Many of us are single, and though we might be looking for love, we climb into bed alone at night.
For many, one's mind kicks into high gear at bedtime and they stare at the ceiling, the walls, the puppy on their bed who gently snores...envious of that puppy snoring.
If you are married, in a relationship and your partner has zero problem falling asleep, you might be feeling resentful, angry, or sad that they fall asleep so easily and you lie there desperate for even an hour of peaceful sleep.
Some dread going to bed, as it brings so much anxiety with it. They find the mere thought of going to bed causes instant stress. This is when thought and feeling seem to come at the exact same time.
Night time, the dark, can bring extreme loneliness for many. I want to assure you in that you are not alone. I, myself have experienced it. I went from being a single mum of 4 wonderful, noisy kids, to an empty nester in a quiet home where the sound of silence was so loud.
We do not just have our anxiety to deal with these days, we have the added stress of a virus that is affecting the whole world.
I spent 12 hours today sewing face masks for people with weakened immune systems. I am trying to keep busy, as when I am busy I am not subject to my own thoughts and anxiety.
Insert night here...I have turned off my sewing machine and reality has now checked in for the evening.
For those of you who have a set of my Anxiety focus cards, this is where I share how awesome they can be when you are ready to go to bed. Truly, they have become a blessing for me. Something I use nightly to redirect my busy thoughts and help me calm down into a gentle slumber.
I take about 3 cards to bed with me, and I follow their instructions word for word, and that in turn allows me to relax. I get lost in each healing orb on each card. Pretty simply, they work.
Anxiety is very real for many of us. With every radio station, news report, newspaper, magazine, every person you encounter talking about the virus of 2020...
So, what can we do to help ourselves get through this time without having a complete breakdown...
Panicking does us no good. We all know that. Now, that does not mean we will not panic. It just means in a rational world where we are confident in everything being okay, we could possibly brush it off. With many of us walking with a tired mind right now, it is not that easy.
Some climb into bed and their thinking comes fast and furious...some anticipate bedtime with anxiety because the whole concept of sleep baffles them. What happens while we are sleeping, how do we know we will wake up... I have heard from many that they suffer with extreme anxiety when darkness falls, when it becomes time for bed. Some avoid sleep altogether. Choosing to become an avid night owl.
The good news is, as you become exhausted, at some point you should actually fall asleep.
For years I would climb into bed, turn on the TV and watch until I fell asleep. Which might only be for about 30 minutes. Then I would wake up, and change the channel. Fall asleep again, repeat...this would go on all night. I figured I needed my TV on in order to sleep. I was convinced this was a good thing, and without that TV, I would not sleep at all. Apparently, I was wrong.
Then, I started thinking about the static in the air that fills our homes today, from all the electronics we have going at any given time. Cell phones, lap tops, tablets, TVs, big TV's in small rooms. I started wondering if all this energy filling my home could be disrupting my sleep. Could it be messing with my own personal energy...WHAT!
I decided to return my cable box (I saved a few dollars in the process), and sold my TV in my bedroom.
That first night of sleep without my TV was so odd. I sat on my bed looking at the empty spot where the TV once was. I stared for a good hour, thinking how weird my room looked without a TV. To think at one time, many years ago, some homes had only one TV, or gasp, none!
That first night, I eventually laid down and took one of my cards and followed the instructions to focus and do the breathing exercises. I woke 7 hours later with my card still in my hand. I felt like a new person, and was so excited at how well rested I felt. I have since kept my room TV free, and I continue to take a card or 2 to bed with me.
We are all different in what we might be worrying about, thinking about at night. It can be so hard to turn off one's brain at bedtime. I remember my grandmother telling me to take a paper bag to bed with me and pretend I was emptying my thoughts into it. I remember how funny she looked explaining it all to me... then fold up the bag she said, put it on the floor by your bed, and go to sleep. She made it sound so good, and a simple way to fall asleep.
I actually tried it. I must have been about 17 or 18 years old at the time. It did not work, but I did have a giggle trying to do it.
Coming back to present day, during these difficult times, please do not be hard on yourself. We have all got added stress right now, and new worries. Many stemming from all the closures, and newly diagnosed cases.
Something that also might help you...in the daytime if you can, get in a little exercise. If you are able to. It can really help. Walking in the fresh air for 30 min, or maybe ride an exercise bike. Exercise can be great for people with anxiety.
If your mobility is not that good, sitting in a chair and stretching your arms up and to the side can make you feel better.
Be aware of your diet, as too much sugar and caffeine may add to a busy mind and keep you awake at night.
I know times are hard right now, but you are not alone. You can get through this. Changing how you perceive something can make it a better experience. If bedtime is difficult, change up your routine. Try removing your TV, and leaving all electronic devices in another room. Now, if you rely on a cell phone as your alarm in the morning, maybe keep in on the other side of your room, not near where you sleep.
If you have a set of my cards, use a few before bed. Try not to get upset if you are up in the night. We are much stronger than we think we are.
Tomorrow is a new day...