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Sleeping Beauty

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAHow did you start your day?

Did you wake up and spring out of bed, thrilled with the rest you got and ready to take on the world; or did you drag yourself out of bed and stumble into the kitchen, frantic to get some coffee going just so you could function?

Did you take some time to savor the early-morning quiet, perhaps reading something inspirational or sitting in meditation, or was it another one of those push-to-get-out-the-door-on-time days that left you feeling stressed before you even got going?

Well, truth be told, I like to think I mostly have the well-rested, take-time-to-savor-the-quiet kind of mornings. But, there are times when I didn’t sleep as well as I’d have liked and I stay in bed too late trying to get as much sleep as I can. That puts me behind schedule before my feet even hit the floor, and so the day goes….

Hmmm, the importance of adequate, restorative sleep is being talked about quite a lot these days. It happens to be a key element in the formula for Ageless Beauty. Without a good sleep routine, every other part of our life suffers.

That’s because sleep time is when your body does its main restorative work. It has everything to do with how well your hormones are balanced and how much energy you have during the day. It keeps your brain functioning harmoniously, making sense of the new input from the day before, or in other words, it keeps you sane and smart!

Lack of sleep has been linked to weight gain, especially around the middle. And we all know we have less patience with our loved ones when we’re tired and cranky. So, why are so many of us not making sleep a priority?

qweTWRYSTJYTKUI know that in order for me to get a good night’s rest, I have to be planning ahead early in the day. That means little to no caffeine for me, and certainly not after noon. That’s because caffeine over-stimulates the adrenals and messes with our cortisol production and its effects can last much longer than you might imagine, especially if you’re sensitive to it.

I also tend to jump on the computer after dinner (and I know lots of folks spend time in front of the TV too). Unfortunately, the type of light these electronic devices emit plays havoc with our pineal gland and we get wired when we should be winding down.

Added to all that, I also happen to be a highly sensitive person. Therefore, the stresses of the day, unfinished tasks, or worrying about upcoming events can upset my nervous system enough that I just can’t wind down once my head hits the pillow.

In my next post I’ll have some tips to help with shifting into relaxation mode.

I Knew It.

I knew it.  As I lay there in bed listening to the mantel clock chime midnight, I chided myself for my choices.  Well, not right away of course.  First off, it was the blame game.  Why does this have to happen to me when I want to be particularly alert tomorrow, when I planned to get up a half-hour earlier than usual just to make sure I have everything ready for a client retreat tomorrow?

I’m the one who preaches on the best practices for good sleep, and what did I do yesterday?  Yes, I had, not one, but two cups of regular coffee—knowing, mind you, that I am sensitive to caffeine. 

What is that thing that happens between knowing a thing and acting on it?  I’ve been sleeping so much better avoiding the caffeine, but somehow I think I can get away with a cup or two “once in a while.”  Well, coupled with the excitement over what the next day would hold, that decision proved to be disappointing.

The combination of caffeine and emotional stimulation left me buzzing for a couple of hours.  You’d think that would be enough to create a firm resolve to NEVER drink coffee again, especially if you have a lot going on in your life.sir_caffeine_alot_by_sikname-d5r8z9c

I know some studies point to coffee’s antioxidant content and even a connection with longevity, but depending on how sensitive you are to the caffeine, the rise in cortisol might cause you to go looking elsewhere for your antioxidants…oh, like maybe a couple of squares of really good, organic, 85% dark chocolate!

And for a morning drink?  Lots of health gurus recommend squeezing half a lemon in some warm water for its alkalizing effects.  For a similar effect, I’ve found that raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar—with a little bit of local honey—in warm water is a great way to start the day.  Then, perhaps, I’ll allow myself one cup of organic decaf and I’m good to go.

My new mindset?  No cup of coffee is worth my fighting to get to sleep.  Period.

Beach Story

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How does a 60-something grandmother get mistaken for a 40-something hottie?

I was in Florida for a business retreat.  After the session ended on the last day, I decided to walk to the beach (about a 20-minute walk) and took along a picnic of the leftover dinner I’d had from the night before and a book to read.

I plopped myself down on the sand, having waded past an international volleyball tournament that was happening–stunning young bodies in bikinis (no Photoshop needed) and all–and settled in to relax for a little while.  The beach itself was nothing much to see–one straight line of white sand dabbed by ho-hum waves.  (Our beaches in Oregon are spectacular by comparison.)

Every once in a while, one of the volleyball players would decide to wet her feet in the surf, and then that vision would be starkly contrasted by an elderly Jewish-looking woman (actually one after another) who was walking along the water’s edge–also in a bikini!!4702613758_82bfa448c6_z

After I’d finished my picnic and was engrossed in the book and the scenery, a Mediterranean-looking fellow walked up and gestured as if to put his stuff down a few feet away from me.  He asked if I was going to be there for a while because he wanted to go into the water.  I asked him how long he would be and he said about 20 minutes.  But then he proceeded to keep right on talking.

He had a thick accent and told me he was from north Africa, that he was in Florida because he was looking for the next place he wanted to move to, he had considered Portland as an option, that he had just been dumped by his lady friend of 2 years (although he never really loved her), and on and on.

It turned out he’s 48 years old (he thought I was younger than he).  He also had quite an appetite for spiritual discussion, so I ended up counseling him about seeing people as mirrors, about soul lessons, and about staying open to Spirit’s direction.

He wanted to know where I was staying, and I told him that wasn’t something he needed to know! As it was getting dark, I told him that if he was still going to go in the water, I wouldn’t be able to watch his stuff as I needed to get back.  I did ask his name and he said it was Bel-ai-eed.  How do you spell that?

B-E-L-A-I-D.

Hmmm.  It was a great ego-booster, I’ll tell you that!

If you have cougar ambitions, keep checking back here for tips and strategies to make that happen.