIt.com, lead by Gary Moss my big brother. Isn’t it interesting that we call an older sibling our big brother or sister, and the truth is I am as tall as he is or maybe taller? Gary’s podcast is all about words and Scrabble™, yet the techniques he uses teaches and creates to become a better Scrabble™ player, any one of us can use to become better at anything we want to achieve. The second is with Rick Bolton, musician extraordinaire.
Currently, I am trying to achieve patience with the #StaySafe #StayAtHome orders. I agree with the orders and I would rather be safe and struggle financially than get this horrid virus and possibly die. I understand the need to get back to work, earn a living, and feel accomplished at the end of the day, but COVID19 has invaded us and it will linger and combust again in the Fall.
Earlier today I posted ion Facebook that I feel like I am in a time warp, that each day is the same, nothing changes, and yet the slogan #WEAREINTHISTOGETHER continues to play through the media. Together but alone and that is what is warping my senses. I need to chill and breathe and make it to the tomorrow and the many days after that when it is safer to spin out of this feeling.
Have a Happy!
An open letter to my niece Sue (and to all of you too.)
Life is not fair you say, and at times I must agree with you but there are somethings we are responsible for in keeping the deck clean and cutting it fairly. Sue, your zayde used to remind us when we complained of kvetched (no I am not insinuating you are,) that we have to choices in life to live or to die. The luckier we are to live through the SHIT STORMS provides us with wisdom to make tomorrow (or today) a better day.
COVID19 is nondiscriminatory, although if you ask the male or Afro-American segments of this global pandemic they might disagree. However, we have seen the very young as well as the geriatric community become infected, and most recover but millions are still dying. All we can do to survive is to follow the #STAYATHOME rules, #WASH_OUR_HANDS, #WEAR_A_MASK, so we stay out of harm’s way.
You are one of the lucky ones. I know MS is not a “walk in the park” immune disorder. However, you have fought it with all your might and we are blessed you are still here to shout and scream about life not being fair. As the mother of twins both born on the spectrum, you have given them life beyond birth. You believe in their strengths and they have developed into young adults who we can all be proud of. It has not been easy for you or them but nothing in life that comes easy reaps the rewards. Your loving husband Joe also has medical ailments that put him at high risk for the virus. Although we may not remind you of our concern and love is not to say we are unaware and non-caring. However, as he follows the protocol we know that is all you and he can do at this time.
When I say you are lucky, you found a sister, best friend with Liz who is a second mom to your children. Often when we get divorced like the two of us, it is not common to hear that both moms are friends. But you with your heart of gold found the good in Liz and she in you. I truly admire the two of you for the relationship you have. Both you and Liz have made the lives of your children better for it. I can’t thank her enough for helping both Wylie and Hayley transition through this as she did. You are one blended family!
Another lucky star or stars in your life is finding your birth family and developing a relationship with them. Not everyone is as blessed to find their birth parents and siblings but you have and you all embraced each other when often the opposite is the result. The parents who raised you encouraged you to follow the path to seek your birthright and now you have a circle of life embracing you. (I could go into what seems like Millions of Friends, but that for another time.)
However, yesterday, when Liz tested positive for COVID19, life felt unfair and you lashed out at those who don’t want to believe in the FACTS of this insidious disease. I applaud you for telling people how sad, frustrated, and anxious you feel! When this hits close to home especially to a front line worker (Liz is a nurse,) it seems even more unfair. However, we have no control and all we can do is feed Liz positive vibes, keep her family (her daughter, the twins, and her husband,) in our special prayers and thoughts. As a cancer survivor, she is at a higher risk, but as a survivor, she has the will and stamina to get well again!
Isn’t it time for all of us to wisen up and realize if we do not prepare for the worst when it happens, and it will, we will be blown away in the wind. The devastation from COVID19 could have been so much less if some in our government would have had the BALLS to get involved in stopping or slowing down the spread of this horrific disease. However, DJT did not, he, in fact, called in “Fake News.” Now we are living and struggling with the fallout.
To Sue and All, we cannot allow this to define us, we must define ourselves and become the best of our best. That includes taking all the safety precautions to keep ourselves and others safe. I ask you to keep Liz, and all the VICTIMS of this VIRUS close to your hearts and let our energies help to send healing powers.
I am adding Liz to my list of those I know who have recovered because, #IBelieve
Ok – if you have been following the saga of my total knee replacement here is an update.
After seeing the surgeon last Thursday it was determined I needed that I needed outpatient PT and to center on the swelling and what appeared to be nerve pain. Well, yesterday I went back to PT – WellPoint part of the UH system where I have gone previously, and not only did I learn a lot in one visit but I already have some relief.
First of all, surgeons only are concerned with if the surgery was completed cleanly and properly – which in this case it was. So as far as the surgeon is considered any pain or issues are no longer under his/her watch but it is up to PT and if they can’t or if they find another underlying issue they would notify my doctor(s) upon my approval.
To begin with, although I have been riding a stationary bike, I learned for PT I should ride it in shorter cycles, this is not a marathon. I also need to ice 2 -3 times a day even 8 weeks beyond surgery to reduce the fluid and swelling from ankle to thigh. The PT, Sara provided me with information that now makes me more aware of why the pain has lingered, as the knee and leg were stretched, moved, and manipulated many times during surgery. Also having a foreign appliance in the body takes time for healing and releasing the trauma.
Sara showed me how to massage from the ankle up to reduce fluid in the ankle and also to ice after I massage. She also explained how to work out the scar on my need assisting the skin to flatten and not buckle or wrinkle. She also gave me a list of exercises to do, many that I have been doing but again not in marathon style – I will get there. I will be having two sessions a week for 3 -6 weeks and if I can accomplish a little less pain each day I bet in three weeks I will be outside strolling on my own leaving Rich is in the dust.
If by chance the pain is nerve involvement according to PT, it is due to the surgery and the swelling, and with time and exercising properly I should have relief. I am so excited and sorry COVID19 kept me from pursuing this earlier but I am on the road to Walking down a new path. #JOINME
4/24/20 Amy Ferris Says it for me:
He’s now claiming that he put the idea out there ‘sarcastically’ just to see what would happen. The idea of humans injecting disinfectant into their bodies. He’s now back peddling. Rewinding. Saying it was just a joke. He wasn’t serious.
This is what I have to say to Donald trump:
Fuck you. Fuck you for being an asshole, fuck you for treating human life so shabbily, for testing people’s hearts and souls day in and day out. Fuck you for making this horrific and devastating pandemic meaningless in your eyes. Fuck you for treating the United States of America like some porn star you fuck for kicks and then want her hushed and silent. Fuck you for not instilling hope, for not inspiring compassion, for not inspiring dignity or decency. Fuck you for humiliating people, for bullying people, for making fun of people. Fuck you for treating human life with such cruelty & disdain – what a disgraceful vile creature.
Sarcastic, my ass.
Get outta our house, you’ve dirtied & sullied it quite enough.